Friday, 29 June 2012

Streatham’s 20mph Phantom Zone

Did you know that Garrad’s Road, Abbotswood Road, Prentis Road, Becmead Avenue and Woodbourne Avenue… all have 20mph speed limits?

Nor did I. And nor do many residents on those roads, or indeed those who regularly drive down them. The reason? There is virtually no notification either on the road surfaces or in the form of signposts on the roads themselves – to let people know what the speed limit is.

The 20mph Phantom Zone runs to the West of Streatham High Road, stretching from Drewstead Road at the top, right down to Prentis Road at the bottom, taking on Garrad’s Road to the West. But most people driving through will assume that the default speed limit of 30mph in a residential area, applies.

This is particularly serious as some of these roads – such as Garrad’s Road and Abbotswood Road - are official cycle routes. There have been collisions in this area resulting in serious injuries for cyclists - for example at the junction of Woodfield Avenue and Mount Ephraim Road. It even appears from the collision report that those investigating have assumed at 30mph speed limit too.

The only clue that these roads have 20mph limits are the occasional signs at the edge of the zone – for example coming over the bridge from Wandsworth into Lambeth along Bedford Hill saying “you are now entering a 20mph zone”. Blink and you’ll miss them. Some of these are tucked away behind trees. There are also some signs informing the motorist that you are leaving a 20 mph zone – which isn’t all that helpful.

Talking to some residents it seems that once upon a time - some years ago - there were more 20 mph signs. See for example this one, caught accidently by one resident of Abbotswood Road when photographing a back garden. It took a Freedom of Information Request however to establish whether the limit was still in place, as there are now no signs anywhere along the road at all.

We’ll see if we can get some more signage put in place.

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