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20 Plenty

Time to reconsider 20’s plenty?

Valentine’s Day – time to reconsider 20’s Plenty?

Until a couple of months ago I thought 20’s Plenty was all wishful thinking and wheelie bin stickers.  Then the Parish Council got an email from Scott McNeill, campaign organiser for Gloucestershire. Scott urged us to pass a motion supporting 20 mph as the default speed limit on village and urban streets where people live, work, shop, play or learn.

A Persuasive Campaign

Following up on the links Scott sent us, I was amazed at the head of steam behind the campaign both nationally and locally. More than 1 in 3 of the UK population live in Local Authorities which already accept 20mph as the right speed limit where cars come into contact with people.  That includes our neighbours in Oxfordshire, Bath & North East Somerset and Bristol and the whole of Wales.  In all these areas and in many others the process of rolling out 20 mph limits has started.

Yes, but …

Like me, you’ve probably got questions and doubts about how 20 mph limits would work.  As a starting point, have a look at this short video by Rod King, founder of 20’s Plenty

Video is on the website or see the video here

20’s Plenty Gloucestershire

Here in Gloucestershire there is strong and growing support for wider use of 20 mph limits.  85% of the 121 town and parish councils responding to a county council survey last December were in favour.  The survey was rather a rushed affair in the run up to Christmas and we suspect that it was overlooked by a considerable number of councils.

At the most recent count, nearly 50 councils, including Stinchcombe PC, have confirmed their support for a 20 mph residential limit by passing a motion. Some of the District Councils are included and the Greens in Stroud District plan to bring a motion at the next full council meeting.

Gloucestershire Constabulary now strongly supports the use of 20 mph zones and encourages their greater use, especially in residential areas. (Based on letter from Chief Constable Rod Hansen to Eastington residents, quoted in GCC Environment Scrutiny Committee minutes of 12/1/22.)

Since I signed up as the 20’s Plenty campaigner for Stinchcombe I’ve been talking tactics with Scott and other campaigners around Gloucestershire.  I’ve also made contact with neighbouring councils, some in full support, others undecided or  unaware of recent developments.  At the national level, Rod King and Campaign Manager Anna Semlyen are approachable and full of knowledge and enthusiasm.

Public Consultation

GCC accepts that “20 mph limits are going to be a key instrument in delivering safer roads”.  It has included 20 mph limits in a wider review of its Road Safety Policy.  Full public consultation is expected to take place in April/May this year.

I’ll do my best to ensure that Stinchcombe residents are notified in good time and know how to participate if they wish. 

Let’s start talking now

We don’t need to wait for the consultation to begin considering this complex issue.  If you have thoughts or questions about introducing 20 mph limits in Stinchcombe you can contact me at Stinchcombe@20splentyforus.org.uk

  • Was the Parish Council right to pass a motion of support?
  • Where would you welcome a 20 mph residential limit in Stinchcombe?
  • Are there stretches of road you think should retain a higher limit?
  • Would you want a 20 mph limit by your home?
  • What benefits would 20 mph limits have for you and your family?
  • What doubts or concerns would you have?

I won’t have the answer to every question but if it’s possible to get one for you I will do so.

How would it fit in with our other planned traffic calming measures?

Our vehicle-activated sign (VAS), when we get it, could be used with 20 mph limits just as well as with 30 mph limits. It would provide useful data on how speeds changed with the introduction of a lower limit.   In case you’re wondering, the current position is that our VAS application is still with Highways, nearly 4 months since we first submitted it.  County Councillor Linda Cohen is helping us chase up a response.

Village gateways are compatible with 20 mph limits and are often used to reinforce them.  We have identified a preferred supplier for village gateways on Wick Lane, Echo Lane and Taits Hill.  There will be a meeting soon between representatives of the Parish Council and Stinchcombe Speed Watch and residents who have offered funding to come up with a detailed proposal.  The proposal will then be publicised so that others have chance to comment.

Kath Hudson 🦸‍♀️

Monitoring Team

It’s a Lottery

No, we don’t mean crossing The Street at busy times, though that can be a game of chance.  We’re talking about the Lucky Severn Lottery.

You can support Stinchcombe Speed Watch by buying a ticket from our lottery page.  It’s easy to access using the QR code on the flyer.

Every penny we get will go towards improving road safety in Stinchcombe.  The increase in Parish Precept (i.e. your council tax) will pay for the vehicle-activated sign.  But we want to do more, starting with automated traffic counts to provide the comprehensive evidence we need and village gateways like those in Slimbridge.

We’ve been set a target of 50 tickets in the first 28 days.   Please help us to meet it – just 18 more tickets before the end of August and we’re there!

Lucky Severn

Your Street Needs You

Your street needs YOU

Your Street needs YOU!

Without breaking any rules, Stinchcombe Speed Watch has been busy throughout the pandemic.  Following our Committee meeting on 2nd July, here is our latest news.

Speed Monitoring on The Street

Community speed watch monitoring recently began on The Street.  It is vital as a way of demonstrating our community’s commitment to tacking the speeding problem.  Without that evidence we may not get approval to use a vehicle-activated sign at locations on The Street.  Enforcement monitoring by the Police, although very welcome, is not a substitute for the involvement of residents.

Call for volunteers

We desperately need some more volunteers to assist Trudy and Cherry.  Taits Hill Road veterans are currently helping out, but we can’t expect them to do that long term. Come on all you public-spirited residents of The Street!  All it takes is a few minutes training and as little as one hour a month.  The timing of the sessions is flexible – weekdays or weekends, daytime or evenings before dusk.  Our new speed gun is much lighter than the old ones.  And abuse from motorists has really not been a problem.  In fact, we get the thumbs up more often than the finger.

Please contact  our Co-ordinator Ava if you can help.

Speed Watch “Good Practice” Meeting 29th July

Together with District Cllr Catherine Braun, we’ve been instrumental in setting up this online meeting.  Our County Councillor, District Councillors, high level Police and Highways representatives and people from other local parishes will be attending.  We intend to use the meeting to help fine tune our imminent applications for 1) a vehicle-activated sign and 2) a speed limit review for the bottom end of Berkeley Road.

Automated Traffic Survey on Taits Hill Road (19th – 25th May)

This was funded privately by Committee members to support our application for a vehicle-activated sign.  The data came in extremely handy for our detailed and critical comments on the proposed Taits Hill Road development.  We want to raise  £250 to do the same on The Street.

AGM

Our first AGM will be held at the Village Hall on Wednesday 29th September, starting at 7.30 pm. Save the date if you have an interest in road safety in Stinchcombe.

Mobile Speed Camera outside the Village Hall

Results of the Survey on Funding Community Projects

Thank You

Many thanks to the 41 households that returned their forms – about a quarter of the households in the parish.

It is notoriously difficult to get a good response rate.  Coinciding with a lockdown certainly doesn’t help!  There are probably many reasons why people decide to opt out – it would be useful to learn more to improve future surveys. 

How much support for traffic calming?

Three-quarters (75.6%)  of responding households are in favour of funding traffic calming by an increase in their council tax.

We asked which street you live on for a good reason.  Highways will assess traffic calming proposals on various criteria, including the community support in the immediate vicinity.

The percentage of households in favour on those streets with more than one or two responses was:

Road% in FavourNo. Responses
The Street92%12 responses
Taits Hill Rd & Taits Hill70%10 responses
Wick Lane57%7 responses
Echo Lane100%4 responses
Responses to the Village Survey

Traffic calming funded by other means is supported by an additional 10% of responding households.  A further 10% say they would possibly support it.  This suggests that very few in the Parish are actively against doing something about speeding.

How much are responding households prepared to pay for traffic calming?

You were asked what increase in your annual council tax you would accept for this purpose.  We requested your council tax band so we could  calculate the corresponding increase in the parish precept.  The zero responses were taken into account as well as the non-zero ones.

The calculated increase in precept came out at just over £3,000.  This figure represents an average of what responding households wanted, taking account their different council tax bands. 

What has the Parish Council decided?

The Parish Council discussed the survey results at our meeting on 20 January.  It was essential to decide on the parish precept for 2021/22  to meet the budget deadline.  We voted unanimously for a increase of £2,000 for traffic calming purposes.  This is well within the amount calculated from the survey responses.

There will be a second instalment in 2022/23 to provide the balance needed for a traffic calming project.  The Speed Watch Group will do its best to minimise the balance by seeking other funding.  We will also get on with the other activities needed to support the project.  This will include resuming speed monitoring as soon as it is permitted.

What form will traffic calming take?

The Speed Watch Group continues to research the options, but a vehicle-activated sign  (VAS)  has emerged as the favourite. 

The main reasons are:

  • significant and sustained speed reductions at moderate cost
  • can take action at more than one location
  • moving the VAS between locations avoids drivers becoming “desensitised”
  • education aspect – makes drivers more aware of their speed
  • choice of suppliers and plenty of operating experience

A detailed table comparing the options is available for anyone who is interested.

Playground Improvements

This aspect of the survey is not related to the Speed Watch Group, but for completeness here are the key findings.

  • 58.5% of responding households are in favour of funding playground improvement via an increase in council tax
  • The calculated increase in precept for this purpose came out at just under £1,500.

The Parish Council decided that rather than increase the precept they would allocate £500 towards the development of proposals.

Other community projects suggested

The following suggestions were received:

  • reinstatement and maintenance of public footpaths (3 households suggested this)
  • contribution towards cost of a village magazine
  • contribution towards the maintenance of the churchyard
  • village pub
  • new noticeboard next to the bench near the bridleway up the Hill
  • electric vehicle charging point

The Annual Parish Meeting in May (date not yet decided) will be an opportunity to discuss these ideas.  With any luck we will be able to meet in person by then.

And finally … privacy issues

All the responses have been put into a spreadsheet, which does not include any names, postal addresses or email addresses.

I have explained why we needed to know your street and council tax band.  This information does not identify an individual property except in a very small number of cases.  In such cases, it will be removed if the spreadsheet needs to be shared.

The unique reference number on each survey form has not been linked to your address.  Its purpose was to ensure that no household submitted more than one response.

Where people submitted their form electronically we unavoidably have email addresses.  The emails are stored in a dedicated, password protected account.  Copies of the forms themselves will be kept temporarily, but the emails will shortly be deleted. Where people have put their response in the email instead of using the form, it will be copied to a new document.  This document will not include their name or email address.

Paper and electronic copies of the completed forms will eventually be destroyed/deleted.  They are being kept for the time being in case the Parish Council wishes to check the accuracy of the spreadsheet. 

Kath Hudson

App Charity Comment COVID-19 Dursley Rugby Club Environment Footpaths friends of st cyrs Fun Heritage Walk Hidden Gardens History Information Jubilee Last Night Local News Open 2 All Our Environment Parish Council Phone Box Post Box Ride&Stride Roads Rugby Club Scams Speeding Speedwatch St Cyrs Stinchcombe Playground Stroud District Council Testing TGIF Toad Patrol Tyndale Village Hall Virtual Village What's on

Vehicle Activated Sign

Vehicle Activated Signs – VAS

A Little More about Vehicle Activated Signs

Yesterday a resident emailed me with some very sensible questions about Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS).  I have, of course, replied directly to them.  The questions and answers  below may be of interest to some residents.

Would we need a VAS for each speeding hot spot?

No, the type under consideration can be moved from place to place.  Slimbridge have one that they move between twenty locations.   The number of locations in Stinchcombe would probably be less than this.

An advantage of varying the location is that drivers do not become so accustomed to the VAS that they no longer notice it.

How is the VAS powered?

Mains, battery and solar options are available.  Rechargeable batteries might suit us best.  They would need to be changed every 2 weeks.

Who would change the batteries and move the VAS?

Speed Watch Group volunteers working to risk-assessed procedures would carry out these tasks.  Volunteers are also used in Slimbridge.  They advise using 2-3 people because the batteries are quite heavy.  The VAS and accessories can easily be transported in the back of a car.

What data would be logged?

The data logger records the time and speed of every vehicle  that passes the VAS.  It logs the vehicles in both directions, not only the way the sign is facing.  It does a similar job to human speed watch teams, but 24/7 and in all weathers. 

How would the data be used?

The data would be downloaded to a phone or laptop.  They would be processed using software supplied by the VAS manufacturer. 

Vehicle registrations are not recorded so the data would not lead directly to prosecutions.

As with data from human speed watch sessions, they would help the Police prioritise enforcement activities.

What is the point if VAS don’t identify speeders?

There is evidence that VAS speed reminders achieve reductions of between 2 mph and 6 mph in 85 percentile speed on 30 mph roads.  The 85 percentile speed is the speed at or below which 85% of vehicles are travelling. 

That might not sound like a big reduction but …

  • an average speed reduction of 1 mph reduces crash frequency by 5%
  • a pedestrian hit at 30mph has a one in five chance of being killed compared with  a one in three chance at 35mph.

These figures come from the road safety charity, Brake

Is there a risk of the VAS being damaged or stolen?

Yes, there is a risk which we would try to minimise.  Slimbridge lock their VAS to a post.  The price of the post is included in the estimate.  The VAS would also be insured.  My research indicates that this would cost about £100 per year. 

How much operating experience is there locally?

Slimbridge purchased the Morelock MSID Vario and are pleased with it.

There is considerable experience with using this model in Stroud District.  The Stroud District Road Safety Group owned two, which they loaned out to members.  With the Group’s recent demise, they have been sold off to members. 

Other speed feedback products are available!

Kath

App Charity Comment COVID-19 Dursley Rugby Club Environment Footpaths friends of st cyrs Fun Heritage Walk Hidden Gardens History Information Jubilee Last Night Local News Open 2 All Our Environment Parish Council Phone Box Post Box Ride&Stride Roads Rugby Club Scams Speeding Speedwatch St Cyrs Stinchcombe Playground Stroud District Council Testing TGIF Toad Patrol Tyndale Village Hall Virtual Village What's on

Stinchcombe Speed Watch

Christmas Greetings the SWG

Slow! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas from the Speed Watch Group

The Stinchcombe Community Speed Watch Group is up and running (or should that be slow jogging) with speed monitoring points on Taits Hill Rd and The Street. 

Please email speedwatch@stinchcombepc.co.uk to request monitoring at other locations.  As long as we can agree a safe site with the Police we will include them in next year’s programme.    

Stay safe over the festive period.

Kath

App Charity Comment COVID-19 Dursley Rugby Club Environment Footpaths friends of st cyrs Fun Heritage Walk Hidden Gardens History Information Jubilee Last Night Local News Open 2 All Our Environment Parish Council Phone Box Post Box Ride&Stride Roads Rugby Club Scams Speeding Speedwatch St Cyrs Stinchcombe Playground Stroud District Council Testing TGIF Toad Patrol Tyndale Village Hall Virtual Village What's on

Speedwatch

About the Speedwatch Group

A personal point of view

A couple of months ago I had a chance conversation with Don, a parishioner, who lives, like me, on Taits Hill Road. We discussed the volume and speed of the traffic, both of  which seemed to have increased in the past few years.

What to do?

I contacted the Parish Council and things took off from there. Kath Hudson has been extremely supportive and  along with Trudy Chinn, Don, and myself we conducted traffic volume counts. There are approx 49,000 vehicles using Taits Hill Road each week. Staggering isn’t it?

The Next Step

The next step was to register us as a Community Speed Watch group, which I have now done. There is an online training test, after which the local police force contact you and practical training in the use of equipment takes place.

We are now looking for at least five other volunteers. Training is given which consists of

  • Health and safety, concerning both the public and volunteers.
  • There is emphasis on data protection.
  • The need to educate not enforce is paramount.
  • The data, which is speed recorded above the speed limit, is fed back to the police.  

It all sounds quite intimidating, in reality it’s just common sense.  It helped to give me a better understanding by watching YouTube videos of other speed watch groups in action, prior to the training.

So now we wait, governed by Corona virus and the availability of police officers to respond, I hope that will not be too long.

What we hope for

I was asked what we hoped to achieve. I suppose the answer has to be to save lives, educate, and hopefully create a calmer environment which is beneficial to all.

For me personally, I have always been active in the wider community, scouting, over many years, school governor, and at present league of friends at The Vale Hospital. I had also just started to help with art therapy for the stroke patients when the  Corona virus stopped us in our tracks.

Let’s make a difference, however small.

Ava Walker

App Charity Comment COVID-19 Dursley Rugby Club Environment Footpaths friends of st cyrs Fun Heritage Walk Hidden Gardens History Information Jubilee Last Night Local News Open 2 All Our Environment Parish Council Phone Box Post Box Ride&Stride Roads Rugby Club Scams Speeding Speedwatch St Cyrs Stinchcombe Playground Stroud District Council Testing TGIF Toad Patrol Tyndale Village Hall Virtual Village What's on

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