Make our streets safer and more active - all central Sevenoaks 20mph zone

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We want all members of our community to be able to walk and cycle safely on all streets in central Sevenoaks, without risk of injury or worse, including around the railway station, the town centre and all the primary schools, on the key walking routes to the secondary schools, and on all the streets in between.

Please sign our petition asking Michael Payne, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to introduce a 20mph speed limit on the streets in these areas followed by effective street design and traffic calming, which encourages drivers to observe the limits and facilitates walking and cycling.

This will improve safety substantially for all road users but especially for pedestrians and cyclists, reducing collisions which cause injuries by 50% and reducing serious injuries and fatalities by 90%. It will also improve air quality, reduce noise disturbance and encourage active travel, while journey times for drivers would barely change.

Key Details 
The streets in central Sevenoaks are hazardous:

  • In the last 10 years, over 180 collisions which resulted in injuries have occurred in this area
  • London Rd, Dartford Rd/St John’s Hill, Seal Hollow Rd by Knole Park and the High Street – all the most heavily walked roads – are accident blackspots which particularly require attention, with between them over 130 injury collisions over the last 10 years

Reductions in speed make streets much safer:

  • At 30mph it is much harder to stop than at 20mph: at the point a 20mph car would have stopped, a 30mph car would still be doing 24mph
  • An effective reduction in speed from 30mph to 20mph would reduce injury collisions to half current levels and reduce serious injuries/fatalities to around 10% of current levels – according to 2018 research from the 59 nation OECD International Transport Forum
  • Even a small reduction in average speed would have a big impact: just a 3mph reduction in average speed from 30mph would mean 15% less injury crashes, 26% less serious injury crashes and 28% less fatal crashes (OECD 2018)

Slower speeds mean improved air quality and reduced noise disturbance, and increased attractiveness of walking and cycling.

The downsides to drivers from a 20mph limit are negligible – journey times are barely affected:

  • For a typical urban trip, point to point speeds are determined mostly by delays at junctions rather than the sections of road in between.
  • Lower speeds mean more anticipation time, smoother traffic and less congestion
  • Research by Transport for Wales (2020) has shown off peak journey times on new 20mph routes (previously 30mph) increasing by between 0.3% and 7% - or for a typical 5 minute off peak drive across the suggested zone in Sevenoaks, increasing by between ONE and 21 seconds. Peak journey times increase even less.

We are asking Kent County Council to listen to local residents, schools and other organisations and:

  • Implement a 20mph limit to cover all streets in the areas around the railway station, St Thomas Catholic Primary School, the town centre up to Sevenoaks School, Lady Boswell’s C of E Primary School, St John’s CE Primary School, Trinity School, Sevenoaks Primary School, Bradbourne Lakes, Knole Academy and all streets in between (except the A25) to create an all central Sevenoaks 20 mph zone
  • Introduce effective street design, traffic calming and street furniture, particularly in the accident blackspots, which:
    •  encourages drivers to observe the limits
    •  facilitates walking and cycling, by providing appropriate space for these both along and across our streets

Supporters
- St John’s CE Primary School
- Sevenoaks Primary School
- Lady Boswell’s C of E Primary School
- St Thomas Catholic Primary School PTA (as the head is unavailable at the moment, being on special leave)
- Granville School
- Trinity School Sevenoaks 
- Sevenoaks School
- Knole Paddock Residents Association
- St Johns Residents Association
- Hollybush Residents Association
- Bradbourne Residents Association
- Eardley Road Residents Association
- White Hart Estates Residents Association
- Busy Bees Nursery
- Sevenoaks Bicycle User Group

Comments
Lesley Smith, Chair of the St John’s Residents’ Association committee
“We supported the petitions to have 20mph limits around the Sevenoaks and St John’s primary schools to increase the safety of children and parents. We feel that it is a logical extension to include other roads in central Sevenoaks as this would both increase the safety of current pedestrians and cyclists and also encourage more people to walk and cycle with a greater sense of security.”

Jim Purves, Chairman, Hollybush Residents Association
"We support the extension of the 20 mph speed limit in our area to include surrounding roads. Having run Speed Watch in Seal Hollow Road, we are well aware how speeding cars make it dangerous for pedestrians to cross into the Park at the Hole in the Wall, or children walking to school." 

Jenny Bartlett, Chairman, Knole Paddock Residents Association
“The Knole Paddock Residents Association fully supports the endeavour to increase road safety in our town centre and surrounding areas by the imposition of a 20mph speed limit. Lady Boswell’s School at the bottom of Plymouth Drive has large numbers of pupils who walk to school and their safety and the subsequent reduction in air pollution is most desirable”

John Ingram, representing Bradbourne Residents Association Committee
“For years we, in the Bradbourne Residents Association, have seen our roads used as rat runs, with excessive speeds in Lambarde Road in particular. Implementation of a 20mph zone around Sevenoaks and St John’s Primary Schools reflects justifiable public concern for safety on our residential streets which we also share. A unified approach across the town makes every sense and we wholeheartedly support this initiative. The need for enforcements is a further issue but any measure that reduces speed to an acceptable level is welcome.

Dr Matthew Pawson, Headmaster at Trinity School Sevenoaks
Trinity School supports the proposal for a 20mph speed limit. The safety of our young people is paramount and will cause little if any disruption to drivers. We see daily, cars who travel at or exceed the current speed limit as we supervise hundreds of students over the road at the end of the school day. An introduction of a speed restriction will make it safer for all.

Jesse Elzinga, Headmaster at Sevenoaks School
“Sevenoaks School fully supports the scheme to implement a 20mph limit in Sevenoaks town. This would cause a limited disruption to drivers, make it much safer for our students to walk to school, and could encourage more to cycle. Ultimately, this is about the safety and protection of the young people in our community, which should be our fundamental priority.”“

Sharon Saunders, Headteacher at Lady Boswell’s C of E Primary School  
“We have been made aware of quite a number of 'near misses' involving a few of our pupils and Road Safety is something that features in our children's education. This scheme would, however, provide our children, their families, and all those across Sevenoaks with enhanced safety if the speed limit were to be restricted to 20mph.  As a School we commend this proposal.”

Sally Quirk, Headteacher at St John’s CE Primary School
“St John's school community were delighted and reassured to hear that their push to see the 20mph limit in the roads surrounding the school had been treated seriously. It is now somewhat lacking that the rest of this town isn't joined in speed limitation. A network of smaller town roads and heavy pedestrian use should surely qualify this town for some joined up thinking and 20mph speed restrictions being enforced throughout. I thoroughly support the motion to get this passed as soon as feasible and before we have to wait for a fatal accident to happen.”

Merilyn Canet, Vice-Chair of Sevenoaks District Seniors Action Forum and Sevenoaks District Councillor, Sevenoaks Northern Ward
“I support the call for a wider town  20mph speed limit because we need to open up our shared roads to people not just cars. This concept will take time to change the behaviour of those of us who drive cars (and have done so for a long time) but will become increasingly important for all of us and the planet.”

Elizabeth Purves, Sevenoaks District Councillor, Sevenoaks Eastern Ward  
"I wholeheartedly support the petition to extend the 20 mph speed limit to more areas of Sevenoaks. This will make our roads safer, encourage people to walk and cycle, cut down pollution and benefit our health and wellbeing.“