Residents turn in over traffic issues in Ramsgate and 20’s Plenty campaign meeting – The Isle Of Thanet News
More than 60 residents gathered at a meeting last week to discuss growing concerns about traffic and road safety in Ramsgate.
The public meeting, hosted by Ramsgate County Councilor Karen Constantine, was told 20mph zones are beneficial and traffic can harm health and add to pollution.
Cllr Constantine said: ‘I called the meeting because in all my years as a councilor traffic and speed have been the main concerns of residents. In many ways, this is a very difficult problem to solve, but across the county more and more councils are recognizing the multiple benefits of reduced traffic speeds.
“I was extremely pleased, not only that so many people came to the meeting, but also for the high quality of the input and the plans for this group to come together more formally, with the ambition to fight for improvements across Ramsgate. This will benefit everyone who lives, works and visits our beautiful city.
National campaign group ’20s Plenty’ reports success in helping hundreds of areas reduce traffic speeds. It is accepted as normal by local authorities covering 28 million people in the UK, including all of Wales and soon Scotland.
The organization says reducing traffic speed to 20mph helps create places where human activity, including walking, cycling and social interaction, takes precedence over traffic and is better for the environment. They say 20mph reduces CO2 emissions, is also enforceable, like any speed limit, and that putting 20mph in place has little impact on overall journey times. Bus routes and timetables are generally unaffected by 20 mph when the lower speed limit is purchased.
Thanet Councilor Rob Yates said: “Our roads should be safe for our children. Unfortunately, Kent County Council statistics show otherwise. For Thanet under-15s, we have the highest number of serious road casualties in Kent. And this is not an isolated case, since 2015 we have consistently had one of the highest rates of serious road accidents in Kent among our children.
“On top of that, we have unfortunately seen three cyclist deaths on our roads since October last year, and together with Canterbury we have consistently the highest number of cyclists killed per year. The need for change is not not a matter of perception, it is a matter of fact.
City and District Councilor Tricia Austin said she would urge council to bid for the latest ‘Active Travel’ funding.
Councilor Becky Wing added: ““For those with wheelchairs or pushchairs, crossing Ramsgate is difficult. There are only two crossing points in Ramsgate. Safety is the main concern of residents.
Ramsgate City Council Chairman Cllr Steve Albon described the action taken by the authority saying: ‘We have had meetings with KCC’s motorways department and they have explained that the 20mph schedule proposed by the Ramsgate City Council is a major undertaking and it could take 3 to 4 years to set up. There should be consultation with residents. In addition, KCC or others will have to organize speed checks and consider what solutions and other measures may need to be adopted.
“Behind the Curve”
Patrick Jarman of ‘Active Travel’, a Ramsgate-based company that promotes walking and cycling, told meeting attendees: “We support the roll-out across the county of simple measures to reduce stress, road hazard, traffic and noise pollution, to re-energize local businesses and town centers, to liberate everyone, including children and the elderly, to make life healthier and happier for all.
“Kent is way behind the curve with comparable parts of Europe. The question isn’t whether we can afford it – it’s whether we can afford not to. It’s really vital to get people active, as well as decarbonizing the environment.With quieter streets and roads, we create a more pleasant environment and a more connected community.
Another meeting will be organized at the beginning of the year. Cllr Constantine said she would invite the MP for South Thanet, KCC Highways and the police again despite their refusal to attend the first meeting.
She added: “I believe we can ‘win hearts and minds’ on this – it won’t be easy, but with so many determined residents it’s only a matter of time. We can reduce casualties and deaths and create a better, cleaner and safer environment.
Following public consultation earlier this year, Kent County Council plans to change 10 Ramsgate roads to 20mph zones:
ALBERT COURT, CHARLOTTE COURT, HARBOR STREET and YORK STREET – Along their entire length.
HARBOR PARADE – From its junction with Military Road to its junction with Marine Esplanade.
HIGH STREET – From its junction with Harbor Street to its junction with Hardres Street.
KING STREET – From its junction with High Street to its junction with Broad Street.
MADERIA WALK – From its junction with Harbor Parade to its junction with Albion Place.
QUEEN STREET – From its junction with High Street to its junction with Leopold Street.
ROYAL PARADE – From its junction with Harbor Parade a distance of 33 meters in a westerly direction.
According to KCC, the objective is “to avoid danger to persons or other vehicles using the road or any other road or to prevent the likelihood of such danger occurring.
“(and) to preserve or improve the amenities of the area through which the road passes.