A Novel Idea; Slow Down

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Are you interested in improving the quality of life in Laguna? How about this?

In the UK, there is a very successful campaign called “20’s Plenty for Us.”

This campaign seeks to create a blanket speed limit of 20 mph in all residential areas. In cities where this has been implemented, it has been enthusiastically supported by the residents. It is rapidly spreading throughout cities in the UK, and it is under consideration for Brooklyn, NY.

In contrast with local speed reduction zones, the advantage of a blanket limit is that everybody benefits, not just those in the low-speed zones. This overcomes the attitude  “Why should I slow down in your neighborhood if you don’t slow down in mine?”

The benefits are manifold. When there is a 20 mph limit the street is available to all, not just cars. Children can play safely, the elderly and not-so-elderly can walk safely, cyclists, skateboarders and animals are safer.

A vehicle can stop in almost half the distance if traveling at 20 versus 30 mph. Road noise is also reduced by nearly half, a significant consideration on many of our streets.

The street can actually carry more vehicles at 20 rather than 30 mph since the following distances are reduced. There is less brake and tire wear, leading to less toxic dust in the neighborhood (a serious problem on streets with steep downhill sections and stop signs, such as Thalia and others.)

Fuel consumption is reduced, since most fuel is consumed accelerating from one stop to the next, and exhaust pollution reduced.

Many European cities have imposed blanket 30 kph limits (18.5 mph), which have led to dramatic decreases in accidents and improved quality of life.

Travel times are increased insignificantly. UK studies show a 40 second increase for a 15 minute journey.

If you’re interested in supporting a campaign to introduce “20’s Plenty for Us” in Laguna, please contact the writer ([email protected]) or Mike Hoag ([email protected]).

Charles Alban, Laguna Beach

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