Parking in the town is already a major problem which will be exacerbated by additional mass developments in the pipeline. It’s important to think of the future and not just the most evident issues of today.
We would like to see people get to the high street with greater ease, reduce congestion at peak times and avoid politically popular but ineffective schemes such as 20mph speed limits. A better use of time money, and other resources would have been to repair potholes and the more extensive road repairs as there are many roads in and around Tonbridge in need of a touch of tlc, the B2027 to Edenbridge being one example.
Perhaps, we should consider better use of public or other transport to get people into the town centre, perhaps free for peak periods. Other times we could allow free parking for up to three hours, or perhaps a combination of both. One thing is not in doubt, and that is the need for some fresh ideas at county and borough level.
The headlong rush to enforce 20mph speed limits is ill thought out and is more to do with being politically fashionable than any real evidence. If there is a safety dimension to it then why 20mpg, why not 10, or 5? Then again, is there a discernible problem as it is. The answer is a resounding no.
The Tonbridge trial scheme is unenforceable in that the police do not have the manpower to do that. Some drivers comply with these new 20 mph speed, but most do not. Much of the Tonbridge ‘trial’ seems to be politically motivated and a fait accompli, bearing in mind the already significant and telling appearance of permanent signage. It is also highly significant that the ‘trial’ has happened at a time when the Town has been in one form of lockdown or another. Any data collected is therefore meaningless and it would not reflect the true position. As has been said already, there are better ways to control congestion, but this is a politically motivated move.
The argument that cycling and walking would increase with lower vehicle speeds is tenuous, to say the least. Usually there are other factors that create this behavioural change that ‘studies’ conveniently leave out. Cycling will improve with more dedicated cycle lanes where there is space to accommodate them and walking would also benefit from the extension and improvement to footpaths, specifically lighting. Most smaller roads in the constituency are totally unsuitable for cycling and walking, but we are where we are. None of these roads are to be subject to 20 mph speed limits. A material factor in all of this is the routine and blatant disregard of 20 mph limits wherever they exist. Driving through long standing 20mph restrictions is a salutary experience, being the only car to hold up all the traffic is a difficult position to sustain.
Changes of this nature should be in response to a clearly identified problem, after all it’s massively expensive and a complete waste to abandon it, even if it should be abandoned. The solutions must take into account all aspects, not just the pet ones driving the action, even if they appear to be popular and independent monitoring of the true situation is a necessity.
The economic damage inflicted upon this country by its own government is already severe. To add to the difficulties is unhelpful.