Monday, 9 May 2016

20 reasons for 20mph

New Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees may review the 20mph speed limits we currently have in the city. 
If/when he does I hope he remembers these 20 reasons for 20mph:
1. The UKs current default speed limit of 30mph in areas where people live was set in 1934 when there were 1.5 million motor vehicles. In 2012 the figure was a massive 34.5 million!! 
2. Road traffic in the UK is the single biggest cause of premature deaths for boys and the second biggest cause for girls age 5 -15.
3. Every year in Bristol hundreds of people are killed or seriously injured on the roads (see here), the burden falling hardest on the poorest, with 24 of every 100 child pedestrian casualties being in the most deprived neighbourhoods compared to 1 in 100 in the least deprived.
4. At 20mph a pedestrian knocked over stands a 90% chance of surviving. At 40mph they stand a 90% chance of dying. See http://www.20splenty.org/
5. A 30mph limit is 60% higher than the 18.5 mph (30 kph) limits that many Northern European cities and towns have for streets where people live.
6. The vast majority of pedestrian deaths are on urban roads in the UK and we have a higher proportion of pedestrian deaths on the roads than any of our European neighbours.

7. In Hilden, Germany, the setting of their 18.5 mph (30 kph) limit in the early 90's was the foundation of them encouraging cycling and walking at much higher levels than we have.


8. Adults lead more sedentary lives in part because they spend more time in their cars. Children lead less active lives in part because we worry about the dangers posed by road traffic.
9. The growth of physically inactive lifestyles in industrialised countries has led to what many are calling a major public health crisis.
10. Preventable illnesses associated with inactivity and obesity include stroke, heart attack, certain cancers, diabetes, and depression.

11. Around 40% of people in the UK report being bothered by noise from traffic, nearly double the figure from the 1970’s.
12. Children living near busy roads suffer significantly higher rates of asthma.
13. West of England Partnership figures show that over 100,000 Bristolians live in areas where air quality is considered to be potentially damaging to health, so we need a culture shift away from motorised transport.

14. Cars travelling too fast in residential areas have helped to create social degradation. Neighbours across the road from each other don't talk to each as often as they used to. because a gulf is created by cars speeding past.
15. As far back as 1969 Prof David Appleyard found that community was eroded on San Francisco streets with busier traffic - and a study by Kevin Leyden in 2003 found that people living in walkable, mixed use neighbourhoods were more likely to know their neighbours, participate politically, trust others and be socially engaged, compared with those living in car-oriented suburbs’.
16. Research on Bristol’s streets by Josh Hart at UWE showed that motor vehicle traffic is responsible for a considerable deterioration in residential community, measured by average number of social contacts, extent of perceived ‘home territory’, and reported street-based social activity.
17. Several studies show that people whose homes had windows facing busy streets were more often depressed.

18. Residential roads and streets are public spaces for people not just motor vehicles –  and we need them to be safer, cleaner, healthier and more civil.
19. Quality of life is better with a 20mph limit, with less noise, lower pollution, greater child mobility, more walking, more cycling and more talking encouraged, leading to better general wellbeing.

20. Research has shown that the vast majority of the public would like 20 mph on residential roads. The Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety found that 70% of drivers want it too.

Monday, 2 May 2016

What sort of Bedminster councillor would I be?

I have the determination, persistence, skills and consistency of convictions of a person with 35 yrs experience as a Green campaigner. 

As an Open University Tutor, formerly a science teacher and industrial technologist/chemist, I have many transferable skills to offer. (See here)

As an elected councillor I would take a strongly free-thinking, evidence-based, reasoned, systems-thinking approach to all my work. I firmly believe in raising the ethical standards of all those in politics/public life. I would therefore: 

 
  • serve only the public interest 
  • work honestly and with integrity 
  • make decisions on merit 
  • be accountable to the public and appropriate scrutiny bodies
  • be as open as possible about my actions and those of the council, giving reasons
  • taking account of the views of others I will reach my own conclusions on the issues before me and act in accordance with those conclusions 
  • promote equality by not discriminating against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability 
  • respect the impartiality and integrity of the authority’s statutory officers and other employees 
  • uphold the law and act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in me
  • ensure that the authority uses resources prudently and lawfully 
  • promote and support high ethical standards by leadership and example 
  • act to secure and preserve public confidence.
(See this post here about the Councilllors Code of Conduct). 

I will work for our real wealth - our environment and our society, the source of all our resources and the basis of our lives - and for it to be sustained now and for the generations to come. I aim to:
  • challenge institutions, decision-making processes and politicians and identify and report unreasonable compromise at crunch points
  • counter greenwash and greenspeak, the spin, public relations and marketing used manipulatively and deceptively to show you are green, ecological, sustainable or environmentally-friendly when in reality you aren't
  • describe, explain, advocate and enact  green analysis, change and problem solving, specifically: respecting our environment and society; stronger local communities; meeting needs now and into the future; local and global fairness;  equality and diversity; efficiency; renewability; health, wellbeing and quality of life.