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Don’t stitch the blanket back together

Guernsey Press Comment | Published:

TWO deputies are proposing a wholesale annulment of the 25mph speed cuts.

In the process, they are stitching together a blanket proposal that, after heavy criticism, Environment & Infrastructure had torn apart.

By doing so, the deputies may be capturing the resentful public mood, but it is not good politics.

Of the 81 roads, or parts of roads, Environment & Infrastructure wants to limit to 25mph there are many which can be justified.

Cars doing 35mph at any time of night and day on those small roads and lanes would be putting people at risk.

What evidence that has been presented shows that most sensible people already see the logic of that and voluntarily keep to a lower speed. Adding a new sign will arguably make little difference to the safety of those areas.

This newspaper has argued, however, that there are roads included on the list which should not be there. If 25mph makes sense for La Route du Picquerel, for example, then the committee should stick to its principles and call for the whole island to be 25mph or less.

Moreover, if road safety is important there are many measures that E&I should be looking at harder instead of imposing a seemingly arbitrary speed limit determined more by the Island Development Plan than common sense.

Pedestrians and cyclists would certainly value more pavements, cycle paths, priority lanes, pedestrian bridges, mirrors, one-way systems and better lighting.

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The widening of the road at La Vrangue is a good example of what can be achieved with imagination and a public-private partnership. Pedestrians and cyclists – and cars and lorries, for that matter – are much safer now that the road has been widened than they were with just the 25mph limit.

So there are good arguments to be made against aspects of E&I’s blunt proposals. But to oppose them en bloc is politically naïve. It risks losing what support might be gathered against the dafter proposals.

That should be recognised and addressed with a more targeted challenge.

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