Plea to cut speed limit to 30mph in part of Luton shelved by council
A plea by local residents to lower the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph along part of a Luton street has been rejected for now.
An 86-signature petition was submitted to the borough council over a 1.4-mile section of Barton Road from its junction with Riddy Lane and Barnfield Avenue to the junction with Turnpike Drive and Quantock Rise.
The local authority’s accident data base records 22 accidents in total on Barton Road between these junctions over a five-year period from 2018 to 2022, according to a report to its petitions and representations board.
“Of these, three involved injuries to cyclists and there were no recorded pedestrian injuries,” said the report.
“The accident data statistics don’t show a correlation between vehicle speeds resulting in accidents on this stretch of road.”
LBC’s senior highways engineer Mark Barnett told the board: “Our equipment issues were resolved and we’ve done the speed survey.
“The survey indicates the majority of road users were driving significantly under the 40mph limit,” he said. “This backs up the earlier data that only three collisions were caused by excess speed.
“The northbound camera revealed the speed at which 85 per cent of the traffic was travelling at or below to be 34.9mph, and the southbound figure was 34.7mph.
“It’s proposed we keep the speed limit at 40mph. If further intervention is needed because there’s a collision issue identified because of speeding, we’ll address it.
“There’s a backlog of 102 streets due to be surveyed within Luton at the request of councillors, the public and Bedfordshire Police. We’ve done about 30 or 40 of them. There are only eight pieces of survey equipment.”
Asked what the criteria is for introducing speed cameras, Mr Barnett replied: “We’re working on a draft speed management policy.
“It’s acknowledged we’ve an issue around this subject and it’s currently being addressed. If we consider installing cameras, it doesn’t necessarily mean the enforcement rate will increase for a particular area.
“That’s because the police will concentrate on areas where they’ve higher enforcement issues, which correlate with accident or collision rates. So speed cameras may not be the quick fix everyone would want, although they can serve as a deterrent.”
The lead petitioner explained: “Barton Road should be 30mph from Turnpike roundabout all the way to the town centre.
“More than 2,500 school pupils cross the stretch of road where the accidents have happened. You need to consider there’ll be 119 new properties in Enterprise Way, with more vehicles and pedestrians at this point.
“I still think speed cameras are the effective solution. At roundabouts and junctions, could we not improve road markings and lines to slow traffic down?”
Labour Farley councillor Dave Taylor said: “I sympathise as I lived there and it’s difficult to cross the road, but there are plenty of crossing points.
“It depends on the data, which doesn’t support a reduction. The cost of physical infrastructure to lower speeds isn’t justified here.”
Councillors agreed to continue to monitor the collision rate there, as part of the annual highways review of traffic issues across the town.