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20mph zone to be made permanent

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
Dumfries and West
20mph zone to be made permanent

COUNCILLORS are driving ahead with introducing a 20mph zone in Dumfries town centre permanently.

The speed limit on vehicles was introduced temporarily in Dumfries at certain areas of the town, including the Whitesands, in a bid to curb speeding and also to boost cycling and walking, writes local democracy reporter Marc Mclean.

Members of Nithsdale Area Committee this week agreed unanimously that the measure should remain for the long-haul in order to improve public safety.

This comes after a survey of 111 local people showed that half of respondents did not want a ‘twenty’s plenty’ zone in the centre of town.

North West Dumfries Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said: “I know there’s been a wee bit of bad press regarding the 20mph limit.

“I find it very useful and think it’s the safe way to go.

“I was down the ‘Sands driving my car, someone ran across the road, and I was doing 20mph so had plenty time to stop. These things happen a lot.

“I’ve seen accidents in residential areas that have been fatal, so I think that anything we do to promote safety is welcome.”

Council leader Elaine Murray said: “I’m all in favour of 20mph zones in built-up areas.

“Scottish Borders Council took a bold and innovative approach to doing it, and I’d like to see us doing more of that ourselves.

“I know some people don’t like 20mph speed limits but that’s just people who are used to driving fast in my view

“Car drivers can slow down and it makes it easier for people who use bikes, want to walk, and all forms of active travel if speed is reduced.”

Referring to road accident figures in the council report, Councillor Andy Ferguson said: “Every mile per hour that we reduce the speed limit reduces the effects of an accident on people, whether that’s people walking or cyclists

“The stats speak for themselves. All the naysayers who were talking about the town being gridlocked – that’s just not happened.

“The traffic is moving just as it did before, just a wee bit slower.”

Police Scotland are in favour of the 20mph zone and commented that overall vehicle speeds have since reduced in the town centre.

The next steps for the council is advertise their intentions to introduce the 20mph zone permanently, before it is properly implemented in September.

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