Work is due to start this week to reduce the speed limit to 20mph on key central London roads, including main routes in Southwark.
TfL will impose the limit on the major routes it operates in central London including on Borough High Street, Great Dover Street and parts of Druid Street and Bermondsey Street.
The move comes after 128 people were killed in speed-related collisions on the capital’s roads between 2016 and 2018, and forms part of a bid to eradicate road deaths and serious injuries by 2041. Last year 112 people died on London’s roads and a futher 3,954 suffered serious injuries.
The changes are expected to come into force by March. TfL have said work will be completed overnight to ‘minimise the impact on road users’ and it will use ‘single lane closures to avoid any roads being fully closed’, but that is subject to permits.
A 20mph limit on Tooley Street will also be enforced as part of the separate ‘Tooley Streets Healthy Streets’ project at the same time.
The 20mph limit was recently imposed on London Road, St George’s Circus, Westminster Bridge Road and Newington Butts in the Elephant and Castle.
In nearby Camberwell work has begun at the Camberwell Green junction, where wider footways and crossings, resurfacing and ‘early release’ for people cycling at traffic lights at all arms of the junction are being installed. This is part of TfL’s Safer Junctions Scheme to be put in place at 73 spots across the capital. Other junctions in Southwark include Kennington Park Road with Braganza Street and New Kent Road with Harper Road.
“Collisions occur more in central London than elsewhere in London and it is also where higher numbers of people are walking, cycling and riding motorcycles,” said TfL, explaining why it is carrying out the move.
“This creates a high-risk road environment. Lower speeds will reduce the danger.”
Southwark Council welcomed the change, urging the body to “accelerate this important road safety [measure] on the rest its roads.”
TfL is also planning to reduce the speed limit on a further 140km of roads it operates in inner and outer London by 2024.
Concerns were raised by respondents during the consultation that the lower speed limit would lengthen journey times, and cause more pollution and congestion on busy inner-city London routes.
However TfL responded that while some off-peak journeys might see a small increase in times, most would not as journey times are dictated by ‘junction delays’ and not vehicle speeds.
It added that research from Imperial College London showed a 20mph speed limit had no negative net impact on exhaust emissions.
The full list of Southwark roads affected:
• Borough High Street
• Great Dover Street
• Blackfriars Road
• Part of Druid Street (between Tower Bridge Road and Crucifix Lane)
• Crucifix Lane
• Part of Bermondsey Street (between Crucifix Lane and Tooley Street)
• Part of Queen Elizabeth Street (between Tooley Street and Tower Bridge Road)
Southwark Street and St Thomas Street, which are TfL managed, already have a speed limit of 20mph.
A person who is hit by a car travelling at 30mph is up to five times more likely to die than if they were hit by a car travelling at 20mph, it is estimated.
More details can be found on the TfL website.
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