Brakes put on town 20mph proposal

Councillors have put the brakes on plans to consult on a 20mph speed limit along part of Lerwick’s town centre.

The environment and transport committee voted four to three to hold back on seeking feedback on the idea of introducing the lower limit with traffic calming measures.

A report by roads engineer Colin Gair recommended consulting the public on reducing the 30mph limit from the North Ness roundabout to the top of Church Road.

It also advocated examining the installation of zebra crossings as replacements for troublesome pelican crossings, which have been faulty in recent months.

Officials say the rate of accidents in the area is higher than the national average, at around two a year.

Some members were concerned by the cost of introducing the scheme – estimated to at between £100,000 and £150,000 – at a time when the council is tightening its belt.

That was despite claims the overall running costs would reduce if crossings were replaced.

Chairman Allan Wishart moved consultation be approved, and called for the matter to be brought back to the committee.

He said he did not want the authority to be seen as “a dithering council” that could not even make a decision to go to consultation.

But Robert Henderson won with his last-minute amendment to postpone a decision until the next cycle.

He called for more information to be brought about an overall approach which could look at the whole of Lerwick.

Seeking feedback on the timing of accidents over the last 12 years, the North Isles member also called for information on what the council’s legal obligations were and whether it could potentially throw out the proposals.

That came after hearing officials had delegated authority to proceed directly to consultation. It had only come to committee because of objections the move could potentially result in.


Add Your Comment
  • Michael Grant

    • January 21st, 2014 15:00

    As one of many drivers who have to drive along this route several times a day,i can safely say due to the amount of traffic on the road i can hardly get above 15 miles an hour far less get to 30.This council is hell bent on just wasting more money on something that is simply not needed.they should be more concerned about fixing the crossings before somebody does get knocked over and then sues you lot at the Town Hall.

  • Johan Adamson

    • January 21st, 2014 15:48

    How about the Roads dept looking outside of Lerwick? We could do with an underpass at Tingwall so we can get across the now very busy main road and get to the hall and school. We could also do with new speed limits in Whiteness, Quarff and Tresta. What about some more pavements so we can walk by the sides of roads? If you have any spare budget there must be a list of projects you could prioritise.

    • John Tulloch

      • January 21st, 2014 22:31

      Quite, Johan. I’d have thought your underpass at Tingwall would be a much safer and efficient alternative.

      Save one bad accident there and the underpass will have paid for itself – literally!

      • Johan Adamson

        • January 22nd, 2014 9:07

        I actually meant an underpass for the bairns to get to school and the playpark, but the cars could do with a better solution too. There have been a few nasty accidents there when cars overtake something trying to go right.

        Another blackspot (literally) is where the black gaet meets gulberwick. It should be floodlit as it is really difficult to see where the turn is when there are headlights coming. Im sure it could be lit like those solar bus stop things.

  • Michael Groat.

    • January 21st, 2014 16:23

    Perhaps Davie Trow will come come home and chain himself across the road again, “Twenty’s plenty” 😉

  • T Goodlad

    • January 21st, 2014 20:50

    Totally agree with your comments Michael–now if this had been 40 years ago when the head of the pier and the street were really busy with the “North boats” and the street full of grocer/butcher shops ect, it might have been justified.

    We managed fine then and we can manage fine now without any change to speed limits.

  • John Tulloch

    • January 21st, 2014 22:25

    Twice as many accidents as the ‘national average’?

    The national average of what, accidents in similar built-up areas, or of all accidents across the whole country (Scotland or UK?)? Or what?

    We might well expect, say, the national average accident rate for Scotland to be lower than that for Lerwick without there being anything wrong with the arrangements in Lerwick.

    Perhaps, someone could reassure us that we’re comparing ‘apples with apples’?

  • Robert Duncan

    • January 21st, 2014 22:53

    Vaguely related to this, were zebra crossings ever considered for where the pelican crossings in Lerwick currently are? I’m not sure any of the lights in Lerwick are even working at the moment, but even when they were it generally feels like overkill to delay traffic for 20 seconds just to skip across the road. I’ve watched many people simply not bother using the crossing and running across within yards of it, presumably thinking that Lerwick roads aren’t that busy or not wanting to upset the many rage-filled drivers filling our roads.

    I imagine there could be issues with the visibility of some crossings, such as at Freefield due to the bend in the road, but generally speaking I think zebra crossings SEEM – to an uneducated pedestrian – like a more suitable option for the sort of traffic the town has. They’d presumably be rather a lot cheaper than lights that break every other month, too.


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