Examination of Witness (Questions 400
WEDNESDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2001
400. Do you think that that will be effective
in ensuring that as we move forward the lot of pedestrians is
(Mr Deegan) I am in no doubt that without an effective
champion of that nature it will continue to be difficult for attitudes
to walking to change.
401. To ask a final question about terrible
dog-leg crossings and so on, if there were no government guidelines,
or anything else, would Warwickshire try to make crossings more
(Mr Deegan) In ideal circumstances, I would try to
move the road-carrying capacity away from sensitive areas, if
necessary by new road construction, to allow a much more pedestrian-friendly
environment in locations where it mattered, which is what we hope
to do in your constituency.
402. You referred to road maintenance. The partially-sighted,
elderly and others frequently trip because of the poor state of
our pavements. Should the maintenance of pavements have greater
priority perhaps at the expense of other road maintenance?
(Mr Deegan) I have searched but not found any national
evidence on the point. There is local evidence in the context
of a review of our own highway maintenance policy which I undertook
a year or so ago. Two things emerge from that survey: first, that
there is a significantly different level of satisfaction with
the maintenance of pavements in my county than with general road
maintenance; in other words, people are much more dissatisfied
with pavement maintenance than they are with road maintenance
generally. Secondly, there are very significant differences between
age groups. In particular, elderly people are very much more dissatisfied
with the quality of pavement investment than the general public.
As a consequence, our maintenance priorities are shifting.
403. What are the main changes required to make
walking easier for the blind, partially-sighted and elderly? Apart
from maintenance, what other things do we need to do to pavements
to make the lot of those people better?
(Mr Deegan) One needs to see it in the round. We need
to develop more effective pedestrian routes. I believe that it
was the London Planning Advisory Committee which developed the
catchy concept of the five C's: convenience, comfort, conspicuousness
and so on. I believe that that is an appropriate model to follow.
Obviously, in relation to the particular needs of blind, elderly
or disabled people one must pay special attention to that. However,
to try to lay down national specifications in relation to issues
that might best be dealt with locally may not necessarily be the
right thing to do.
404. You have just told us that you were following
the national guidelines for crossings but now you say that it
is much better to develop schemes locally.
(Mr Deegan) With respect, I said that it was not necessarily
the case that those guidelines should be followed. Clearly, we
implement facilities which we hope are helpful to the partially-sighted
and disabled. That ranges from tactile surfaces to coloured surfaces
and edges, beeper crossings and so on. I suspect that there is
some considerable way to go in terms of rolling out the application
of that kind of facility, but I believe that it is appropriate
to look at local circumstances in the light of the opportunities.
405. I know that in my constituency you have
great experience of the speed of urban traffic. Do you believe
that there should be a general speed limit in urban areas of 20
mph instead of the current limit of 30 mph?
(Mr Deegan) It would be very easy to say "yes"
because I am sure that that is so in an ideal world.
406. In that case, Germany is an ideal world
because it applies a blanket limit of 30 kmh, which is approximately
20 mph, in residential areas?
(Mr Deegan) The issue is about enforceability. Obviously,
there are various ways to enforce speed reductions. We have seen
quite extensive use made of traffic-calming measures as a means
of reducing speed and, incidentally, in the process significantly
lowering the incidence of road accidents.
407. But you and I know that they have not always
(Mr Deegan) They are not always popular. Clearly,
it is difficult to look to the police for enforcement through
408. As a first step do you believe that the
Government should announce that they intend to make the streets
safer for all pedestriansmums, dads, boys and girlsby
reducing the speed limit to 20 mph, not 30 mph? Enforcement comes
after that. Do you believe that the Government should make a statement
(Mr Deegan) I am not sure that a blanket 20 mph limit
is appropriate. It will lead to complications in parts of urban
areas which may be regarded as through routes. I believe that
it is more appropriate to do what the Government have done; namely,
to introduce enabling legislation for home zones and speed reductions.
The solutions to these problems ought to be dealt with at a more
Chairman: On that note, thank you very much
for your evidence.