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Many drivers ignore shared space speed limits

The new shared space speed sign
The new shared space speed sign

It's a sign that Ashford’s shared space scheme has failings and a clear indicator of how many people are speeding through the town centre's new £15 million road system.

A flashing sign has been installed which tells drivers how fast they are travelling through the shared space area in the hope that they will react and slow down to the 20mph speed limit.

The indicator sign will move locations every couple of weeks.

The sign was proposed by road bosses after an initial survey found 85 per cent of drivers were travelling at or over 30mph in the 20mph zone in the scheme’s Elwick Road area.

Surveys carried out in December 2008 showed most drivers were still travelling at about 26mph through the area.

This week the Kentish Express carried out its own survey by reading the speeds displayed on the new solar-powered sign.

During a 15 minute period on Wednesday most passing cars were speeding. One car was recorded as travelling at 31mph, 54 were over the limit, compared with 40 drivers keeping within the limit.

The concept of shared space is that drivers slow down when they enter an area that they share with pedestrians.

Perceptions are heightened and the natural response for drivers is to reduce their speed without the need for a sign telling them to.

See this week's Kentish Express for the full story.

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