Published: 06:00, 10 August 2021
Speed limits across Herne Bay could be cut as part of sweeping changes to crack down on boy racers and crashes in the centre of town.
Kent County Council (KCC) highways officers have visited the coast to assess the safety of installing a huge 20mph zone between Central Parade and King’s Road.
Supporters say the tests indicated it would be feasible to implement the changes, which would come into force on every route to the east of Sea Street and west of Canterbury Road.
City and county councillor Dan Watkins believes this has paved the way for the restrictions to be introduced within the next 10 months.
“Talking to people on Western Avenue and King’s Road, there’s loads of speeding down there,” the Conservative explained.
“It’s noisy, people feel unsafe at times, wing mirrors are being knocked off, and sometimes there’s an accident. We want to get rid of all those issues.
“I don’t think there’s any need for people to be driving through a town centre at 30mph-plus.
Councillor Dan Watkins says the 20mph zone is needed to reduce excessive speeding
“It’ll just be a nicer environment – we won’t have cars speeding down the High Street – and it’ll give people greater confidence to go out for walks or get on a bike and cycle.”
The survey showed that motorists heading along High Street, King’s Road and Canterbury Road travelled, on average, at a speed little more than 20mph, even though a handful were seen exceeding 50mph.
Cllr Watkins says the results mean KCC will not need to install costly chicanes or humps along the thoroughfares, and will instead only need to erect signs in the area.
However, he stresses the process could be delayed if officials opt to stretch the 20mph zone even further south to the railway line.
The expanded option would mean routes like Spenser Road, Station Road and Fleetwood Avenue would also see their speed limits reduced.
“If we want to make it even bigger down towards the railway line, we’ll have to do more surveys and that’ll delay things a bit,” Cllr Watkins added.
“The most likely option is to do it to King’s Road, just because we can do it more quickly, at a lower cost and it’ll cover the area where we have the most issues.
“That’s also where we get most of our cyclists and pedestrians; it’s the area where we most need to get our 20mph zone.”
The proposals would then be put out to a public consultation, before being voted on by city and county councillors sitting on the Joint Transportation Board.
Should it be given the green light, Cllr Watkins reckons the scheme will be implemented in the first half of next year.
A KCC spokesman said: “Officers have carried out preliminary traffic surveys to assess the safety of potentially installing a 20mph speed limit in Herne Bay town centre.
“We are currently analysing the data collected in the High Street, King’s Road and Canterbury Road, which showed average speeds are currently at about 20mph.
“Any change to speed limits will require a public consultation and will be subject to funding being sourced to deliver any agreed changes.”