Manchester City Council has unanimously decided to have its officers produce a study that might lead to a city-wide 20 mile per hour a limit on residential roads. At a full Council Meeting on Wednesday 1st February, a Liberal Democrat motion that “directs officers to produce a report for the Executive on the feasibility” of such a policy was approved after a brief exchange of speeches.
Before Cllr Victor Chamberlain (Liberal Democrat, Chorlton) proposed the motion, Cllr Richard Leese, whose main claim to fame is that he was interviewed yesterday by MCFly, warned him that Labour would be supporting the motion in proportion to the length of his speech. As a former maths teacher, Cllr Leese will be kicking himself for not having been more accurate – Labour’s support would be inversely proportional.
Councillor Chamberlain then proposed the motion, with a speech that cited a number of tragic statistics around the numbers of (unnecessary) road deaths., with children in Manchester more likely to be injured than in other parts of the country. One that leapt out for MCFly’s reporter was the lack of knowledge among motorists at just how high the survival rates are for pedestrians are who are hit at 20mph instead of 40. Most motorists seem to think slowing down makes no difference to survival rates for someone they hit, which is completely false.
Cllr Chamberlain emphasized that this was not a motion attacking motorists, or having a blanket 20mph limit on all roads.
Councillor Paul Andrews (Labour, Baguley, and Exec Member for Neighbourhood Services) responded to the motion for the Labour Party. Councillor Andrews is a man, who, if ever he or his constituents decide he should stop being an inmate of Castle Grayskull, would surely be able to set up as a freelance teacher providing masterclasses in sarcasm. His best zinger (borrowed, we are reliably informed) was that when he first read the motion’s title, he thought it referred to the ideal number of Liberal Democrat councillors in the 96 member Council. He mentioned that he had already spoken to the Manchester Evening News yesterday, and that support form the transport minister (Liberal Democrat Norman Baker) to overcome bureaucratic obstacles was one thing, but funding was another.
The motion passed unanimously. MCFly will keep tabs on when the report comes to Executive, and whether it is accepted, and if not, why not.
The concluding paragraph of the motion states
“This Council directs officers to produce a report for the Executive on the feasibility of implementing a city-wide 20mph limit on all residential roads, excluding major routes as appropriate.”