Falkirk Council’s Executive, which met yesterday (Tuesday), approved proposals that will introduce the 20mph limit in targeted locations across the area.
The aim is to start with all town centres and most village centres later this year, then consult with communities to discuss rolling the scheme out to other streets, including residential areas, in 2023.
Councillors heard a report that said the 20 mph limit will help not only help road safety but will also make reduce air pollution and people feel safer when walking and cycling by making streets “people, rather than vehicle, focused”.
Roads manager Dorothy Reid stressed that the council would much rather not use speed bumps to lower the speed limit as they can often mean that drivers slow down and then speed away – adding to air pollution.
Some councillors questioned the fact that the police will not enforce the new limit.
But environment spokesperson, Councillor Paul Garner, said there was no difference between that and what currently happens with a 30-mile an hour limit.
“They will undertake enforcement where there is a problem – as they do now,” he told the meeting.
The council wants to speak to local communities about where such a limit would be useful and the first series of engagement sessions will be held online.
One group of residents who are very keen to see the measure introduced in their area attended the meeting to make their case.
The residents, who live near Gartcows Road, said that the lower speed limit would improve road safety at the busy junction where Gartcows Road meets Majors Loan and Drossie Road.
Dr Richard Dyer told the meeting: “This is a junction that has had a long history of accidents because of the configuration of the road. It’s an awkward junction with poor visibility on a busy bit of road.
“It’s also a route people use for walking and cycling from the station to the town and is near Comely Park Primary school and there are narrow pavements.
“There have been a number of accidents – mostly involving damage to property and vehicles and one associated death – and sooner or later there are going to be more fatalities if nothing further is done.”
Dr Dyer told they represented around 50 residents living near the junction and he believed there was growing support for the lower speed limit.
Recently, signs were put up that flash when motorists are going too fast – and while these were welcomed, the residents don’t feel they were enough.
Alan Rodger said: “Where the signs have been introduced is a very narrow area of about 50 yards – the cars are coming hurtling towards it from both directions at high speed.
“The reason we want a 20mph is to expand that, so the cars are getting that warning sign much earlier than they currently are.”
However, the residents added that the emphasis should not just be on accident history as the limit “was more about just making it a better environment for people”.