[OSM-talk] Misclassified roads

David Earl david at frankieandshadow.com
Fri Jul 11 10:53:57 BST 2008

On 11/07/2008 10:26, Steve Hill wrote:
> On Fri, 11 Jul 2008, David Earl wrote:
>> The equivalent here, to which the tag would be applied, is known as 
>> "Home Zone", and it has a specific sign:
>> http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tss/general/coll_newroadsignsandmarkingsleaf/dft_roads_022863-16.jpg 
>> (which is taken from this page
>> http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tss/general/newroadsignsandmarkingsleafletb?page=1 
>> )
> Interesting...  I've never come across one of those signs (although the 
> description makes it all sound like common sense - I would think that in 
> any residential area you should expect kids to be playing in the street, 
> no need for a special sign :)

If only.

I had occasion to take a journey driven by a former colleague on a cross 
country route a while back. I was shocked that almost as a matter of 
principle he drove at 38mph through villages where the speed limit was 
30mph (which is too high anyway for residential environments IMO), his 
reasoning being that there was a 10% allowance for incorrect 
speedometers (notwithstanding that that might have worked in the other 
direction) and then plus 5mph because "the police don't bother with less 
than that". No wonder we need speed cameras when there is almost 
institutionalised abuse, let alone Home Zones.

At least the rules governing 20mph areas (not specifically Home Zones) 
have been relaxed a bit to make them easier to implement (though 
Cambridgeshire is till very reluctant, places like Hull and Portsmouth 
have been really progressive on this).

I think the approach off Earlham Road in Norwich (and I've seen it 
elsewhere too) is quite interesting. The 20mph streets are signed with 
the usual 20mph roundel, but have a plate underneath which is a 
children's drawing all about slowing down (e.g. a snail). There's lots 
of different ones. A nice piece of psychology I thought.

Cambourne in Cambridgeshire also has a different approach. They have a 
19mph speed limit. I think the psychology here is to make you do a 
double take on seeing the sign, because it is unusual. It's self 
defeating of course if used widely.

The Home Zone would usually go further than a sign - the street would be 
re-engineered to blur the distinction between road and pavement, to 
integrate movements and parking and so on. There's a whole organisation 
devoted to them:
see also the IHE website http://www.homezones.org.uk/

On the whole I think they're a good idea, but there is a downside that 
it could make people think, at least subconsciously, that these are the 
only residential streets where you have to take such extreme care.

Anyway, this is all rather off topic, sorry.


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