No need for speed

As our regular readers know well, World/Streets believes that there are a lot of excellent reasons for slowing down. And every time we run into something that we think can help advance this worthy objective, well here we are. This time the irrepressible Elizabeth Press, peripatetic videographer from New York City’s StreetFilms project, got on a plane and made a short film about what happens when cities slow down their traffic in a uniform and substantial way – in this case the terrific UK program ” 20’s Plenty for Us”. Her five-minute film went on-line yesterday.

Here you have the short introductory text as it appears on their site:

No Need for Speed: 20’s Plenty for Us

by Elizabeth Press on August 30, 2010

Earlier this month, the New York City Department of Transportation announced plans to experiment with 20 mph zones — replacing the city’s default 30 mph speed limit in one pilot neighborhood. Whoever gets the first 20 mph treatment will see benefits that residents of British cities and towns have become increasingly familiar with in recent years.

In the UK, some 3 million people live in areas with 20 mph speed limits. The experience there shows that not only do slower speeds save lives, but lowering the limit to 20 mph improves the way local streets function in more ways than one. According to the 20’s Plenty for Us campaign, the change has produced wide-ranging benefits, including less traffic, increased walking and biking, greater independence for children, the elderly and infirm, better health, and calmer driving conditions for motorists.

The mission of 20’s Plenty For Us is to establish 20 mph as the default speed limit on all residential roads in the UK. I recently met up with the campaign’s founder, Rod King, as well as other advocates in the towns of Warrington and York, to understand how the idea of slowing down traffic has spread so fast throughout the country.

* Click here to view video

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About the videographer:

Elizabeth Press is a media maker. Since 2007 she has been documenting the livable streets movement in New York City as a videographer for the online vlog http://www.Street-films.org. As part of Streetfilms advocacy, Elizabeth has traveled across America and around the world to make videos that demonstrate best practices for better biking, walking and mass transit.

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