By now, anyone living in the parish of Steyning, or those parts of Bramber potentially affected, will have received a paper survey asking for feedback on 'the idea of making the whole of Steyning and neighbouring parts of Bramber a 20 mph zone'. There's also a link to an online survey which poses additional questions about 'possible further road calming and sustainable transport measures'. The paper survey leaflet makes a good case for a 20 mph zone (but I would say that, having sat on the Steyning PC Community Committee that promoted the idea) but, as explored in the online survey, the philosophy behind the proposal really addresses the question of what environment do we want to live in, and why.
Undoubtedly, motorised transport (of all kinds) has brought societal benefits, but also societal costs, from pollution (gaseous and visual) via obstruction of the public highway by parked vehicles, personal isolation (difficult to interact with the world from inside a tin box with tinted windows) and lack of physical exercise (1 in 4 in UK are obese) to physical injury and death (just under 28,000 killed or seriously injured). Much like the apocryphal (?) frogs in hot water, this blight has insidiously crept up on us over the last century, helped by a rejection of mass public transport in certain quarters (eg Marples / Beeching and their emasculation of branch lines to promote road transport). Is now the time to reverse the trend? (Regrettably most of the old rail links are now beyond redemption.)
So why a zone, and not individual roads? In simple terms, cost (both legal and physical) and effectiveness - Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding present as a connected community, and that should include speed limits on residential streets and in town and village centres over the whole community, to avoid the issue of doubt. Much is made of the lack of effectiveness, but in reality that is a community decision: if enough motorists keep to the speed limit then it becomes self enforcing. (This will be reinforced from 2022 by all new motor vehicles having an in-built speed limiter.)
So, the choice is yours - Steyning and Bramber Parish Councils have recognised the benefits - do you? (If you need convincing, try standing on one of the many narrow local footways and assess the passing motor traffic - would you rather be there, or in one of the moving boxes?)
If you need more convincing, then watch Greening Steyning's launch of their promotional campaign for a range of viewpoints, or head over to the national 20sPlenty website.