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Residents take their own action over 20mph limit
A GROUP of frustrated Oxford residents fed up with rat-running drivers have taken matters into their own hands.
Campaigners say the 20mph zone in Lime Walk, Headington, is regularly ignored by drivers, who use it to get between London Road and Old Road.
They say Oxfordshire County Council has not provided them with support for more speed-calming measures.
So residents have decorated the area, installing planters featuring children’s windmills at the chicane on the junction of Lime Walk and All Saints Road.
Phil Gauron, 66, co-ordinator of the awareness team, said: “We are doing what we can to raise awareness in a fun sort of way that this is a 20mph zone. We have been fighting this for 12 years. People are still speeding a lot and a significant proportion are in excess of 30mph.”
Children living in the street decorated windmills, while other residents donated pots and plants to remind drivers the junction is at the heart of a residential area. When snow fell last week, a number of residents drew 20mph signs on their car windscreens.
The DIY traffic calming came after residents failed to gain county council support for a trial of community-funded speed reduction measures.
Lime Walk residents met council officers on January 16 to see if they could borrow bollards and other equipment to slow traffic down.
Last week they were told it was no longer possible for the county council to work with them.
Mr Gauron, a video and audio producer for the Open University, said: “The only feature the council has put in is this chicane on the junction.
“The chicane has been an eyesore. It seems to work up to a point but not in the main bit of the road in Lime Walk.
“We know there are funding issues but we are upset that the council is not prepared to support speed reduction we were prepared to pay for.”
Mr Gauron said previous surveys showed that in Lime Walk alone up to 800 vehicles per day exceeded 26mph.
City councillor Ruth Wilkinson said: “The residents have battled long and hard to get traffic calming in their local area, and despite all setbacks, they are coming up with some great ideas to get the message through.”
The county council spent almost £250,000 introducing the 20mph scheme for almost all residential roads and some main routes in September 2009.
But in 2012 Thames Valley Police admitted it had not issued a single ticket for breaking the 20mph limit. Last August, police announced officers would start enforcing the 20mph limit for the first time since its widespread introduction.
County council spokesman Sam Henry said budget pressures meant it could not pay for further measures and warned residents to be careful, as any unauthorised obstruction of the highway is illegal.
Thames Valley Police was yesterday going to the site to check the placement of plants and balloons was legal.