New average speed cameras have been installed on Southend’s City Beach seafront to slow down traffic in the shared space.
The controversial cameras, which were approved by Southend council in September 2011, will enforce a 20mph limit between the Pier and the Kursaal. Highways officers at Southend Council recommended the hi-tech camera system, despite objections from seafront traders and opposition councillors.
Tony Cox, the Tory councillor responsible for transport, said back in September that the scheme had his backing: “It has got my full support. I believe it is a very sensible idea which would help control traffic along a very busy stretch of road.”
However, Graham Longley, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats, was not in support of the cameras. He said: “Obviously I am not against anything which would improve safety, but I do not think cameras are the answer here. The problem is the lack of crossings, and while they may top up the council’s coffers, cameras will not help to solve that.”
Southend based Olympus Keymed provided funding for the new average speed cameras. The cameras are now in full operation as of January 2012.
A survey in 2011, after the City Beach scheme was completed, found that motorists’ average speed through the shared space was between 18mph and 21mph. However, police and Southend Council’s Conservative leadership deemed the 20mph limit un-enforceable unless speed cameras were installed.
The £7.6million ‘City Beach’ project was completed in March 2011, introducing a shared space scheme along the golden mile. The aim of the scheme was that drivers would be forced to slow down on their own accord as they had to share the space with pedestrians and allow them to cross. But the completion of the project was met with much criticism from members of the public and protest groups who felt the shared space was not safe.