Two weeks ago, the Isle of Man Department of Infrastructure discreetly announced that they wanted to impose a 20 mile per hour speed limit on Douglas Prom and surrounding streets. They “announced” this in a fine print notice buried on page 27 of the Isle of Man Courier on 9 July 2021.
In response, we launched a public consultation to listen and represent the views of the people of Mann. A recurring comment from the respondents to this consultation has been the importance of Douglas Promenade to their lives. The Promenade is a place to live, a place to work, a place to cycle, a place to drive, a place to walk, a place to exercise, a place to sit, and a place to enjoy.
A secondary theme has been the lack of Government accountability in this project. The people of Mann feel that the managers of the scheme have not been held to account for the outcome of the project to date. That is, the public recognises that the government officials have no skin in the game. While the public has lost out through delays, damage and disruption, it seems that none of the people in charge have been held to account for their decisions which have caused the current problems.
Representative comments from the people of Mann include:
“Getting to work on time and picking my children up from school on time. I may use a different route, but I would still be late. Using the prom reduces the time frame, however since the prom is under construction for so long, I’m late for work and late picking the children up.” – Sheryl, Onchan
“Road safety around our family home, the prom works have pushed excessive traffic to the roads around our house, a 20mph limit on the prom will likely mean we continue to endure that traffic even when the prom is finished as we will not be included in the 20mph limit. If the prom is to be 20mph then please include all the cut through roads too. Specifically Derby Square. Better still, block one end of Derby Sq.” – Rob, Douglas
“…the government didn’t listen to the public over the plans.” – Gem, Onchan
“Just get it finished! Stop wrecking businesses with slow progress” – Peter, Onchan
“Having a decent, safe promenade walkway for leisure and fitness purposes, and without having cars parked on it. It’s a walkway not a car park! Have used it regularly since moving here in 1997 but not since all the work started.” – Jan, Douglas
“The high speed of vehicles and lack of enforcement. There is no point having speed limits if they aren’t enforced.” – Johnny, Douglas
“The length of time it’s taken and the ridiculous amount of money spent . It’s a shambles.” – Anne, Douglas
“Who is to be held to account for this huge cock-up? Are lessons going to be learned for future major expenditures?” – Robert, Douglas
“The prom has been a shambles. We just need it completing and stick to normal lights or roundabouts. The prom does not need to be 20mph unless we end up with those roundell things.” – Tom, Douglas
“Safety for all pedestrians and motorists. I have used Prom and all diversions all these years to get to Palace Health Club or walk down Summer Hill Glen.” – Mary, Douglas
These responses were compiled from responses to the public survey that I conducted online at michaeljosem.com/douglasprom
The data that I have provided below is accurate as of 4pm on Friday 23 July, because the closing date for the DOI was 23 July. While the Department of Infrastructure may choose to stop listening to feedback on this matter on 23 July, I will continue to listen to the views of the people of the Isle of Man.
A total of 66 responses were received, with 64 of the responses providing helpful answers to the questions posed.
QUESTION: Do you support a 20mph speed limit for Douglas Promenade and nearby streets?
Yes: 28 (44%)
No: 34 (53%)
Don’t know: 2 (3%)
Please treat this as 34 objections to your proposal for a 20mph speed limit, and 28 supporters to your proposal for a 20mph speed limit.
It is worth noting that the Department of Infrastructure appears to have tried to slip this change to the speed limit of Douglas Prom through with the barest legal minimum of public consultation. Additional residents might have wished to contribute views on this issue if the Department of Infrastructure saw its role as serving the interests of the people of Mann, instead of trying to impose its will on all of us.