Edinburgh, with its generally dense population and walkable distances, could be a European exemplar of a pedestrian-friendly city. But the many sensible walking-related policies of the City of Edinburgh Council too often don’t translate in practice into a safe and attractive walking environment on the streets. Motor traffic continues to dominate the vast majority of the city’s streets – yet there are clear economic, environmental and social benefits in prioritising pedestrian movement within a high-quality public realm.
Despite the many barriers to walking, 35% of journeys by Edinburgh residents are still made on foot, and the Living Streets Edinburgh Group is engaging strongly with the Council, pressing for the pedestrian environment to enjoy the kind of prioritisation given to cycling expenditure – now due to rise to 10% of the Council’s transport budget.
Our overall aim is to:
Promote walking as a safe, enjoyable and easy way of getting around Edinburgh.
To this end, we want to see:
- walking given the top priority over other forms of travel in all council transport and planning policies;
- a reduction in the volume of motorised traffic and its impact on people using the street;
- better designed and maintained pavements, road crossings and other pedestrian facilities;
- more effective and joined-up monitoring and inspection of the walking environment by CEC;
- planning policy which encourages dense, sustainable housing over car-dominated development;
- more effective implementation of pro-walking policies ‘on the ground’.
Our priorities for action in 2016-17 are to:
- campaign for increased budgets (capital and staffing) for the pedestrian environment by CEC;
- influence the annual CEC capital maintenance programme, to maximise the benefits for walkers;
- support the 20 mph initiative, effectively enforced;
- campaign for a fundamental review of CEC’s policy on ‘A-boards’ and other street clutter;
- support the development of pedestrian-friendly cycle infrastructure;
- support location-specific campaigns including George Street, Holyrood Park and the Cowgate;
- grow the number of our supporters and campaigners.