All posts by Living Streets Edinburgh

Objection to TRO/19/50 – One Way – Braidburn Crescent and Braidburn Terrace

This is to register a formal objection to traffic order TRO/19/50, as it is still currently advertised, on behalf of the Living Streets Edinburgh Group. Our objection is to the Braidburn Terrace proposals as drafted, which prioritise cycling and  parking provision over even the most basic standards for pedestrians. This is despite of the stated policy priorities of both the Scottish Government and CEC to place walking at the top of the priorities list for modes of travel. It is therefore in direct conflict with Council policy, and with the Sustainable Transport Hierarchy as now embeded within the Scottish Transport Strategy (NTS2,Feb. 2020)

We would support the proposal for Braidburn Terrace to become one-way for vehicular traffic, but only if the use of the extra space made available from the carriageway is devoted to a package of improvements that includes pavement widening, and junction designs with crossing facilities that favour pedestrians.

Specifically we object to the failure to upgrade the pavement width along the north side of Braidburn Terrace to an absolute minimum of 2 metres, as specified in the CEC’s own Street Design Guidance.  We also object to the failure to provide raised crossing facilities at the entrances to and from Braidburn Terrace that are aligned with pedestrian desire lines and define adequate priority for pedestrians over cyclists. We further object to the extent of the proposed shared space facilities for pedestrians with cyclists, and in particular to the proposals along Braid Road.

We understand that revised proposals have already been prepared, and assume that these will be advertised in due course, once the current emergency lockdown conditions are lifted and life and CEC business can return to something more normal. We look forward to being able to input comments on these revised proposals.

COUNCIL SLATED FOR CREATING OVER 1,000 NEW CITY CENTRE PARKING SPACES

It has been revealed that the City of Edinburgh Council is planning to boost city-centre car-parking spaces by 12%, despite the local authority’s supposed aspiration to cut traffic levels across Edinburgh. The local walking campaign, Living Streets Edinburgh Group [1], has discovered through a Freedom of Information request by one of its members [2] that the Council plans to introduce 1,206 more parking spaces on city centre streets. The campaigners say that this will undermine confidence in the ability to deliver a safer, cleaner city, its Convenor, Don McKee, commenting:

 ‘We’ve been strongly supportive of the Council’s visionary plans for a more walking-friendly city centre. But this revelation – adding the equivalent of 5.5 kilometres of car parking space on our streets – is either breathtakingly hypocritical or it suggests that the Council’s left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is trying to do.’

‘Extra parking takes valuable public space away from walking, cycling and buses – and it means more traffic on the roads, directly conflicting with the Council’s stated vision. Yet walking is designated as the top priority in the Scottish Government’s planning policies [3]. It’s time for the Council to properly recognise this in its programmes and projects for the city. ‘Business as usual’ – with the car as king – is simply not an option when we’re trying to tackle the climate emergency.’

Analysis of the FoI reply indicates that parking spaces in some streets will be boosted far beyond the 12% average – examples being Grove Street (30%), Mayfield Terrace (34%) and Blenheim Place (38%). Full street-by-street details can be found here: http://bit.ly/3bm3yq3

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

[1] Living Streets Edinburgh Group is the local volunteer arm of Living Streets, the national charity for ‘everyday walking’, see: http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk

[2] The Freedom of Information request asked, in relation to Traffic Regulation Order TRO19/29 for detail of (i) number of parking spaces added and removed per street, and (ii) distance in meters of parking space added and removed per street. See: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/traffic_regulation_order_tro1929?nocache=incoming-1511839#incoming-1511839

[3] Paragraph 273 of ‘Scottish Planning Policy’ states that: ‘Plans should identify active travel networks and promote opportunities for travel by more sustainable modes in the following order of priority: walking, cycling, public transport, cars. The aim is to promote development which maximises the extent to which its travel demands are met first through walking, then cycling, then public transport and finally through use of private cars.’ See: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-planning-policy/

END OF RELEASE

Living Streets Edinburgh’s AGM and Public Meeting 18 February 2020

Living Streets Edinburgh Group wants everyone to be able to enjoy walking around our city in comfort without having to worry about streets dominated by motorised traffic and air pollution. Cities all over the UK and the world are working to this end. Come along, and hear more at our AGM and public meeting 18 Feb 18.45pm, Quaker Meeting House. You’ll be most welcome!!

After a short AGM , Will Garrett, CEC Spatial Policy Manager, will address The City of Edinburgh Mobility Plan, open soon for consultation. Cllr Maureen Child will speak about Active Travel and her role as CEC Active Travel Champion. Doors open, tea and coffee from 18.30pm.

We look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

WALKING CAMPAIGN CALLS FOR MORE ACTION ON STREET CLUTTER AFTER A-BOARD BAN SUCCESS

Following the success [1] of the City of Edinburgh Council’s ban on pavement advertising boards (A-boards), the local walking campaign has called for further action to clear the city’s pavements of clutter. Living Streets Edinburgh Group [2], which campaigned for years for the Council to tackle the A-board problem, says further measures are needed to build on the A-board action to create safe, obstruction-free pavements across the city. David Hunter of Living Streets Edinburgh commented:

“ ‘A-board’ clutter had become a significant problem on many Edinburgh streets, especially because so many pavements aren’t wide enough. The ban has made it easier, safer and more enjoyable to walk in many local streets across the city. But there are still far too many obstructions on pavements: waste bins need to be sensibly sited, roadworks signs managed properly and unnecessary signage poles removed. All pavements should have an absolute minimum ‘clear zone’ of 1.5 metres for pedestrians as laid down in the Council’s own Street Design Guidance [3]. And in residential areas, hedges are too often allowed to grow over pavements, obstructing safe passage by pedestrians.”

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

 1.      A report on the success of the A-board ban is to be discussed at the City Council’s Transport & Environment Committee on Thursday 5th December.

2.      Living Streets Edinburgh Group (LSEG) is the local voluntary branch of Living Streets, the national charity promoting ‘everyday walking’: http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/

3.      Edinburgh Street Design Guidance is at http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/file/11626/p3_-_footways_-_version_11

 

LSE Comments on ‘Summertime Streets’ 2019

 Living Streets Edinburgh Group (LSEG) strongly supports the concept of ‘summertime streets’; ie closing streets to motor traffic during the festival to create more space for people to walk in safety to enjoy Edinburgh, its sights, shows, shops, bars etc and to make a better environment for local residents. LSEG first called for such measures in 2015: https://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/2015/11/16/car-free-edinburgh-for-festival-for-2016/. We have the following observations to make on specific locations.

 

Cockburn Street, Victoria Street

 These streets were well stewarded and in our view worked best. However, we are not clear why there were so many cars parked in Cockburn Street in particular. The ugly metal barriers used block off the streets to vehicles should be replaced by ones which are more ‘people-friendly’ and show clearly that walking is permitted (and indeed encouraged!)

 

Candlemaker Row

Our feedback was generally positive on this street. However, many tour coaches ignored the ban with apparent impunity and this requires better management.

 

Cowgate

Summertime Streets was not a success in the Cowgate. As was amply demonstrated on social media, the ban on motor traffic was completely ignored by many drivers, including licensed private hire cars and taxis. There was usually little if any staff present to manage the restrictions. Pavement parking was rife (as in previous years) and the police appeared to show no appetite to deal with the frequent ‘moving vehicle offences’. The restrictions in our view should start from 12.00 midday or 14.00, with all servicing of bars, restaurants etc taking place before then. Appropriate access to courts, the mortuary etc could be provided through special arrangements, use of Guthrie Street etc.

 

Lawnmarket

This was also unsatisfactory. Taxis and many tourist coaches use the roundabout at the foot of Castle Hill to turn, completely undermining the ‘car-free’ environment of the Lawnmarket. Stewards, who had the difficult job of managing this conflict, were frequently observed shouting at pedestrians to get out of the way of vehicles. Vehicles should therefore be banned entirely from Johnston Terrace during the traffic restriction period.

 

High Street/South Bridge

 We were pleased to see barriers providing wider walking space on the west side of South Bridge near the Tron – a high-risk space for pedestrians. We note the problems reported by residents about diversion of bus routes on the Canongate and would not object to buses (but not general traffic, including taxis) continuing to use the street during the festival. At the other end of the High Street, the police appeared to be prioritising vehicles exiting from St Giles Street over pedestrians – this section of the High Street (to Bank St/George IV St) needs to be improved. There should be no vehicle access to Parliament Square during the festival, allowing this grossly under-valued space to be better used by people on foot.

 

Conclusions

We welcome the Council’s introduction of traffic restrictions in 2019. However, we want to see the idea improved and extended in 2020 particularly by:

  • extending the hours of traffic closures;
  • extending the traffic closures to more streets; and
  • improving enforcement/staffing of traffic restrictions.