Category Archives: News

Party Manifestos Edinburgh: 2017 Council Elections

Our analysis of all the parties’ manifestos for the recent elections (see below) shows that there is much common ground on the need to improve conditions for walking in Edinburgh, as a key means of improving the health, environment, economy of the city.

Edinburgh has inherited – from the vision of politicians and planners hundreds of years ago – a compact pattern of development which still lends itself to walking, but that is not enough for the 21st century. We urge Councillors of all parties to work pro-actively together to deliver the transformation of the car-dominated public realm which Edinburgh residents and visitors deserve.

Labour:

Poor air quality presents a significant challenge to young and old, and broken surfaces on pavements and roads affect us all, whether walking, driving or cycling.

Create a dedicated ‘Budget for Walking’ to be used, for example to install more pedestrian crossings, more drop kerbs and increase the number of paths and pedestrian zones.

Make significant progress towards making our city ‘barrier free’ by improving accessibility to buildings, and making streets and pavements suitable for people with disabilities.

 

SNP:

 …ensuring Edinburgh remains a walkable city where the needs of pedestrians are central to how our streets are designed.

We will invest £100m over the next five years to fix our roads and pavements.

We will tackle pavement obstructions and further reduce street clutter. We will tackle parking at drop kerbs and parking on pavements as soon as we have the powers to do so and conduct a wide-ranging review on access issues for people with disabilities.

Utility companies continually digging up our roads and pavements can inflict damage to our infrastructure, increase traffic pressure and cause chaos in our communities. We will explore the introduction of a rent charge for utility companies to prevent such disruption.

 

Green:

 …create safe and attractive routes for cyclists and walkers

Review and set a target to significantly increase the current 58% share of people walking, cycling or using public transport to commute;

Introduce a number of days where public transport, cycling and walking are given priority

Make it easier and more attractive for people to choose walking and cycling

We back more money for well-managed services which improve day to day life: streets free of litter and dog-fouling; bin collections which are on time; and well-maintained pavements, cycle-paths and roads.

Tackle the state of roads and pavements by putting in place a Roads Inquiry and Action Plan with three priorities:

  1. Prevent (reducing large trucks and pavement mounting);
            1. Manage (better co-ordination of utilities’ road works and improving roads team customer service);
  2. Invest (push for the Scottish Government to switch money from high-profile “prestige” projects and towards maintenance and repair).

 

Conservative:

 Improve the condition of Edinburgh’s roads, paths and pavements for all.

Create an Edinburgh Index, published annually or more frequently, showing an assessment of road, path and pavement conditions…

Increase targeted provision for pedestrians such as safe school zones, pedestrian zones and addressing casualty blackspots.

 

Liberal Democrat:

 Pavements are in an equally dangerous state [to roads]

We want to make it easier for people to get around our great city, whether by walking, cycling, getting around by public transport and using the car where appropriate. It means ensuring the city is accessible for all, regardless of physical or sensory ability. Liberal Democrats will work with others to ensure the city improves the experience of people who walk in the city.

…will maintain the walking and cycling element of our transport budget at 10% {I pointed out to their transport spokesperson months ago that the 10% is all for cycling!]

…encourage more people to cycle and to do so considerately, especially where space is shared with pedestrians.

…we will focus on repairing potholes in the city and deteriorating pavements. 

Pedestrian Group Hits Out At New Edinburgh Danger

New building works by Edinburgh’s busy Morrison Street are a danger to pedestrians, says the campaigning group Living Streets [1]. As part of work on a new retail and office development on the old Morrison Street goods yard, the City of Edinburgh Council has closed the pavement on the south side of Morrison Street, forcing people on foot to make five separate pedestrian crossings rather than two previously.

Pedestrians are already using a short-cut along the narrowed vehicle carriageway [2, for photos below], and Living Streets has urged the Council [3] to provide a temporary pavement on the south side of Morrison Street ‘before an accident happens’. Noting that Morrison Street is ‘one of the busiest peak-time pedestrian thoroughfares in the city’, the group say they have raised problems like this across the city many times over the years, and are frustrated that ‘pedestrians remain resolutely at the bottom of the Council’s transport priority list.’ The Convenor of Living Streets Edinburgh Group, David Spaven, commented:

‘We have lost count of the number of times we have had to raise with the City Council the problems caused for pedestrians by building works and road works – and the situation is even worse for folk with disabilities. Vehicles are routinely given priority during temporary reconfiguration of the streets, with the convenience and safety of the pedestrian – the most vulnerable street user – left as a complete after-thought. We can only conclude that there is something fundamentally wrong at the heart of the Council’s management. We also consider that the failure to provide adequate crossing facilities for disabled people is a breach of legal obligations.’

Living Streets have also commented in their letter to the Council that:

‘To add long-term insult to short-term injury, we understand that the pedestrian crossing of Dalry Road, just left of the junction with Morrison Street (which currently lies on the ‘desire line’ for pedestrians heading from [Haymarket] station to Morrison Street) is to be shifted southwards to the narrow pavement adjacent to the gable end of Ryrie’s pub, because the Morrison Street developer wants to maximise footfall through the retail development. This is the private profit tail wagging the public interest dog.’

The campaign group have urged action on both fronts from the Council, asking it to (i) install a temporary pavement on the south side of the remaining Morrison Street carriageway, and (ii) to revisit the ‘crass’ decision to relocate the Dalry Road pedestrian crossing.

MORE INFO: David Spaven on 0131-447-7764 / 07917-877399

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

 [1] Living Streets Edinburgh is the local voluntary arm of the national charity which campaigns for better conditions for ‘everyday’ walking.

[2] See photos below email below to Cllrs Hinds and McVey, Convener and Vice-Convener of the Transport and Environment Committee.

[3] Living Streets Edinburgh 07/02/2017 message to Cllr Hinds and McVey – headed ‘YET MORE INCONVENIENCE AND DANGER FOR EDINBURGH PEDESTRIANS’ – and copied to other Transport and Environment Committee councillors, and local councillors, is below:

 

Cllr Hinds / Cllr McVey

Yet again, Living Streets has to report new building works in Edinburgh which are causing inconvenience and danger to the pedestrian – the most vulnerable street user. The latest example is on Morrison Street – one of the busiest peak-time pedestrian thoroughfares in the city (leading to and from Haymarket station) – where the pavement on the south side has been entirely removed as part of the adjacent retail and office development works. The diversionary route involves five separate pedestrian crossings rather than two, unless of course people risk life and limb by walking on the carriageway, as they have done in a couple of the photos below. We also consider that the failure to provide adequate crossing facilities for disabled people is a breach of legal obligations.

We have raised this kind of problem with the City Council many times over recent years, but it would appear that pedestrians remain resolutely at the bottom of the Council’s transport priority list. The Council had to approve the Section 59 Traffic Management Plan which goes with the building development permit, and we assume that this incorporated a temporary pavement for the major pedestrian flow on the south side of the street. If not, it clearly should have done.

To add long-term insult to short-term injury, we understand that the pedestrian crossing of Dalry Road, just left of the junction with Morrison Street (which currently lies on the ‘desire line’ for pedestrians heading from the station to Morrison Street) is to be shifted southwards, by the narrow pavement adjacent to the gable end of Ryrie’s pub, because the Morrison Street developer wants to maximise footfall through the retail development. This is the private profit tail wagging the public interest dog.

Can you supply us with a copy of the approved Traffic Management Plan as agreed as part of the Section 59 permit process? Before an accident happens, can you also please arrange for installation of a temporary pavement on the south side of the remaining Morrison Street carriageway? And can you revisit the crass decision to relocate the Dalry Road pedestrian crossing?

In view of our continuing frustration with the Council’s evident inability to change course on pedestrian priority, we are copying this correspondence directly to the Edinburgh Evening News and STV.

Regards

David Spaven

Convenor, Living Streets Edinburgh Group

 Photos of Morrison Street, looking towards Haymarket, taken 07/02/2017 (off-peak):

 

Annual Public Meeting – Tuesday 28 June

LSE-AGM-2016

Living Streets Edinburgh Annual Public Meeting

Tuesday 28 June from 6pm – 8pm
Registration, tea and coffee from 5:40pm

Friends’ Meeting House, Victoria Terrace
Enter from George 4th Bridge. Lothian Bus 23, 27, 41, 42

Delivering World Class Streets for Edinburgh: The Next Steps

Agenda

Welcome – David Spaven, Convenor Living Streets Edinburgh

Tollcross Street Audit: results and next steps – David Hunter, Living Streets Edinburgh

Walking: The National Situation – Stuart Hay, Director Living Streets Scotland

Improving Edinburgh’s public realm: challenges and opportunities – Paul Lawrence, Executive Director of Place, City of Edinburgh Council

Campaigning Workshops
A World Class Edinburgh: big asks for Council Elections 2017
Action at street level: how to declutter Edinburgh’s streets

Plenary and summing up

 

 

Briefing: The way forward for George Street

In October 2015 Living streets Edinburgh responded to the local Councils request for comments on the future plans for George Street.

The full response can be found here

The briefing sets out the views of Living Streets Scotland and Living Streets Edinburgh (the local campaign group) on the future of George Street and the scope to restore it to its rightful place as one of the capital’s and Scotland’s finest streets. It summarises 10 principles that we believe will allow Edinburgh to match and compete with other similar north European capital cities, with principal streets that offer a high quality experience to visitors and residents.

Achieving the vision

  • Recognize that George Street is an internationally important asset
  • Redress the chronic lack of high-quality urban space in Edinburgh
  • More people – not more parking – is the key to George Street’s future success
  • Create fully pedestrianised European style spaces
  • George Street is not a transport artery, so prioritise place over movement
  • Quality materials are not enough to deliver a quality street
  • Shared space must protect vulnerable users and restrain vehicle speeds
  • George Street must be at the heart of a lively, sociable walkable New Town
  • Proactively manage and regulate the new street from the outset
  • Edinburgh must not fail again

 

The opportunity must be taken to demonstrate Edinburgh’s streetscape can match its world-class architecture. 

 

 

Princes Street – lengthy pedestrian crossing wait times

Princes Street is the heart of Edinburgh and its busiest street for people on foot. But pedestrians get a very raw deal as they proceed along the street.  We have recorded video footage of this junction in September 2015 and found that it can take to FOUR MINUTES 22 SECONDS for people to wait for the green man phase to cross just the Frederick Street junction. This is an unacceptable wait time for people on foot and not only leads to delays for the great number of people on foot but is dangerous as some people will inevitably seek to cross before the ‘green man’ phase comes on, resulting in frequent ‘near misses’.

The problem lies with the timing of the traffic signals. According to council policy, “absolute priority” is given to trams; this has had a knock-on effect of increasing the time that pedestrians have to wait to cross the roads which join Princes Street. However, the Council has responded to our concerns by tweaking the signal timings and we understand that pedestrian wait times have reduced recently. We will make more video recordings in the future, so that the pedestrian experience and actual wait times can be accurately documented and monitored. We also want to ensure that, should trams be extended to Leith or Newhaven in the future, there is no detriment to the pedestrian experience on any other part of the tram route.