Notes of Living Streets Edinburgh Group Annual Public Meeting, Friends Meeting House, Edinburgh, 7.45pm, 11 October 2018
- Convenor’s welcome and report
David Spaven welcomed supporters to the meeting and summarised the Group’s activity over the past year. A number of achievements and welcome developments included:
- The Council agreeing to a complete ban on ‘A-boards’ (from 5 November)
- Progress on the ‘Festival Streets’ campaign, to make more car-free streets in the Festival, with the partial closure of Cockburn Street, and the prospect of wider closures in 2019
- Encouraging signs that routine maintenance works will introduce significant walking improvements (Signals team design for the Lothian Road/Morrison St junction)
- We’ve produced a ’10-point plan’ to influence the City Centre Transformation initiative
- collaboration with Spokes on planning and transport schemes, including the importance of providing separate (not shared) walking and cycling space.
On the other hand, there had been some disappointments:
- The Picardy Place/Leith Street debacle
- Failure to widen pavements significantly in major works on South Bridge/Nicolson St
- endless cycle consultations, almost always involving some shared cycle/walk space (although also usually with some walking improvements)
- the review of walking and cycling safety on the current tram route ignored walking entirely
- continued planning approvals of traffic-generating sites, over-provision of parking etc.
Looking to the year ahead, David highlighted some key LSEG priorities as to:
- monitor the implementation of the A-board ban
- press for more car-free Festival Streets
- have a ‘Walking Champion’ appointed by the Council
- press for more progress in implementing the Active Travel Action Plan
- contribute to the City Centre Transformation Initiative.
David then introduced and welcomed Daisy Narayanan, who has been seconded from Sustrans to lead the City Centre Transformation Initiative.
- Daisy Narayanan presentation
Daisy spoke about the vision for the project, which brought together a range of complex projects and initiatives, all at different stages. The aim was to provide a coherent vision to guide the development of the city centre across all parties and professional disciplines. The initiative will also embrace development of the Low Emission Zone and the City Mobility Plan (transport strategy). The starting point was that with a growing city (at least 100,000 more people by 2040) the status quo is not an option in terms of how people, goods and services function and move about the city. Daisy emphasised the importance of walking (No.1 of 15 issues) and of equality and inclusion, so that no one was excluded from being able to enjoy and participate in the city’s life.
Daisy took a number of questions from the floor including on the challenges that she faced and on whether planning policy was sufficiently joined up with the emerging vision.
- Workshop sessions
The meeting then broke into three informal groups to look at three issues that were part of the City Centre Transformation challenge: Accessibility, Strategic Walking Routes and a Walkable City. Points noted included the need:
- for better understanding of pedestrian movements, including data on where people walk
- to focus scarce resources on street improvements (wider pavements, easier road crossings, decluttering, pedestrianisation, tree planting etc) on busy walking streets
- to maintain and manage improved streets and public spaces.
David Spaven closed the meeting by thanking everyone for their participation and promised that a note of the meeting would be sent to everyone who had left their contact details.