Tag Archives: street Design Guidance

A 5 point plan for City of Edinburgh Council to promote walking during social distancing

Introduction

It is currently impossible for pedestrians to maintain social distancing on many Edinburgh streets, which have pavements that are not wide enough.  As ‘lockdown’ measures are eased, but social distancing requirements maintained with more people on the street, it will be even more vital to increase the amount of safe space for walking. This will be a particular challenge when schools eventually re-open. Wider measures – notably to encourage cycling – will also be needed when lockdown measures are eased to ensure safe, efficient transport, with a likely reduction in the capacity of Edinburgh’s bus network. However, now more than ever, action is needed to ensure that walking’s place at the top of travel hierarchies is put into practice.

This paper focus on five immediate measures to encourage walking.   Many of these measures could be introduced at little cost while the additional £10m funding from the Scottish Government could be used to fund others, including the removal of larger, more complex structures such as the obsolete ‘real-time’ parking displays.

There are a number of resources which the Council has commissioned in recent years which contain specific suggestions to improve the walking environment on streets, such as the ‘Street Life Assessments’, ‘Street Reviews’ by Living Streets Scotland and the recent work by LSEG on ‘Tackling Street Clutter’. We recommend that these resources are revisited and used to guide immediate measures.

 

1) Pavement Widening

We want to see a programme of temporary pavement widening, focusing on high footfall streets such as ‘retail/high street’ and public transport corridors. The classification of streets in the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance provides a ready strategic framework to assist in identifying such streets. This will in places require removal of parking/loading/waiting permissions. To complement this process, the following streets have been identified as potential candidates by the LSEG Committee members and also from social media (see especially:

  • South Bridge/Nicolson Street/Clerk Street
  • Great Junction Street
  • Ferry Road
  • St Johns Road/A8
  • Queensferry Road
  • George IV Bridge
  • London Road
  • Easter Road
  • Dalry Road
  • Milton Road East
  • Lower Granton Road
  • Niddrie Mains Road
  • Raeburn Place
  • Morningside Road
  • Morrison Street
  • Captains Road
  • Liberton Road
  • Burdiehouse Road
  • Frogston Road
  • Comiston Road
  • Colinton Road

 

2) Road closures

In residential areas, many streets could be closed to through traffic, while retaining access by motor vehicles to/for residents through barriers (‘filters’). This will reduce traffic on local streets, making walking and cycling safer. This may apply particularly in residential areas (eg Oxgangs, Bingham, Lochend, Stenhouse etc).

 

3) Guardrails

Guardrails which hem in pedestrians over long stretches of pavement (for example, Slateford Road bridge) are particularly inappropriate at present. The Council already has a presumption against these features unless there is a compelling need, but Edinburgh has a legacy of many such guardrails from earlier, outdated street design philosophies. A programme of removal should be introduced immediately to accelerate the removal of inappropriate guardrails.

 

4) Decluttering

Removal of streets clutter is a ‘quick win’ to aid walking and social distancing. As with guardrails the Council already has a policy of de-cluttering which should be accelerated at the present time. This could include ‘sweeps’ of roads to remove old roadworks debris such as traffic cones, sandbags, old signs etc which litter many streets, and also removal of redundant and empty signage poles (many of which have been notified to locality teams as part of LSEG’s ‘tackling Street clutter’ project).

 

5) Signals

Traffic signals, including signalled pedestrian crossings, should be reconfigured so as to give pedestrians priority – eg immediate ‘green man’, increased crossing time, single crossing of staggered crossings, etc. This will aid walking movement and also reduce the risk of pedestrian congestion at lights, islands, etc.

Objection to RSO/20/01 – Redetermination – Braidburn Area

Living Streets Edinburgh would like to lodge a formal objection to RSO/20/01 – Redetermination – Braidburn Area

We fundamentally object to the creation of “Shared Facility” between cyclists and pedestrians, where cyclists share the same narrow space as vulnerable pedestrians.  We note that both of the narrow “Shared Facilities” sections are on downhill sections, meaning cyclists will be traveling at speeds, which would an unacceptable risk to pedestrians.

We note that the pavement on the north side of Braidburn terrace doesn’t meet the Street Design Guidance “Absolute minimum footway width” but nothing is being done to resolve the issue.

We note that this project fails to adhere to the Scottish Planning Policy movement hierarchy.

Segregated cycling space should be created, but not to the detriment of pavement users.

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.

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 Objects to Cowgate Hotel Development – 19/03174/FUL

We object to this application on the grounds of the failure to improve the pavements outside the development. Consent should only be given if there is a significant contribution by the developer through a ‘Section 75’ grant to improving them.

The problems with the current pavement are well known – it is less than one metre wide and has multiple vertical kerbs. These features mean that many pedestrians are placed in hazard by having to walk in the road (carriageway) at present, while the pavement is unusable by a person using a wheelchair. The pavement therefore needs to be widened and made level. We do not consider that it would be ‘reasonable’ (in the context of the 2010 Equality Act) if these deficiencies were not remedied as part of the development. If consent is granted without requiring these improvements, we would therefore ask the Equality and Human Rights Commission to formally investigate.

The minimum width for this pavement specified in the Council’s Street Design Guidance is 2.5 metres. To achieve this may require further traffic management measures (such as the installation of a chicane) which were recommended in the street audit conducted by Living Streets Edinburgh Group in 2016 (bit.ly/2covj3Q). This would be consistent with the proposals to make the Cowgate ‘pedestrian priority’ as part of the City Centre Transformation initiative.

We also consider that there is over-provision of hotels in the Cowgate, although this site may be more suitable for a hotel than some other developments which have already been approved.