Council Transport Delivery ‘Seriously Imbalanced’ Against Pedestrians

The City of Edinburgh Council is paying ‘lip service’ to the importance of walking in its transport policies, while doing  very little in practice to make Edinburgh more walking friendly, says the city’s pedestrian campaign group, Living Streets Edinburgh [1]. The group says it is ‘shocked’ that out of 44 Active Travel projects being developed by the Council in 2017-18, only seven are for walking, compared to 37 for cycling [2]. In a letter to the Transport spokespersons for each political group on the Council, Living Streets says:

‘We have also seen over recent months other evidence of the low priority given to walking in practice, despite the lip service often given to it by the Council. During the recent icy weather, a common sight all across the city was pedestrians walking in the road because un-gritted pavements were too dangerous to walk on. We also see dozens of cycle parking racks being installed on city pavements despite the Council’s commitment in its own business plan to reduce pavement clutter’

 The Group’s Convenor, David Spaven, commented:

‘Walking is universal – pretty much everyone is a pedestrian across all ages, areas and backgrounds. In contrast, only a minority of the population cycle – and yet the overwhelming effort on Active Travel is clearly being directed to cycling. We would not want these remarks to be interpreted as a lack of support for the Council’s efforts to increase cycling – we strongly support measures to make cycling more attractive, especially where this will reduce motor traffic, and so long as they do not have adverse effects on walking. However, it is becoming increasingly clear to us that the Council’s priorities within Active Travel are seriously imbalanced. The Council is making significant progress in making Edinburgh more cycle-friendly, while it is doing very little to make it more walking-friendly.’ 

The letter from Living Streets to Councillors concludes that ‘a fundamental re-appraisal is now required of how Active Travel budgets and staff time are spent, so that there is a real and significant increase in the Council’s investment in walking.’



 [1]  Living Streets Edinburgh Group is the local volunteer arm of the national charity campaigning for ‘everyday’ walking. See:

[2] City of Edinburgh Council Active Travel programme table for 2017-18 is attached.


 2017-08-25 Active Travel Programme 2017-2018 Summary for Forum