Living Streets Edinburgh Group (LSEG) is the local voluntary arm of the national charity, Living Streets, which campaigns for better conditions for ‘everyday walking’. In LSEG our key aim is to promote walking (including “wheeling” (on wheelchairs) and similar pedestrian mobility) as a safe, easy and enjoyable way of getting around the city.
Walking is unambiguously top of both the ‘movement hierarchy’ as laid down in Scottish Planning Policy and the ‘Sustainable Travel Hierarchy’ in the new National Transport Strategy. However, while lip service is often paid to the theoretical primacy of walking, it is rarely put into practice. For Living Streets Edinburgh the principal aim of the City Mobility Plan should be to ensure that walking priority is delivered on the streets. Regrettably, the draft plan makes no mention whatsoever of the movement hierarchy or the Sustainable Travel Hierarchy – this is an unforgiveable omission, which must bring into question the Council’s commitment to everyday walking.
Walking is also by far the most common and universal travel mode, forming an essential part of many journey chains by bus, train, car, bike etc, as well as ‘walk-only’ journeys – and therefore is drastically under-reported in many official statistics which focus only on ‘main mode’.
We welcome the vision of making Edinburgh far less dependent on motor vehicles and to make streets much more people-friendly. We also commend the Council for its leadership in starting and pursuing the public debate about future mobility in the city, as we cannot go on as we are.
However, the Draft City Mobility Plan appears to be more a statement of largely welcome intentions, rather than a delivery plan. It does not indicate the resources, capacity and skills needed to deliver it, or how these will be acquired.
The Plan does not give sufficient emphasis to the need to promote ‘everyday walking’ by improving pedestrian infrastructure across Edinburgh – in the centre, in ‘town centres’ across the city, and in residential areas. The Plan is misguided in its ill-thought-out approach to buses.
We would like to see the final Plan, to be approved by the Council later this year, take account of our comments, and to focus much more on practical measures, such as widening pavements and enforcing traffic and parking rules, and less on aspirational but wooly visions.
You can read the full response here – Living Streets Edinburgh response to Draft City Mobility Plan