Category Archives: Press Release

LSE responds to Transport Scotland consultation on potential exemptions to the ban on pavement parking

The consultation is open until 11 March 2022: be sure to have your say! bit.ly/3FL6wTT 

Neither of the proposed grounds for exemption are acceptable: no streets should be exempt from the ban on pavement parking. This is for the following reasons:

  • as a matter of principle, “pavements are for people”, not vehicles. The interests of pedestrians, and especially disabled pedestrians, should be paramount.
  • pavement parking damages footways which are not generally designed to carry the weight of a motor vehicle.
  • restrictions on parking are one of the main tools at the disposal of a local authority to achieve environmental and social goals such as the targets for reducing car travel by 2030 (20% nationally, 30% in Edinburgh).
  • any exemption will leave a council powerless to intervene should a pavement be obstructed, even if it appears that the pavement is wide enough to accommodate pavement parking.
  • if a street is too narrow for a fire engine or other emergency vehicle to pass, then parking should be banned altogether.
  • The implementation of exemptions would involve a range of legal orders, installation of signage etc. which would be an unwelcome additional burden on council responsibilities and budgets, and also add to pavement clutter.
  • A ’zero-exemption’ policy would permit quicker implementation of the ban.

Councils should instead focus enforcement resources where they are needed most but always retaining, for all streets, the powers to intervene should it be necessary. We know that Police Scotland will not respond to reports of footway obstructions so the new powers for local authorities must not be given up. Councils should also start conversations as soon as possible with communities which will be most affected (ie in the many streets where pavement parking is currently common) in order to help residents understand the action that they will need to take when the ban comes into effect.

CAMPAIGNERS SLAM ‘HOPELESS’ LEITH WALK PAVEMENTS

Campaigners for better walking in Edinburgh have slammed the plan for pavements alongside the tram on Leith Walk as ‘hopeless’. It has emerged that the pavements, which are being rebuilt as part of the tram works, will be so narrow that in many places they don’t even meet the council’s own standards for minimum width. The campaigners have been told that over 250 metres of footway,  in 11 different sections, will be below this minimum – in one place (just north of the Pilrig Street junction) as little as 1.8 metres wide.

David Hunter, Convenor of Living Streets Edinburgh Group said: “We’re incredibly disappointed to learn of the hopeless final design for many sections of Leith Walk’s pavements.  These pavements should be at least 3 metres wide, with a stipulated minimum of 2.5 metres.  As the main link between Edinburgh and Leith, and an important local street in its own right, Leith Walk needs quality pedestrian space. We are big supporters of the tram project, and welcome the benefits it will bring to people walking in other places. But having engaged with the tram team regularly over the past two years, it’s a bombshell to hear – right at the point of construction – just how poor the the street will be for pedestrians.

This is frankly unacceptable and at odds with the repeated claims that “walking and wheeling” are top of the ‘Sustainable Travel Hierarchy’, both in Edinburgh and in Scotland as a whole. Even at this, the eleventh hour, we’re calling on the council to revisit the plans to give pedestrians the space they need.”

COUNCIL SLATED FOR CREATING OVER 1,000 NEW CITY CENTRE PARKING SPACES

It has been revealed that the City of Edinburgh Council is planning to boost city-centre car-parking spaces by 12%, despite the local authority’s supposed aspiration to cut traffic levels across Edinburgh. The local walking campaign, Living Streets Edinburgh Group [1], has discovered through a Freedom of Information request by one of its members [2] that the Council plans to introduce 1,206 more parking spaces on city centre streets. The campaigners say that this will undermine confidence in the ability to deliver a safer, cleaner city, its Convenor, Don McKee, commenting:

 ‘We’ve been strongly supportive of the Council’s visionary plans for a more walking-friendly city centre. But this revelation – adding the equivalent of 5.5 kilometres of car parking space on our streets – is either breathtakingly hypocritical or it suggests that the Council’s left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is trying to do.’

‘Extra parking takes valuable public space away from walking, cycling and buses – and it means more traffic on the roads, directly conflicting with the Council’s stated vision. Yet walking is designated as the top priority in the Scottish Government’s planning policies [3]. It’s time for the Council to properly recognise this in its programmes and projects for the city. ‘Business as usual’ – with the car as king – is simply not an option when we’re trying to tackle the climate emergency.’

Analysis of the FoI reply indicates that parking spaces in some streets will be boosted far beyond the 12% average – examples being Grove Street (30%), Mayfield Terrace (34%) and Blenheim Place (38%). Full street-by-street details can be found here: http://bit.ly/3bm3yq3

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

[1] Living Streets Edinburgh Group is the local volunteer arm of Living Streets, the national charity for ‘everyday walking’, see: http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk

[2] The Freedom of Information request asked, in relation to Traffic Regulation Order TRO19/29 for detail of (i) number of parking spaces added and removed per street, and (ii) distance in meters of parking space added and removed per street. See: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/traffic_regulation_order_tro1929?nocache=incoming-1511839#incoming-1511839

[3] Paragraph 273 of ‘Scottish Planning Policy’ states that: ‘Plans should identify active travel networks and promote opportunities for travel by more sustainable modes in the following order of priority: walking, cycling, public transport, cars. The aim is to promote development which maximises the extent to which its travel demands are met first through walking, then cycling, then public transport and finally through use of private cars.’ See: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-planning-policy/

END OF RELEASE

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