Category Archives: Public Event

What are The City of Edinburgh Council plans for city centre traffic?

What are The City of Edinburgh Council plans for city centre traffic?

What will they mean for everyday walking and wheeling?

Join us online at 12.00 on 1 March to hear a short presentation from Daisy Narayanan and join the Q&A!

Register you place here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAsc-ugrjwpEtRfWiZMru0iH5nbbZlNLzXF#/registration

Minute of Living Streets Edinburgh Annual General Meeting

Quaker Meeting House, November 14, 2022
Approximately 25 people were present.

  1. A number of apologies were recorded
  2. The Minute of LSEG AGM 2021 was approved and adopted. There were no matters arising.
  3. David Hunter noted LSEG’S significant activity of the previous year.
  4. Isobel Leckie noted that financial activity this year was minimal. The bank account balance with Bank of Scotland is £1144.36.
  5. DH outlined the current structure of the Living Streets Edinburgh Group having no formal committee structure but individuals taking responsibility for particular aspects. A requirement of Living Streets is that local groups have two named office holders. It was agreed that David Hunter and Isobel Leckie continue in respective posts as Convenor and Treasurer.
  6. Guest speaker Cllr. Arthur made the point that personal transport is about having choices and that these should focus on sustainability. Although walking is the main mode for a third of the population it arouses least public comment. He wanted to get away from an ongoing battle between cyclists and motorists. and to focus more on walking and public transport.
  7. A number of questions were raised from the floor which Cllr Arthur responded to.
  8. DH spoke to a paper indicating LSEG proposed priorities for 2023:
    – Campaign for increased budgets for the pedestrian environment (capital and staffing)
    – Secure better enforcement of controls on parking
    – Support specific local campaigns for placemaking and traffic reduction – LTNs, 20 min – Neighbourhood plans
    – Develop walk friendly- environments at and around schools
    – Influence planning policy and practice to aid walking and wheeling and reduce motor traffic
    – Grow number of our supporters and range of our campaigns.
    – DH described ways in which individuals could become involved with LSEG campaigning and encouraged anyone interested to get in touch.
  1. There was no further business and the meeting was closed.

Living Streets Edinburgh Group – Public Meeting

Living Streets Edinburgh Group
Public Meeting – 6.30pm, Monday, 14 November 2022
Friends Meeting House, Victoria Terrace

AGENDA

  • Introductions / apologies
  • Minutes of last AGM, 26 May 2021.
  • Convenor’s report.
  • Treasurer’s report.
  • Agreement of lead roles including Convener and Treasurer
  • Guest speaker: Professor Scott Arthur, Convener of Transport and Environment Committee, City of Edinburgh Council
  • Questions and Answers
  • Discussion: our priorities, campaigns, getting involved.
  • AOB.

Finish: 8.00pm

Slower Speeds, Safer Streets for Edinburgh: An Action Plan

Action Points for the City of Edinburgh Council

1  CEC  should set a ‘Vision Zero’ target of no deaths or serious injuries on its roads, within its new Road Safety Plan, with a target of 2030 for realising that vision.  (A more ambitious target than the national one is realistic in Edinburgh, where speeds are lower and road  safety problems are less diverse.)  

2   Excessive speeding is the principal source of the collisions that result in casualties. Realising this vision will require stronger and more comprehensive actions to reduce speeds on the city’s roads. Stronger measures both to enforce speed limits, and to redesign streets are essential. 

3   Maximum use should be made of both fixed and mobile speed cameras, and red light cameras for enforcement.  Suitable technology should be employed to ensure that the breaking of all speed limits (from 20 to 70 mph) can be enforced. Successful schemes on main roads using average speed cameras, such as that on Dalkeith Rd, should be rolled out across the city. But camera deployments must also be targeted by evidence of highly excessive speeds, not just by whether these have yet resulted in collisions.

4  Enforcement of 20mph limits across the city is never likely to be a priority for the police however, and CEC initiative and support will be essential. Involvement of the public and community groups, through initiatives such as ‘Speedwatch’, is vital for the identification of speeding problems and targeting of enforcement efforts on residential streets. 

5  With the necessary legal powers, the council could readily undertake enforcement actions, alongside and co-ordinated with the police, under a system analogous to that for parking offences. Lesser speeding offences should be subject to fines issued by council wardens, with evidence of more serious abuses passed on for action by the police. CEC should seek the necessary devolved powers for such an enforcement system, with the fines set to fully fund the costs of enforcement. 

6   A renewed emphasis on street redesign is needed, with the full range of traffic calming measures flexibly used wherever required. More use of soft measures such as speed indicator signs can be helpful, but they are no substitute for the hard engineering measures such as humps, cushions, and speed tables that effectively curb speeds. A single road hump on the approach to a sharp bend for example can eliminate a serious risk. Perceptions of safety are also very important for pedestrians and are an additional benefit on traffic calmed streets.

7   Raised crossings should become the norm on residential streets with 20mph limits. There should be a presumption that all new crossings, whether formal or informal, should be raised, with appropriate tactile paving, making them safer and easier to use for pedestrians.  Especially where located at the approaches to junctions the slower speeds would have additional traffic calming benefits. 

8   The current CEC safety review of major junctions is very welcome and needs to be made comprehensive. There are also still a multitude of more minor junctions with dangerous wide splay entrances that need to be redesigned. A new targeted review and investment programme is needed to systematically improve them, with tighter radii, build outs and raised entrances, as appropriate.

9   School safety plans are needed that provide for safer routes and for the safer school entrance areas that are needed at many of the city’s schools. Wider pavements should be provided that allow for the concentration of pedestrian activity these areas inevitably attract, with reduced parking and less use of guardrail.  

10   Many pavements in the city are sub-standard, and often far too narrow.  A comprehensive review and investment programme is needed to widen pavements and meet minimum design standards wherever possible. Where narrower carriageway widths result this will often also help to slow traffic speeds.

Action Points for the Scottish Government

1   ‘Vision Zero’ has strong public support, but to be realistic it requires more resources to support camera enforcement of speed limits at national and local level. Fines should be set at increased levels to ensure that finance will be available to support sufficiently comprehensive enforcement efforts, independent of the more general state of public finances.

2    Fines and license penalties should be graduated by the degree of excessive speeding involved and should be applicable to employers as well as individual drivers, where there is evidence of repeat offending.

3   Powers should be devolved to local authorities to allow them to undertake proportionate enforcement actions through wardens and levy fines for offences including speeding, red light jumping, pavement cycling and illegal use of e-scooters in co-ordination with the police. This will be vital for effective enforcement efforts where 20 mph limits apply across residential areas, with police resources and priorities necessarily being stretched.  

4   National driver and employer education campaigns should be undertaken on the consequences of speeding, aimed at making speeding as socially unacceptable as driving with excess alcohol has become.

5   More advice and resources should be made available to local authorities to support the creation of safer streets through redesign and traffic calming. There is still a massive design deficit in terms of safety, but local authority road safety budgets and teams have been severely cut over recent years. Without strong and prioritised central government support, ‘vision zero’ will remain a mirage on many local authority streets. 

Living Streets Edinburgh Group

November 2021

Slower Speeds, Safer Streets summit, October 2021

Living Streets Edinburgh Group held an online summit on ‘Slower Speeds, Safer Streets’ on 23 October 2021. Chaired by, and the brainchild of Mark Lazarowicz, former MP and Edinburgh Transport Convener, the event aimed to put the spotlight on how we can make traffic slower and streets safer, especially for pedestrians and cyclists. Some 60 people participated in lively discussion, hearing from Cllr Lesley Macinnes (Transport and Environment Convener of City of Edinburgh Council), Steven Feeney, (Head of the Scottish Safety Camera Programme, Transport Scotland), traffic expert Professor John Whitelegg and Action Zero campaigner Jeremy Leach.

Among highlights of these talks were Cllr Macinnes describing the administration’s ambitious £118 million Active Travel Programme over the next five years, while Steven Feeney described how the Safety Camera partnership works. Professor Whitelegg pointed to much more radical approaches in Sweden and Germany, which reduced road casualties and appeared to have high levels of community support and involvement.  Jeremy Leach described a lot of the detailed work to reduce traffic and traffic speeds in London, much led by Living Streets activity there.

The event also allowed representatives of political parties to comment on their approach to making streets safer. In addition to Cllr Macinnes (representing the SNP) the panel was joined by Cllr Scott Arthur (Labour), Cllr Chas Booth (Scottish Green Party) and Christine Jardine, MP for West Edinburgh (Scottish Liberal Democrats). The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party weren’t able to be represented.

Several themes attracted widespread support among participants including:

Street Design: It is not enough to set speed limits, the engineering of the road (for example, to introduce narrow traffic lanes and ‘tight’ corners at side roads) needs to be changed to ensure driver compliance.

Enforcement: there is a widespread perception that 20 mph limits, while welcome, are widely broken; the traffic camera regime especially faced criticism for the number of ‘bagged’ cameras and inability of fixed cameras to be used in 20mph zones.  There was a lot of scepticism that the national Scottish approach to deciding when and where to locate cameras (based on average speeds) was appropriate as this can mean tolerating significant levels of speeding traffic.

Budgets: The meeting was told that across Scotland, the Safety Camera Partnership had an annual budget across Scotland of £5 million; a proportion which was widely felt to be out of kilter with Transport Scotland’s overall £2.5 billion budget. Locally, residents report being told that road changes can’t be made because of council budget constraints.

Community Speedwatch: there was significant interest in – and support for – communities being involved in measuring and enforcing speed limits; in promoting awareness (eg through stickers on wheely bins) and in being involved in decisions on where to deploy speed cameras.

Cycle infrastructure: there was significant support for providing segregated cycle infrastructure as part of safer street environments.

Technology: there were a number of interesting ideas about the use of new technology to achieve safer streets, for example, the potential for more use of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) to control and limit the speed of council vehicles, buses and taxis; or to deter ‘rat running’ behaviour (eg to avoid speed camera or through satnavs).

The meeting concluded with lots of positive feedback from participants and speakers alike, and thanks were expressed to Living Streets Edinburgh Group for organising the event. LSEG is preparing an ‘Action Plan’ to reduce speeding and traffic danger and this event will help to inform it. Hopefully, it will also influence the City of Edinburgh Council’s next statutory Road Safety Plan, the last one (2010-20) having expired. Of course,  time will tell how these aspirations, ideas and plans will translate into action to make streets safe from traffic danger.

You can view the presentations here

Deterring speeding – enforcement and compliance; Empowering individuals and community groups with data

Slower speeds…safer streets

Safety Camera Presentation – Current programme and future plans in Scotland