This paper supplements the ‘5 Point Plan’ we produced on 7 May 2020, outlining steps we’d like to see to make walking attractive, safe and accessible during the Coronavrus crisis and its aftermath. It should be read in conjunction with that Plan: http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/2020/05/09/a-5-point-plan-for-city-of-edinburgh-council-to-promote-walking-during-social-distancing/
We want to see early implementation of the measures outlined in the Council Report and amendment approved on 14 May, especially those which focus most on walking improvements: widening pavements, improving crossings, etc https://democracy.edinburgh.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=135&MId=5511&Ver=4.
This paper adds to the suggestions in the ‘5 Point Plan’ following further feedback and highlights some specific locations we’d like to see given early and urgent attention to. Living Streets Edinburgh Group is keen to contribute ideas on how Edinburgh should respond, in line with council decisions of 14 May.
2) Pavement Widening
In addition to those already suggested, we want to see consideration given to widening pavements in all of Edinburgh’s ‘town centres’. These are now experiencing queuing on pavements as more shops open and often leave insufficient space for people walking. Key public transport routes (notably at Waverley and Haymarket) should also be given priority. Other streets which should be widened include Broughton Street and Balgreen Rpad.
3) Road closures
Our ‘five point plan’ suggested closing many residential roads through barriers (‘filters’, which allow people to walk or cycle through) – rather than by banning motor traffic completely, (as at Silverknowes Road, Braid Road etc). We would like to see a response to this suggestion which could transform many neighbourhoods.
We don’t support the plan to close Viewforth (canal section) to motor traffic, owing to the impact this will have on Yeaman Place, a busy pedestrian street (outside of school times) which is full or parked cars and lacking in any kind of pedestrian crossing facilities. We would prefer to see Yeaman Place itself closed; or at least with mitigation measures such as formal pedestrian crossings introduced.
We want to see the council to show some urgency re-opening the established right of way at Holy Corner, Bruntsfield/Morningside (McLaren’s pub, the former Bank of Scotland). Signature pubs have illegally blocked this Right of Way for over six months and yet the council has taken no enforcement action, despite the added need for social distancing on the busy, narrow pavement.
We welcome the council’s plans to start removing some guardrails as part of temporary cycle schemes (such as Crewe Road South, Old Dalkeith Road). Guardrail removal should not be solely as part of cycle schemes but should also be undertaken where it has particularly adverse impacts on walking. There are numerous suggestions for guardrail removal in the ‘Tackling Pavement Clutter’ reports sent to Locality Roads Managers in 2019. Other specific locations we want to see guardrails removed are:
- Morrison Street / Gardners Cres (with associated widened footway). Also north side of Morrison Street, east of Dewar Place.
- Slateford Road between Ashley Terrace and Robertson Ave (with associated widened footway).
- Roseburn Street under rail bridge (with associated widened footway).
- Murrayburn Road (West of Hailsland Road).
- Polwarth (at roundabout).
- Colinton Mains Road (at Tesco roundabout)
- West Port (North side).
Many LS supporters have asked for more enforcement of traffic laws, especially speeding (a police matter). Parking enforcement is also going to become even more important to ensure that temporary pavements and cycle lanes are not compromised by illegal parking, loading or waiting. We suggest that a zero tolerance approach is take to such infringements (ie removing any ‘grace period’) so that motorists quickly understand that new traffic restrictions will be enforced rigorously.
In some areas, traffic calming should be introduced. In recent years, there has been too little focus on engineering measures to support compliance with speed limits and we would like to see measures introduced in speeding problem areas.
Although it appears that schools will not generally begin to open until mid-August, we want to see early planning for school re-opening. Measures that should be considered include:
- extension of the Council’s ‘School Streets’ initiative to ban cars from near the entrances to more schools;
- engagement with Police Scotland to ensure that a degree of police presence is available to achieve effective enforcement of traffic laws;
- very clear and early messaging to parents encouraging children to walk, scoot, wheel or cycle. Car drop-off’s should be explicitly discouraged, and not permitted in the vicinity of school gates.
7) Other measures
We have not yet seen any response to our request for removal of street clutter as 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.
We want to see public campaigns by the council asking residents to cut back hedges which block pavements and are illegal. Many residents probably do not realise this, or the problems that encroaching vegetation can cause. The council should also take enforcement measures itself, recovering costs where voluntary compliance cannot be achieved. Due regard should be given to protecting wildlife and nesting birds in particular.
We want to see urgent improvements for people to cross the road, especially in reducing ‘wait times’ for the green man. We look forward to seeing a list of locations where these will be trialled as soon as possible.