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.”
Following the regrettable decision of the City Council’s Transport & Environment Committee on 25th January 2018 to back the traffic-generating gyratory roundabout design, Living Streets Edinburgh is now focusing on the need for significant improvements in the detailed design of the Picardy Place scheme. Incredibly, the latest Council design actually represents a net deterioration in the pedestrian environment compared to the current (pre-Leith Street closure) situation on the ground – as a result of, in particular, more circuitous road crossings, narrower pavement sections, and cycling /walking conflicts where new cycleways bisect footways. This is not acceptable.
Continue reading Position Paper On Picardy Place Detailed Design
Living Streets Edinburgh Group has previously objected to RSO 17/13 on the grounds stated in Appendix A. In response to a re-advertisement of the RSO, along with advertisement of TRO 17/81, we re-state our objection to the RSO, and state our objections to the TRO, on the following grounds: Continue reading Leith Street TRO and RSO – Response to re-advertisement
Local pedestrian campaigners have urged the City Council to scrap the proposed gyratory roundabout at Picardy Place and replace it with a ‘people-friendly’ street layout. In its formal submission  to the Council’s consultation on the controversial traffic proposals for the Picardy Place area, Living Streets Edinburgh Group , argues that the gyratory is ‘entirely inconsistent with the Council’s own strategic transport objectives for the city centre and Edinburgh as a whole’ and should be scrapped in favour of expanded public space, wider pavements, and more direct road crossings linking bus stops and a future tram stop with the new St James Centre development. The Group’s Convenor, David Spaven, said:
‘The current Picardy Place scheme is a traffic plan – but it should be a people-friendly plan. We are urging the Council to work towards a design which is both a symbolic and very practical demonstration of the importance of walking and ‘place’ rather than ‘movement’, in this highly-visible and much-used area of the city centre and World Heritage Site.
‘The Council have an overall aim of reducing the car’s share of Edinburgh’s transport  – but sticking with a three-lane gyratory at the heart of the city around Picardy Place would simply encourage yet more car traffic. And London has a comprehensive programme for removing major gyratory roundabouts, due to their impacts on pedestrians and cyclists. It would be tragic if Edinburgh were to head in the opposite direction, endorsing dis-credited 1960s approaches to urban transport planning.’
Other measures in the group’s recommendations to the Council include:
- exploring options for bus-only access on the south section of Leith Street
- redesign of pedestrian crossings to provide high-quality connectivity along pedestrian ‘desire lines’
- ensuring that all footways meet the Street Design Guidance ‘desirable minimum’ width of 4 metres or more
- eliminating ‘shared space’ for pedestrians and cyclists, replaced by segregated provision
- moving segregated cycleways out of the centre of footways, relocating them between the footway and the carriageway.
MORE INFO: David Spaven on 0131-447-7764 or 07917-877399
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
 Living Streets Edinburgh Group consultation response is attached.
 Living Streets Edinburgh Group is the local voluntary arm of the national charity campaigning for better conditions for ‘everyday’ walking. See: http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/about/about-living-streets/
 The City of Edinburgh Council’s ‘Local Transport Strategy 2014-2019’ refers to ‘reducing the need for motorised travel, especially car travel. Less car traffic helps make a city a safer and more pleasant place to live, as well as an attractive place to invest.’ This qualitative objective is reinforced by a specific quantitative aim to reduce the car’s share of all vehicular traffic on the city’s streets from 42% in 2010 to 29% in 2020.
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Regarding panning apps 17/04462/CON, 17/04235/PPP and 17/04234/FUL (Lower Gilmore Place)
We object to this development on the following grounds.
We are generally supportive of the development because it has a low level of parking provision. As Edinburgh continues to grow, we need to curtail and discourage more car travel from the city. Housing in dense brownfield sites like this this are the most sustainable kind of development, not only for the environment and transport purposes (beaches it is so easy to walk, cycle or go by bus) but also for the neighbourhood economy – local shops, community facilities etc get more customers This would support council policies which aim to promote car-free or car-lite developments: http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/common-issues/policies-of-city-of-edinburgh-council-promoting-car-freecar-light-developments/
However, the public realm in the immediate area is very deficient for people walking, despite this being a key North/South walking route. We would therefore like to see significant improvement in the nearby public realm funded from the developer. These improvements are (in approximate order):
- Widening the pavement on Leamington Road, and to de-clutter it (almost all signage should come off it). This very important walking route between the Haymarket and Bruntsfield area is absolutely atrocious; the pavement should be at least 2 metres wide (preferably 2.5 metres) to conform to the Council’s own Street Design Guidance http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20089/roads_and_pavements/906/edinburgh_street_design . Unfortunately, it is hard to see how this can be achieved without removing the existing residents’ parking, which will clearly be unpopular with those that currently park there. Could alternative (off street) spaces be provided for them in the new development ?
- Installing a ‘continuous pavement’ across Leamington Road at the junction with Gilmore Place. There is not even a ‘dropped kerb’ there at present and as a result Gilmore Place is a very difficult place for disabled people to move along. It would be criminal to miss this opportunity to address this (arguably even a breach of the Equality Act?)
- Considering stopping up Leamington Road at the Gilmore Place junction, permitting access only by bicycle and on foot. (Vehicle access to be through the eastern end of Lower Gilmore Place)
- Improving public realm on the north and east sides of Lower Gilmore Place. This might involve removing the canal-side wall to open up views and access to the canal towpath and decluttering the northern pavement of signage (which should have been done when the pavement was recently widened).
- A continuous pavement should be installed across Lower Gilmore Place at the junction with Leamington Road, providing a flat surface for people walking along Leamington Road to and from the lift bridge.
for Living Streets Edinburgh Group