For our latest street audit, Living Streets activists focussed on the sprawling roundabout where Polwarth Gardens and Polwarth Crescent converge, and on the associated ‘rat run’ along Polwarth Crescent and Yeaman Place.
We identified a wide range of problems faced by pedestrians at a large number of locations (38) along a relatively short length of street corridor. The most frequent problem was narrow pavements which fail to meet the City Council’s own ‘Street Design Guidance’. Overall we found that the general dominance (speed, volume, noise etc) of motor traffic makes this a largely unpleasant place for pedestrians. The biggest concentration of pedestrian-unfriendly features are at and around the roundabout – and we advocate a major reduction in carriageway space here to make this a much more attractive place to live, shop, work, and linger.
We hope that our illustrated report (link) will stimulate discussion among local people and at Merchiston Community Council – and lead on to action by the City of Council to make pedestrian safety and convenience the top priority locally.
Living Streets Edinburgh volunteers carried out an audit in late October 2020 on the ‘Spaces for People’ schemes from Tollcross to Morningside Station. These aim to improve conditions for pedestrians on ‘shopping streets’. The report concludes that there are significant improvements for people walking as a result of the scheme and also makes many detailed suggestions on how it could be improved further, which have been sent to council officers. You can read the full report here: (PDF 9mb)
We have also sent the report to councillors and asked them to widen pavements on other busy streets. We also want to see much more done to reduce the time people have to wait to cross the road at pedestrian crossings, and to remove pavement clutter. We estimate that less than 30% of the £5 million budget has been allocated to these kind of ‘walking measures’ (compared to over 70% for cycling) and we want to see much more emphasis in ‘Spaces for People’ put on encouraging walking and social distancing.
Some good examples
The Living Streets Edinburgh group organised a ‘street audit’ in Tollcross on 25 and 26 September. The aim of the initiative was to help the local community identify improvements to local streets in a systematic way and campaign for improvements. Thirteen people took part, with Living Streets supporters and members of the public joined by people from the Tollcross Community Council and the Edinburgh Access Panel.
The focus was on Home Street and Lochrin Place – streets which will be improved shortly during works to link the cycle network from the Union Canal to the Meadows. The chief recommendations were to:
- improve pavement surfaces;
- remove unnecessary fixed obstacles (signage poles, redundant phone box etc);
- better manage movable clutter (A boards, bins etc);
- introduce a proper cycle parking plan to meet demand (on street where possible);
- make enforcement effective – for example, cushioning of scaffolding, management of waste bins and parking controls;
- install dropped kerbs and tactile paving consistently and properly;
- ensure that pedestrians can cross the street easily at signalled crossings (especially at Tollcross itself).
A meeting with council officials to discuss the findings will be organised soon and we hope to see improvements introduced this financial year. Living Streets Edinburgh hopes that this audit will encourage other local communities to organise audits of their streets throughout the city, to identify improvements to the design, maintenance and management of the walking environment.
The full pdf report can be downloaded here (3.3mb) – Tollcross Street Audit