The City of Edinburgh Council has opened consultation on three proposed Low Traffic Neighbourhoods on Monday.

There are plans for the introduction of measures to reduce traffic in Leith, Corstorphine and in East Craigs.

It is the last one which has engendered such opposition and division among the people who live in the area which is roughly bounded by the Glasgow Road, Maybury Road and Drum Brae.

The council had intended that East Craigs would become the first Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Edinburgh under emergency Covid-19 regulations. This was not to be, and many months and thousands of words later, the council is hoping to continue with its plans – but this time they hope to introduce these under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO). The council says that by using this process it will allow more public consultation and following that they hope to proceed with the proposals in the largely residential area.

Craigs Road. Photo: Martin P. McAdam www.martinmcadam.com

There will be “community reference groups” formed from representatives of each community which should offer more opportunity for residents to offer their feedback. This feedback will be added to the responses gathered in the consultation process. After the consultation, the plan is to discuss the designs for all three schemes (which will be changed if necessary after the consultation) at the June meeting of the Transport and Environment Committee. There would then be further ETRO consultation and the changes would be trialled from October. The Leith active travel measures are not likely to be put in place until Traffic Regulation Orders have been approved, most probably in 2022.

This is not the West Edinburgh Link project which is being consulted on separately and which has already been years in the design process. The proposals are also completely separate from the government funded Spaces for People programme.

A Low Traffic Neighbourhood is one where vehicular traffic is reduced, but vehicle access for residents is maintained – albeit that residents may be re-routed from the existing layout. The intention is to reduce air pollution and make the areas safer for those wheeling, walking and cycling. The use of modal filters – planters and seating areas – will allow two or three wheeled traffic but divert vehicular traffic onto main roads.

There is a really good explanation of an LTN here on Low Traffic Corstorphine’s website, where they point out that the measures would guard against future traffic from the new housing developments and businesses planned for West Edinburgh.

Get Edinburgh Moving is one of the main opposition groups to the East Craigs proposal. You can read all of their comments and information here on their site. They have a lot of information there, but it boils down to three things – they are against the LTN and they asked that the council stops to engage and consult. Now the council has done just that, in the face of legal opinions sought by GEM on their proposals to introduce the LTN under the auspices of Covid-19 emergency powers.

CONSULTATION

The council is now asking residents to give them their views on all three schemes ,which will they hope become the first of many low traffic neighbourhoods in the city. It is fair to say that the schemes for Leith and Corstorphine are largely welcomed by people living there.

In Leith the plans include a protected cycle lane from Foot of the Walk to Ocean Terminal. This is intended to complement the Trams to Newhaven. Sandport Place Bridge would be pedestrianised, making the Shore bus only.

In Corstorphine the intention is to create safer routes to school, helping to reduce the speed and volume of traffic on residential streets, and also to create and improve cycle routes which would then join up with the proposed West Edinburgh Link.

East Craigs is about to be affected in the coming years by residential developments on the other side of Maybury Road. The intention is to create safer routes to school, as well as slowing down and reducing traffic on residential streets. Some residents who are opposed to the move have disputed that there is any “rat-running” in the area.

Transport and Environment Convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes said: “As we look to make a green recovery from the pandemic, it’s important that we get back to work on our long-term plans to support sustainable, active travel and healthy communities, where children can play safely and air pollution is reduced.

There’s a range of research to show the positive impact LTNs can have on reducing ‘through’ traffic and encouraging people to walk, cycle, wheel and spend time in local areas. We want to bring these benefits to neighbourhoods across Edinburgh and to make sure the changes work for everyone, which is why we want to hear from as many people as possible.”

Transport and Environment Vice Convener Councillor Karen Doran said: “We envision a much safer, more relaxing and ‘people-friendly’ capital, which is why we’re developing LTNs for different communities. By introducing them on an experimental basis we want to involve the people that live here in their evolution, and their participation begins now, as we start to develop designs.”

You may comment on the Leith Connections consultation here until 28 February 2021.

You may comment on the East Craigs plans here (and yes it is confusing since this is hosted on the West Edinburgh Link website – don’t be put off by that – there is a link to some information on the consultation and also a link to a survey on this page here.

And the Corstorphine plans and consultation is here.