We have interviewed three people with slightly different views on the Spaces for People measures over the last couple of days.
The measures will be discussed at the June meeting of the Transport and Environment Committee on Thursday morning. You can read all the papers here.
The interviews are below. (Apologies but due to lack of time there are no transcriptions of them.)
First I spoke to Transport Convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes about the recommendations made by council officers. Broadly speaking these are to retain most of the measures, but to take out those in shopping streets or town centres.
I spoke with Chris Young who represents Low Traffic Corstorphine and Better Edinburgh for Sustainable Travel (BEST) which is an amalgamation of several active travel groups. They are largely pro Spaces for People and most of the measures.
Just ahead of the meeting on Thursday the Motions and Amendments proposed by political representatives have been published. These include a motion by the SNP/Labour coalition to remove some of the segregated cycle lanes – particularly those on Lanark Road.
I met Professor Derryck Reid of South West Edinburgh in Motion on Lanark Road just after the papers were published and asked him if he was pleased with the move by the council’s politicians. You can hear what he said here:
SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon MacDonald MSP, said: “I’m really pleased to see that the council has done as they said and listened to local residents’ views and concerns about the temporary Spaces for People measures which have been introduced.
“We know that we have to take ambitious actions to create more spaces for people to walk, cycle and wheel as we tackle the climate emergency but, for this to be done effectively, decision makers must put local views at the heart of their plans. It is the only way that changes will be sustainable.
“I’m particularly glad to see the administration’s intention to keep the 30mph speed limit on Lanark Road – something I have been pressing with the council for a number of years – and remove the cycle ways on Lanark Road. Whilst we all, of course, recognise that steps must be taken to support more people to opt for active travel, there are several safety concerns with the temporary measures which need to be prioritised.
“The commitment to find a solution to the safety concerns for cyclists, pedestrians and others travelling on the Water of Leith Path is something that I stressed with the council throughout this process so I’m pleased to see the council taking that on board.
“In my representations to the council, I also highlighted the issues residents are having with parking following the Spaces for People measures which have been implemented on the Longstone corridor. I’m pleased to see a commitment to find a solution to this problems for local people.
“As we move forward, we must make sure that Governments (at all levels) continue to work with people to support and encourage the increasing numbers of people choosing to walk, cycle, wheel or opt for public transport.”
The Transport and Environment Committee meets at 10am on Thursday 17 June 2021. The papers are here.