As part of their full agenda on Thursday the Transport and Environment Committee plan to reopen Braid Road, remove some of the segregated cycle lane on Comiston Road to enable buses to keep to timetable and will discuss what measures might be changed on Arboretum Road at The Botanics.

For the details on the changes made under Spaces for People at the Botanics read our most recent story here.

DIsabled rights campaigner Hugh Munro demonstrated his difficulty in getting into the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to councillors at the West Gate PHOTO ©2021 The Edinburgh Reporter

As is usual there are several bodies making deputations to the committee and their contributions are set out below. The Transport and Environment Committee meeting begins at 10am and will be webcast online here.

The first is from Spokes South who object to the changes which the council proposes to make – apparently in an effort to compromise interests of all road users – to Braid Road and Comiston Road.

It takes time for individuals and families to switch to sustainable travel. Family lives are complicated, but over the last 18 months or so we have seen many more people walking and cycling in South Edinburgh as a result of temporary infrastructure measures. It is ironic then, that councillors are being asked to consider changes that will reduce the safety and comfort for cyclists on both Braid and Comiston Road, and especially at the South end of the Quiet Route, making families doubt that they will have a safe route to school or work.

SPOKES South
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The report makes no mention of the Council’s current targets, in the existing Local Transport Strategy and

Active Travel Action Plan. These targets were for 10% of all trips to be by bike, and 15% of commuter trips.

However, the targets presented here (now for 2030) are just 7% for all trips (down from 10%) and 9% for work trips (down from 15%).

This appears to represent a serious downgrading of the Council’s ambitions for the future of local travel, and at a time when other capital cities such as London and Paris are aiming much higher, and indeed are already delivering, with many km of segregated routes, and many more to come – and rapidly rising cycle use as a result. Edinburgh, too, is hoping to make permanent roughly 39km of its 40km of its protected main road routes, albeit with some serious reductions in safety on one or two routes such as Comiston Road. Moreover, the historic forthcoming rises in government active travel cash should make it feasible for these and other routes to be upgraded to proper segregated standard and to a continuous and connected high quality network well before 2030.

SPOKES

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The report states that 2,200 vehicles per day currently travel up and down Brunstane Road. That traffic needs to go somewhere – you cannot just make it disappear.

If only half of that number of vehicles is diverted onto Brighton Place it will lead to an increase in traffic of 20%, i.e. 1,100 extra vehicles per day.

We know exactly what will happen as a result of the closure of Brunstane Road because when it was temporarily closed in August 2020 for utilities works Brighton Place experienced a huge increase in traffic volumes and there was rat-running on East Brighton Crescent and Lee Crescent.

BRRA
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Before any closures are decided upon, a full traffic survey should be undertaken for the whole of Portobello and Joppa to arrive at a sustainable solution for the whole area. Traffic other than local traffic should be barred from all possible areas and calming measures such as chicanes introduced to stop drivers speeding and taking shortcuts. Improved signposting should ensure that Sir Harry Lauder Road becomes the main route for through traffic and not Portobello High Street. The population of Portobello is increasing, especially with the

development at Baileyfield, and the society believes that existing access routes to Portobello should be maintained rather than reduced.

Portobello Amenity Society
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Comiston Road. Photo: © 2020, Martin P. McAdam www.martinmcadam.com