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Have your say in major Edinburgh placemaking consultation

Published: Monday, 17th September 2018

Members of the public are being invited to have their say in a major new consultation about how people want the heart of Scotland's Capital to look, feel and function.

From Monday [17 September], the eight-week consultation on the City of Edinburgh Council's Consultation Hub will bring together three linked placemaking projects being led by the Council and supported by numerous partner organisations. 

Responses and suggestions will be sought on: the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation, the City Mobility Plan (successor to the current Local Transport Strategy) and plans for Low Emission Zones in the Capital. 

The consultation, entitled "Edinburgh: connecting our city, transforming our places", centres on a prospectus which has been developed following extensive engagement with stakeholders* between February and May 2018. Ideas and proposals contained within it have come directly from public feedback.

The prospectus sets out ideas to create a more active and connected city, a healthier environment, a transformed Edinburgh city centre, and improved neighbourhood streets. 

Among the ideas up for consideration are pedestrianised streets, restrictions on 'through' traffic, bus and freight 'hubs', widened pavements and improved public spaces.

The consultation was approved by members of the Council's Transport and Environment Committee on 9 August 2018. 

Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: "This prospectus is a truly ambitious document which is bound to generate some lively debate right across the city. I would urge everyone with an interest in Edinburgh’s future to take part in the consultation, which has the potential to be a real game-changer. It’s a very powerful opportunity to make some really transformational changes to our city centre and town centres, for the benefit of everyone who lives and works in or visits them.

"As a Council we are serious about tackling poor air quality, reducing congestion and making it as easy as possible to get around Edinburgh, especially by walking, cycling and public transport. 

"The status quo is no longer an option."

Sustrans Scotland National Director John Lauder said: “Sustrans Scotland is pleased to be supporting the City of Edinburgh Council’s City Centre Transformation Plan by providing funding for game-changing walking and cycling improvements on a key route between the Meadows and George Street through our Community Links PLUS programme.

"We hope that as a result of this project, along with Scottish Government funding through our Community Links programme, that the city centre can be improved to become a better place to live, work and visit."

Stuart Hay, Director of Living Streets Scotland, added: “Living Streets is delighted that the City of Edinburgh Council is considering a bold set of options focused on people on foot, on bikes and public transport access. It’s time Edinburgh made the improvements that have been so successful in cities across Europe including Copenhagen, Barcelona, Paris and Ljubljana to name just four examples.”  

*A series of workshops was held in the spring with a huge range of organisations and interest groups, including transport providers (public transport, freight, taxi, private hire and community transport), private sector companies, third sector bodies, Edinburgh Access Panel, community councils, neighbouring local authorities and school pupils.

Additional quotes

Suzanne Forup, Head of Development Scotland for Cycling UK, said: “This is an extraordinary opportunity to transform our nation’s capital, making it a more accessible and people-friendly place for residents and visitors alike. Creating a safer and better connected city in which people can easily cycle and walk will bring health, economic and environmental benefits to Edinburgh. It will help to reduce social isolation and improve wellbeing – including for older people, families, people with disabilities and those on lower incomes. We encourage Edinburgh’s residents to contribute to this consultation and have their say on the kind of city they want to live in.”

David Spaven, Convenor of Living Streets Edinburgh Group, said: “We’re delighted to see the City Council planning for a much more walking-friendly city centre. Walking is fundamental to the city centre economy and creates a sense of community. It is the only universal way of moving about – and spacious, well-maintained pavements are also crucial for people in wheelchairs. Uniquely among travel modes, walking is as much, or more, about enjoying places as about movement from A to B. 

“The Council’s transport policies rightly place walking at the top of its hierarchy of transport modes, and we now look forward to these new Council initiatives delivering a transformation in conditions on the ground, where it counts.

“Making walking safer and more convenient has to be at the heart of Council programmes for transport and the public realm, and there are many measures available to realise that transformation, including: reducing the volume and speed of motorised traffic; fully pedestrianising sections of key streets such as George Street and the Royal Mile; emulating the recent focus on cycling by identifying and improving key walking routes in and around the city centre; tackling a chronic legacy of narrow pavements, street clutter and poor maintenance; and providing more frequent road crossings for people on foot.”