Map of new 20mph speed limit streets unveiled
A large swathe of roads in the Capital could change to 20mph from late 2015 if plans are approved this month, making Edinburgh the first 20mph city in Scotland.
A map of proposed 20mph limits for hundreds of Edinburgh streets has been drawn up after a public consultation on the plans attracted nearly 3,000 responses. Meetings and discussions with stakeholders including Lothian Buses also informed the final proposals.
20mph speed limits encourage more considerate driving, leading to safer streets for all road users, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The lower speeds reduce the risk and severity of road collisions.
Reducing traffic speed helps make people feel more confident about being on their local streets and helps children and elderly people to travel independently and safely.
Calmer road speeds also help to make walking and cycling more attractive options, contributing to less traffic congestion, better health, less noise, more social interaction, an improved environment for local businesses and stronger communities.
The new 20mph network, which will go before members of the Council's Transport and Environment Committee in a report for approval on Tuesday 13 January 2015, would see the majority of the city’s residential streets and streets in shopping areas become 20mph zones.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener, said: "We were absolutely delighted with the huge response to our consultation in the autumn and it's great to be moving on to the stage of finalising exactly which streets will become 20mph, provided the necessary Traffic Regulation Orders are secured.
"Edinburgh is taking a very bold step in introducing slower speeds for so much of its roads and we're aware that other cities in Scotland are watching our example keenly.
"There's obviously a lot of work to be done to raise public awareness between now and the first new limits coming into effect. It's undoubtedly a culture change for the whole city but we're very encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response we've seen to the pilot project in South Edinburgh. Support for 20mph limits was already high before the pilot began but it increased even more once people tried out the slower speeds in practice."
John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland, said: "It is fantastic to see Edinburgh Council rolling out 20mph speed limits across more and more streets in the capital. Sustrans wants to see increasing numbers of people choosing to travel actively on an everyday basis, whether on foot or by bike, and we think that reducing traffic speeds is a key way to helping achieve this.
"Many other towns and cities across Scotland will no doubt be watching Edinburgh closely as implementation of the new 20mph network gets under way. Hopefully they will like what they see and learn from Edinburgh's experience."
The plans were finalised at the end of 2014 following a far-reaching public consultation process across the Capital.
Prior to this, previous market research and consultation in Edinburgh showed strong support for more extensive 20mph limits. The Edinburgh People’s Survey in 2012 showed a sizeable majority in favour of 20mph limits in residential areas, shopping streets and the City Centre. And 67 per cent of people supported a 20mph limit for all city centre streets, while just five per cent opposed such a limit, with 29 per cent uncertain.
The results of this latest consultation process, which concluded in October, show that 60% of respondents supported or strongly supported the proposals, with 36% opposed or strongly opposed.
One of the key priorities of the Council's Local Transport Strategy 2014-2019 is to consult on detailed proposals for the citywide 20mph network. Consulting "with a view to extending the current 20mph traffic zones" is also one of the Capital Coalition's pledges.
If the proposed 20mph network is approved by the Transport and Environment Committee, the project will move into the implementation stage.
An implementation plan will be presented to the Committee in March 2015, providing details on how the Council will roll out the 20mph network across the city.
It is anticipated that the programme will be rolled out over a maximum of three financial years.