Picture this: A safer Edinburgh as 20mph rollout continues

Children from the latest area of Edinburgh to 'go 20' displayed their road safety-themed artwork at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art today as 20mph Phase 3 gets ready to go live.

Kids from Murrayfield Nursery help launch 20mph Phase 3
Children from Murrayfield Nursery join Cllr Lesley Macinnes and Constable Stephen Nelson to launch phase 3 of 20mph in Edinburgh

The youngsters from the Murrayfield Nursery took centre stage at the launch, alongside Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes, 20mph mascot The Reducer and representatives from Police Scotland and National Galleries of Scotland. 

Driving more slowly reduces the number and severity of casualties. A person is seven times more likely to survive if they are hit by a car driving at 20mph, than if they are hit at 30mph.

Calming traffic has widespread public support, with 65% of Scots in a recent poll in favour of a 20mph default limit in urban areas. Here in Edinburgh, a survey of more than 50,000 people earlier this year found 70% backed the Capital's rollout.

Tomorrow marks the start of the third phase of the Capital's citywide rollout of lower speeds to residential and shopping streets (as well as the city centre), with many roads across north west and west Edinburgh becoming 20mph, including Belford Road, which runs between the Modern One and Modern Two galleries. 

Signs and road markings have been put in place across the Phase 3 areas, marking which streets have changed to 20mph. As with the whole rollout project, a strategic network of roads has been retained at 30mph and 40mph, such as Calder Road, Maybury Road, Queensferry Road (as far as the junction with Dean Park Crescent) and Lanark Road. Have a look at our interactive map to find out which streets are changing. 

Police Scotland are supportive of the 20mph rollout and are carrying out enforcement, having handed out nearly 600 warnings and 26 tickets and made five reports to the Procurator Fiscal since the programme began. 

Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: "The Capital is blazing a trail by becoming the first city in Scotland to introduce slower speeds in all residential and shopping streets, as well as our city centre. We're in excellent company internationally and closer to home - cities like New York, Paris, Milan and London are all championing the benefits of bringing speeds down in urban areas. And the World Health Organisation recently called for 30kmph (about 19mph) to be the limit 'wherever motorised traffic mixes with pedestrians and cyclists'. 

"Calming traffic is better for everyone - first and foremost, it's far safer, with anyone hit at 20mph SEVEN times more likely to survive than someone struck at 30mph. It's quieter, too, and helps people feel more comfortable walking and cycling, creating more pleasant streets and neighbourhoods which boosts community cohesion and encourages support for local businesses as people choose to spend more time in an area.

"Smoother driving through less unnecessary acceleration and deceleration, coupled with an increase in people choosing active travel and public transport over private cars, means less congestion and better air quality for everyone."

Simon Groom, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, said: “We are pleased to support this citywide initiative of slower speeds for many of Edinburgh’s roads and streets, which will greatly improve road safety for the hundreds of thousands of our annual visitors who make their way between the two gallery buildings of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art on Belford Road."
Police Scotland Temporary Superintendent Mark Rennie said: "Road safety is a priority for police in Edinburgh, and we are continuing to work with the City of Edinburgh Council to raise awareness of the 20mph zones. We will continue to carry out proactive speed checks to enforce the limits where operational demands allow, with priority being given to new zones, areas around schools, and locations where there have been previous collisions where speed was a factor." 

Maxine Simpson-Smith, Manager of The Murrayfield Nursery, said: "Reducing the speed limit to 20mph is especially important to this area (Saughton Crescent) due to two children's nurseries, a doctors' surgery, care home for the elderly and many elderly residents living and working within the area. Saughton Crescent is used as a 'rat run' if Corstorphine Road is congested with traffic. 

"Over 22 years working in the nursery I have witnessed many crashes/bumps, cyclists being knocked off their bikes, pedestrians getting beeped at because they are not fast enough when crossing the road and children running across the road and nearly being hit by fast drivers. So we welcome the 20mph speed limit to keep everyone in this area safe."

Public support for 20mph and South Edinburgh Pilot Project findings

There has been a high level of support for 20mph speed limits amongst Edinburgh residents for a number of years. The 2012 Edinburgh People Survey which uses a methodology that seeks to ensure a statistically representative sample of Edinburgh citizens revealed a high level of support for extending 20mph speed limits. The highest level of support was for such limits in ‘residential’ streets, with 75% in favour, 2% opposed, 23% unsure. For busy shopping streets support was 69 % with 4 % opposed and 27 % unsure. For all city centre streets support was 67 % with 5 % opposed and 29 % unsure.

A pilot project was launched on 23 March 2012 in South Edinburgh and the evaluation  of this was reported to Committee on 27 August 2013.  As part of this pilot project, the Council measured changes to vehicle speeds and volumes, road traffic incidents, and the attitudes of residents to walking, cycling, and the local environment. The benefits evidenced from the pilot include lower vehicle speeds in 85% of the 28 streets that were monitored, perceived improvements in the safety of streets for children, a perception of improved conditions for walking and cycling and strong support from residents of the area for the 20mph limit.

 Monitoring of 20mph network 

The Council is carrying out a variety of ‘before and after’ surveys as part of the monitoring programme for the 20mph network.  Monitoring to assess traffic speeds, road casualties, and public perceptions is included in the programme, which will continue throughout the implementation of all four phases.  The final phase is expected to conclude in early 2018.  The results of the monitoring programme will be reported to the Council’s Transport & Environment Committee one year after this.  The Committee will consider the findings and decide whether any further action is necessary.

External Evaluation by Edinburgh University

The University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy has recently secured funding for and commenced an independent evaluation of the public health impact of 20mph speed limits in Edinburgh and Belfast.  The study, which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, involves partnership with other UK universities, NHS Scotland and the charity Sustrans.  It is the largest study of its kind in the UK and will run until 2020.  The study will focus on the impact of 20mph speed limits. Casualties and traffic accident rates will be measured to determine whether 20mph limits improve road safety. The evaluation will also look at wider effects on local residents and will inform other cities planning to introduce lower speed limits.

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