Thousands share their suggestions for walking, cycling and wheeling improvements

Spaces for people cyclist

Edinburgh residents have made more than 4100 suggestions for creating more space to walk, cycle and wheel during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Since launching the Commonplace platform in partnership with Sustrans at the end of May along with a dedicated inbox, we’ve received 4105 comments and ideas for making streets more accessible and welcoming. This will help to inform existing measures and those coming forward over the coming weeks and months.

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said:

Thank you to the thousands of people who took the time to let us know where they think improvements could be made to help people walk, cycle and wheel safely. Your feedback is invaluable and will help us to refine and expand our approach as lockdown continues to be eased, as well as influencing longer term strategic plans to improve infrastructure across the city.

Our programme of improvements, which is one of the most ambitious in the country, is well underway - over the coming months we’ll be delivering more than 30km of cycle segregation in the first phase of improvements alone, widened pavements across the city and reducing speed limits in key areas. We know how important it is to make these changes quickly and we’re making good progress while monitoring feedback to make sure the measures are working.

Officers have been monitoring feedback and identifying trends, with key issues highlighted including traffic speeds, traffic volume and the need for wider pavements and cycles lanes to support easier movement by foot, bike and on wheels while physical distancing remains in place. People clearly want to see measures which focus on these areas and officers are working hard to design proposals which reflect this.

In our town centres, for example, residents and businesses have called for wider pavements, parking restrictions and the reduction of street clutter to support the reopening of shops and other businesses. Plans will soon be coming forward which directly respond to these overarching issues, and any specific ideas will be used to refine projects where possible.

We’ve already listened directly to local concerns and acted. We’ve brought forward plans for a safer crossing on Maybury Road where it links to Cammo Walk following strong community support, while a one-way system has been created on Braidburn Terrace. This manages the impact of the Braid Road closure on local people. Our Paths for Everyone campaign was updated last month to respond to requests to remind everyone to be considerate when sharing paths.

Transport and Environment Vice Convener Councillor Karen Doran said:

We’re already introducing changes across the city in response to residents’ concerns, and these suggestions will help us to identify further trends as well as flagging up new areas for improvement.

Of course, we can’t deliver every suggested improvement, and we must prioritise limited resources to the most-needed measures. Changing road layouts is a complex and collaborative process and our teams are working as hard as they can to implement improvements that work, as soon as is possible.”

John Lauder, Deputy CEO Sustrans and National Director Sustrans Scotland and Northern Ireland, added:

Sustrans Scotland welcomes the huge response to the City of Edinburgh Council’s commonplace tool. This illustrates the level of interest from the public in making places better for people to walk, cycle and wheel safely in Edinburgh. As the local economy reopens, and we hear the news from Transport Scotland of a 25% increase in bike journeys compared to last year, it is vital that people can exercise and make essential journeys on foot and by bike, safely while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. We look forward to continued working with the Council on the Spaces for People programme.

While comments and feedback will continue to help identify and prioritise measures which tackle the highest levels of concern, it will not be possible to deliver all suggestions due to limits on funding and resources.

Last week we introduced widened footways and bus, cycle and taxi gates on East Princes Street and South St David Street, as well as the closure of Waverley Bridge at its junction with Princes Street. Changes will help people physically distance while in the city centre and add to improvements across Edinburgh helping people to walk, cycle and wheel safely. These include the closure of Silverknowes Road and temporary cycleways on Crewe Road South and Old Dalkeith Road.

Work is well underway to create segregated cycle lanes and widened pavements on the Mound, George IV Bridge and Forrest Road. In the coming weeks we will be introducing temporary closures on Victoria Street and Cockburn Street too drawing from feedback received through the Commonplace tool, which showed traffic volume and narrow pavements to be key issues.

Towards the end of the month we’ll be focusing on delivering improvements to local ‘town centres’ in areas like Gorgie and Dalry, Portobello High Street, Stockbridge and Tollcross.

Find out more about Spaces for People on the Council website.

Published: July 7th 2020