Have your say on initial proposals for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in Edinburgh

A second phase of community engagement on plans to introduce Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in two areas of Edinburgh will begin on Friday (4 June).

Between 8 February and 5 March, we sought the views of residents in Corstorphine, Leith and East Craigs on their travel choices and use of their community spaces for movement and relaxation to help us develop proposals for each area in partnership with the local communities themselves. In total we received around 2200 responses across the three communities.

After the first phase of engagement, there was a clear appetite within Leith and Corstorphine to move forward with more detailed dialogue.

For East Craigs we’ll be bringing an additional report on plans for the area to the next Transport and Environment Committee in recognition of the majority of respondents reporting, during our initial engagement in February/March, that traffic levels were not significant on most residential streets. However, some residents did indicate that there are issues with high traffic volumes on selected streets. We’ll therefore propose to have further discussion on targeted traffic reduction with the East Craigs community at a later date, with a view to bringing proposals back to a future meeting of Transport and Environment Committee.

In Leith and Corstorphine we’re now looking for feedback on initial recommendations to create safer, more comfortable environments for walking, cycling and wheeling, as well as for spending time in local streets and outdoor spaces. These have been informed by the opinions and ideas shared during the first phase of engagement, as well as traffic data which indicates where there are issues around intrusive traffic.

As part of this second phase of engagement we will be holding co-design-type workshops with community representatives so that the design team can closely explore details in greater depth with the community.

Each of the schemes will be refined following the current period of engagement and brought back to Transport and Environment Committee. If approved, they would be then be introduced on a trial basis via an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) towards the end of 2021.

For Corstorphine, two options have been proposed to improve safety on the High Street, as well as various interventions elsewhere in the area to restrict through traffic, particularly around schools.

The Leith Connections project designs consist of two elements – a high-quality segregated cycle route between the Foot of the Walk and Ocean Terminal, which will be introduced on a permanent basis, and an experimental LTN in the area between Salamander Street, Commercial Street, North and Great Junction Street, Duke Street and the roads around Leith Links. The LTN designs include restrictions to through traffic and ‘parklets’ to encourage more people to walk, cycle and spend time.

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said:

Over the last year we’ve seen the impact that lower traffic volumes and space to walk and cycle can have on our environment. As we work to make a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, we’re looking at ways of working together with our communities on designs and proposals that would make neighbourhoods more liveable, easier to move around by active travel and welcoming to spend time in.

Thanks to thousands of comments on the initial engagement about our plans to introduce Low Traffic Neighbourhoods across the city, as well as traffic monitoring both before and after the pandemic to identify intrusive traffic hotspots, we’ve been able to develop a set of proposals for Leith and Corstorphine that really address the issues facing these neighbourhoods, helping to tackle barriers to walking, cycling and wheeling. As we now start the next phase of public engagement on these proposals we’ll be continuing to work closely with the communities in a co-design-style approach which involves residents in each key step of the projects’ development.

In East Craigs, there was a clear view that for most people there weren’t significant traffic problems on most residential streets, although some residents did report too much traffic on certain streets.

That’s why we’re currently putting the LTN plans on hold in East Craigs. We’d like to come back to discuss ideas on targeted traffic reduction with the community sometime in the future, but for now, we look forward to working with communities in Corstorphine and Leith to take forward designs there.

Transport and Environment Vice Convener Councillor Karen Doran said:

We’ve seen from examples around the world how Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can encourage community interaction and healthy, active travel, and we want to see this happen in Edinburgh.

Please let us know what you think of the initial plans for Leith and Corstorphine, so we can deliver schemes which work for as many people as possible.

Key findings from engagement with the public earlier this year include –

Corstorphine – almost 600 responses received

  • Walking was the largest travel mode used by respondents to the survey, with cycling higher than the national average at 9%.
  • Safety of streets for cycling and safety of streets for walking were the main factors that prevent respondents from making trips by foot or bike within the local area.
  • 51% of respondents think that traffic levels and speeds for children cycling or walking are unsafe or very unsafe.

Leith – over 800 responses received

  • 75% of survey respondents strongly support or support the aim for improving cycling conditions in Leith.
  • 80% of survey respondents strongly support or support the aim for improving walking conditions in Leith.
  • The most popular local destinations were Ocean Terminal, Leith Walk and Leith Links. Walking was used for the highest proportion of these journeys with between 44-65% of trips and cycling was used on 13-23% of trips.

East Craigs LTN – over 800 responses received

  • Speed and volume of traffic on Craigs Road was felt by some in the community to be too high and conditions could be improved for people walking and cycling, however there was also general feedback that most streets in the area were not felt by survey respondents to have high traffic volumes or speeds.
  • School drop off/pick up times were highlighted as a particular issue on some streets, resulting in higher volumes of traffic and parking.

Alongside this engagement feedback, project teams have collected and assessed traffic data from before and during COVID to help identify streets where intrusive traffic is a problem. This data has generally corresponded closely to the streets that residents have highlighted as having high traffic volumes and speeds.

Traffic operations plans have been developed to help people to plan journeys around their communities by different transport modes. Every residence will remain accessible by motor vehicle.

Engagement on the Leith and Corstorphine proposals will run from Friday (4 June) until 4 July, during which time respondents can view and comment on designs. We’ll also be consulting with key stakeholders including community councils, ward councillors, emergency services and mobility and access groups.

The ETRO process for introducing changes, if approved, includes further public consultation on the traffic regulation changes, with the results to be reported back to Transport and Environment Committee in autumn, when a decision would be made about whether to implement the LTNs on a trial basis (for up to 18 months). ETROs allow us to trial measures, in collaboration with the community and stakeholders, to evaluate their impacts and benefits prior to permanent implementation. During the trial we will be monitoring the impacts of the changes and asking for public feedback.

Measures along the future cycle route from Leith Walk to Ocean Terminal, which will change traffic movement in the area, are proposed to be implemented at the same time as the trial LTN. These relate to a permanent route design and have already been through public engagement.

Find out more and share your views on Leith and Corstorphine proposals onine.

Published: June 2nd 2021