Measures to support walking, wheeling and cycling extended on a trial basis

Temporary measures introduced to help people to safely walk, wheel or cycle during the Covid pandemic are being retained on a trial basis for a further 18 months.

On Monday (21 November) Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs) will come into force for Travelling Safely (formerly Spaces for People) schemes across the city, including segregated cycle routes, road closures and traffic restrictions.

The trial will let us test out the changes to get a better idea of how they are working as the journeys people make around the city settle into new patterns following the pandemic. During the first six months of the trial a statutory consultation will allow people to make comments or objections relating to the ETROs.

Transport and Environment Committee agreed to implement the ETROs in September. Extending the lifespan of the measures aims to foster safer, easier travel by walking, wheeling and cycling, supporting healthy and sustainable modes of transport, improved road safety and the Council’s target for Edinburgh to be net zero by 2030.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: 

By extending the lifespan of these schemes we’ll have the chance to test and trial the measures to see how they’re working as life in the city settles to a new normality following the pandemic.

I know the changes have divided opinion but there is no doubt that providing safe spaces to walk, wheel and cycle can significantly benefit the health, wellbeing and pockets of people in the city, not to mention positively impacting the environment by supporting sustainable travel and better connecting people to public transport.

During the next six months anyone can comment on specific schemes, which will help inform future plans, so I would encourage anyone with an interest to take part in the statutory consultation. The consultation follows a legally defined process, and I will ensure that any material concerns are addressed in a transparent manner.

Feedback received during the six-month consultation will be reported to the appropriate committee within the 18-month trial period to decide on whether the schemes will be made permanent, removed or modified.

The impacts of the measures will be monitored during the experimental period. This monitoring, along with consideration of comments on the schemes, will help determine recommendations on whether some or all measures should be retained. For schemes that are retained permanent infrastructure to suit a longer-term road layout will be considered. Funding for any permanent infrastructure would be discussed at an appropriate future committee.

Existing School schemes are currently being assessed under the citywide School Travel Plan Review and are not included in the Traveling Safely programme.

Share your comments, messages of support or objections to individual schemes online from Monday (21 November).

Published: November 18th 2022