Spaces for People: moving forward

Retaining Spaces for People measures

Spaces for People (SfP) measures were introduced using temporary traffic regulation order (TTRO) legislation during 2020 and 2021 to help people to physically distance, travel safely and exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The process for developing and implementing these measures was agreed at the meeting of the Council's Policy and Sustainability Committee on 14 May 2020. This included

  • adopting criteria that allowed us to create temporary waking and cycling infrastructure schemes
  • delegating decision-making to the Council's Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader and Depute Leader of the Council
  • a streamlined approach to how traffic orders were communicated to stakeholders during the pandemic.

Spaces for People measures were funded through grant funding from Sustrans, distributed on behalf of the Scottish Government. The funding could only be spent on measures to make it safer for people who choose to walk, cycle or wheel for essential trips and exercise during COVID-19.

We've invested £5 million across the city, developing and installing

  • 39 km of segregated cycle infrastructure
  • 11 widened footpaths in city centre and town centre locations to create more safe space for pedestrians
  • three city centre pedestrian zones
  • seven areas for safe access to spaces for exercise
  • 10 roads around schools to give more space to pupils and their parents/carers to distance
  • 54 measures to reduce the risk of infection near school gates.

Moving forward

As the pandemic has progressed, it's clear that COVID-19 has not gone away and that we're likely to have physical distancing with us for a while. For that reason, spaces for people measures may need to stay in place to keep people safe for longer.

However, the measures could contribute to longer-term Council objectives such as giving people more choice in how they get about the city. So this is a good time to consider keeping or adapting the measures beyond the pandemic. We would need to use different legal powers to do that. Councillors agree at Transport and Environment Committee on 28 January that we should

  • get views from residents, business and our key city partners on the temporary SfP measures
  • assess the potential for keeping them as they help achieve Council priorities.