Way back in 2015 the City of Edinburgh Council agreed to implement the 20 mph scheme and around this time last year the final phase was completed. During my election campaign I raised concerns about how it was being implemented and as I was not quite “on message” copies of my leaflet were reproduced in the Evening News (something I was not absolutely unhappy about!).
Now that the scheme is almost a year old, however, the Council is reviewing it with the aim of producing a report in the summer. I was concerned about the public response to the review (now closed), so I set up my own survey to collect Ward 8 opinion. It is not representative, but some of the questions raised are interesting.
In total a little under 200 people took part – 59% were female. In total a whopping 54% of those that took part said they were opposed to the scheme from day one (30% were supportive and 16% were unsure). Furthermore, now that it is implemented, opposition is still sitting at 54% but the number of people who are supportive is now 40%.
This result, however, hides one factor – women were slightly less likely to oppose the scheme – only 49% did so (46% were supportive).
It is important not to stereotype those who are against the scheme as somehow being against road safety in general. Some said they wanted safer streets around schools and more said they wanted key 40 mph roads reduced to 30 mph (Lanark Road, Comiston Road/Buckstone Terrance/A702 were mentioned repeatedly). Despite being against the 20 mph scheme, several respondents also noted that Oxgangs Avenue should be reduced to 20 mph. Like the A702 and Lanark Road, Oxgangs Avenue is a road which physically divides a community, and makes it harder for young children to walk safely to school and/or local parks.
In summary, whilst the 20 mph scheme may remain unpopular, in many households support is growing. Furthermore, even those that still have concerns feel there is more to be done to make our capital’s streets safer.