This evening I attended a meeting of Councillors representing people along the proposed Lanark Road / Ingles Green Spaces for People Scheme. The meeting was chaired by the Transport Convener, but disappointingly the updated plans and consultation responses were not shared. Nor were we told how many people had responded to the consultation, but it was reported that the majority did object. It was also noted that a local petition which had raised concerns about the scheme had attracted “around 1000” signatures (1,344 actually).
It was explained that the aim of the scheme was to reduce congestion on the Canal Towpath and the Water of Leith Walkway. This appears to be based on anecdotes about usage in April, and an assertion that cycle traffic is still higher than normal. “Key Pinch Points” were noted as being Slateford Aqueduct and Harrision Park (no Water of Leith locations were mentioned). I asked if the plans were proportionate, and if the risks justified the use of Covid Powers. Although no evidence was tabled, it was argued that because the towpath was already busy pre-Covid then the plans are justified. Although I accept the towpath is/was busy (I broke my arm in a low-speed collision last year), I think a stronger argument needs to be made to justify the use of Covid Powers. Lessons have to be learned from the East Craigs debacle.
1. The revised plans will be published along with the consultation responses before the mid-November Transport Committee. Transport Convener said she would not permit any further consultation on the plans.
2. The floating bus stops will not be part of the “Phase 1” installation. As I reported on my Facebook page, the Council are working with Sustrans on developing a new “factsheet” on these, and as part of this they will carry out a workshop with relevant affected groups who have raised concerns. Once this is complete they will review Lanark Road and consider the installation of floating bus stops along the corridor. If this does take place it will be subject to a Road Safety Audit before installation. To be honest, I doubt a “new factsheet” will change my mind or that of anyone else.
3. The Transport Convener expressed disappointment that the wider Spaces for People initiative has not been allowed to “flourish” due to public concerns being raised and regretted that the Lanark Road scheme (along with others) had become a “flashpoint”.
4. Changes to the plans have been made to accommodate Cranley Nursery, Lanark Road Nursery and Dovecot Park. Although I requested these changes (along with many residents), it appears the Council has yet to contact Cranley Nursery and several other businesses along the route. The Golf Club has also not been contacted.
5. The Council accept they have not given a great deal of consideration to the nurseries, but they hope that the scheme will encourage people to cycle to both Cranley Nursery and Lanark Road Nursery.
6. A temporary pedestrian crossing at Dovecot Park is not possible.
7. It was reported that the proposed Lanark Road / Ingles Green Scheme was a “top priority” within the wider Spaces for People initiative. Nonetheless, if work gets underway as planned in mid January 2021 it will go live more than 10 months after lockdown started.
Present at the meeting
Cllr Lesley Macinnes (Transport Convener)
Council staff (x3)
Cllr Scott Arthur
Cllr Ricky Henderson
Cllr Gavin Corbett
Cllr Neil Gardiner
Cllr Andrew Johnston
Cllr David Key
Cllr Jason Rust
Present but did not speak
Cllr Karen Doran
Cllr Sue Webber
Did not / Could not attend
Cllr Ashley Graczyk
Cllr Cathy Fullerton
Cllr Denis Dixon
Cllr Donald Willson
Cllr Graeme Bruce
Cllr Phil Doggart