The Future of Spaces for People in Edinburgh?

The online engagement exercise looking at the future of Spaces for People schemes was launched today at 2pm and will close at midnight on the 21 March 2021 (now extended to the 5th of April). The council say this consultation “will help inform any proposals to keep changes in place more permanently”.

“In line with our wider ambitions to create a green, healthy and well-connected future for the Capital, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to get from A to B using sustainable, active modes of transport. With these ambitions in mind, we’re asking residents if they’d like to see some of the schemes introduced as part of the Spaces for People programme, or elements of them, retained or removed.”

City of Edinburgh Council

There are three stands of engagement, each with a separate questionnaire:
• Stakeholders
• Businesses
• General Public

The public questionnaire will be accessible through the Council’s consultation hub, as will the questionnaire for businesses. All three questionnaires will be available on request in regular print, large print, braille and translated into other languages.

Concurrently, there will be a piece of market research undertaken in the city on the same topic, conducted by an independent market research company (I have asked about the cost).

The Council will be holding briefings and engaging with various stakeholders directly, including:
• Representatives from the access panel and equalities groups;
• Business community;
• Emergency services;
• Community Councils;
• Transport Organisations;
• Heritage Groups; and,
• Transport Advocacy Groups.

The Council has provided the perspectives below from residents. These views are all valid, but I don’t feel there fully reflect the range of views in Edinburgh on the Spaces for People projects.

Teresa Holligan said: “I understand the anxiety around an apparent lack of consultation over the Braid Road closure, but given the urgency required during the pandemic I was pleased to see swift action and I am delighted with the closure. I have lived at the ‘top’ end of the Buckstone estate for 32 years and make regular journeys to Morningside and my allotment at Midmar. At the start of the pandemic I stopped using buses and relied on my car, but with the new cycle lanes and the closure of a section of Braid Road I now feel able, for the first time ever, to make these almost daily journeys safely by bike, and am doing so. This is obviously healthier for me, the people around me and our environment. I hope that the Council will find a way to make safe cycling routes from Fairmilehead and Buckstone into the city a permanent feature of our transport network.”

Dave McCraw said: “As a family with young children attending the Lanark Road nursery who also commute on the A70 we seem to be forever on this stretch of road. As it exists today it is extremely hazardous to cross on foot, such that we do not use the bus or at any time allow grandparents to handle the nursery run (unless they were driving door to door). Under the proposed scheme, we would happily allow grandparents to take our children to nursery by bus. We often cycle, especially in the summer months when it is dry. Unfortunately the lack of safe street lighting on the Water of Leith path combined with the horrific mud finds us doing a two mile drive to nursery more often than we’d like. We have considered taking our children to a different nursery because the A70 both makes it extremely difficult to access nursery except by car and detracts from the setting of the nursery in general. With the benefit of a 30mph two lane road with excellent active travel provision, the nursery will find itself in even greater demand. All of this is to say: the changes proposed to the Lanark Road will allow us to keep cycling through the winter instead of driving.”

Colin Fischbacher said: “I usually cycle both for travel and work and I know from speaking to colleagues that the main reason people with bikes are reluctant to cycle more in Edinburgh is concern about the safety of cycling in traffic. That’s particularly true on a road like Lanark Road where as you cycle, cars may be passing close to you at 40mph. I think that better provision of cycle lanes is a vital measure to encourage more cycling. A painted line is nice, but a physical barrier is even better.”

Mike Livesley said: “The recently installed cycle lane and segregation on Duddingston Road has vastly improved the quality of life for my family travelling to and from school before the recent lockdown, and will continue to do so once the restrictions are lifted. We are a family with no car and currently travel from Rosefield Place in Portobello to Duddingston Primary where my eldest son (6 years old, p2) is a student. As we have to travel quite far, cycling has always been a popular option as I can also take my youngest son (2) on the back of my bicycle, however until the installation of the cycle lane, Duddingston Road was always far too dangerous to entertain cycling with my son and was scary enough at the best of times on my own, with always a block of parked cars on both sides of the road by St John’s School and Nursery, with opening car doors an additional hazard. However this was transformed with the new cycle lane and has allowed my son and I to cycle together and to greatly improve his confidence and ability to cycle safely on the roads.”

Barbara Kerr said: “I live just off the Links and regularly cycle in the area. Before Links Gardens was closed to provide Spaces for People I avoided it a lot. It was really busy with cars, and drivers tended to ignore me at the narrow bits as I was on a bike and they thought they could squeeze through even though I had right of way. Now it is a joy to cycle along that way. It is such a short section, but provides a really important link to the shared use paths on the Links and towards the Water of Leith Cycle way. Before I would be on the road trying to keep up with traffic on East Hermitage place and Duke street, now I use Links Gardens and the shared use path instead.”

Colin McLean, Head Teacher at James Gillespie’s Primary School, said: “The Greenbank to Meadows Quiet Route allows students and staff to cycle, walk and wheel more safely to James Gillespie’s Primary School and Nursery. Our school community has worked hard over a number of years to encourage cycling, walking and wheeling which are known to improve life-long health and wellbeing and improve air pollution in our neighbourhood. Whilst we have one of the highest number of students travelling in this way, we know that many families still consider the road network too dangerous for young children to cycle. The new road safety measures are a game changer to reassure families that it is safe. The Quiet Route will allow us to run our bike- and walking-buses in greater safety and will reduce the risk of accidents involving children and vehicles. We hope that these can now run daily rather than weekly or monthly. We hope that the Quiet Route approach can be expanded into a Low Traffic Neighbourhood approach over time and this will allow students and staff from all parts of the city to reach our school safely and using active travel.”

You can submit your views here.

The Council press release:


13 thoughts on “The Future of Spaces for People in Edinburgh?

  1. Scott,

    It is outstanding how you keep residents informed. Thank you.

    You have included the 6 (biased) views of residents. I can’t find them elsewhere. Did the council just send them to councillors?


    Sent from my iPad



    • I would agree with you, Scott Arthur is fantastic at keeping his constituents up to date.

      It’s funny though how despite over 7,500 people signing a petition to ensure the Spaces for People schemes are not made permanent, the council were only able to provide the views of those in favour of Spaces for People.

      I am very supportive of the Spaces for People program and would like to see schemes like the Comiston Road cycle lanes made permanent, but it’s disappointing when the council only provide the views of people supporting one side of the argument (in favour) rather than both sides of the argument (in favour and against).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Who are “the council”? Unelected officials clearly had those plans to hand and implemented them. No councillor stood and put them before the electorate at last elections. What is the point of voting at local government elections in Edinburgh??? Could I suggest a boycott of the next elections followed by a non payment council tax rebellion until we get some meaningful representation???


  3. Are these comments real people? as the Lanark Road Nursery ones seems fake news ! its dangerous as are all the floating car parking spaces


  4. Dear Councillor Scott Arthur,

    Thank you so much for installing segregated motorbike lanes in Edinburgh. I recently moved here from Belarus and got a moped. I have been using the Comiston Road motorbike lanes everyday on my commute to work. The other day, I saw a cyclist using the motorbike lane, and I gave him a peep of my horn and he still didn’t get out the motorbike Lane. I eventually had to make an emergency stop as I was about to crash into the stupid cyclist dangerously using the motorbike lane. He said I was a stupid dangerous rider. The only idiot was him!

    There’s quite a few motorbike lanes in Edinburgh. It is fantastic! The other day Comiston Road when I was travelling to work the Comiston Road was heavily congested but I managed to beat the traffic by riding in the motorbike lane! I had 3 cars peep at me as I flew past them in the motorbike lane and one driver open his window and shout abuse at me which wasn’t very nice.

    Please can you install more motorbike lanes in the city. Thanks.


  5. Dear Cooncilor Scott Arthurr,

    I wilnae be vataing for yair partie in May becuase im no happy wae Anas Sarrwad and the direction ae Labour. Youve got too many yoong candidates who are irritattingly wokke. Some oh yair bag names, mainlie Johan Larmont and Iann Grae are leaving Holyrood. A dinnae like Maddie Kirkmann and a vate frae Labor could risk getting herr eelected. Althou I amnae in the topp 5%, I beleve rasping taxis for themm wold dae mare harm thaen goad. Thay’d all mave Doon Sooth. Amas Saarwad needs tae smiley more. He alwaes caimes acroas as miserabble. 


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