Amendment to the Council’s report on retaining Spaces for People Schemes in Edinburgh

Below is the amendment agreed by the Labour Group on Monday to the Council’s report on retaining Spaces for People Schemes in Edinburgh. I support this despite the following reservations with respect to the schemes that touch on my Ward:

  1. The public should be involved in the further review of the Braid Road and Comiston Road schemes, and these should be considered together.
  2. Many will welcome the removal of the Lanark Road scheme, but I would have preferred greater dialogue with the local community about this as there may be some aspects they want retained.
  3. I’m concerned that a way could not be found to do more to improve the environment for pedestrians.

There has been a lack of clarity for some time regarding the aims the Braid Road and Comiston Road schemes. The reviews need to clearly define this, and work with residents to establish the best way forward.

I can’t say if the amendment below will be accepted, but I do hope that it is part of the discussion at the Transport & Environment Committee and that all the Councillors there can reach consensus on a way forward that meets Edinburgh’s needs.

Amendment as agreed by the Labour Group in Edinburgh.

Committee:

  • Welcomes the high level of public engagement through the consultation and recognises the complexity of competing needs expressed around road space allocation, particularly in ensuring accessibility.
  • Notes that officer recommendations are based on:
    • Public consultation
    • Market Research
    • Stakeholder surveys
    • Assessment against previously agreed criteria
    • Assessment in light of existing transport policy and direction
  • To better reflect the consultation responses of residents and businesses, in particular where feedback has been fairly definitive in the views of respondents, Committee agrees to:
    • Remove the scheme at Lanark Road, as one of this scheme’s main purposes was to relieve lockdown pressure on the water of Leith paths. However requests officers retain the speed limit at 30mph which has improved safety for all residents and consider any actions to minimise conflict on the water of Leith path-users at this section.   
    • Ask officers to further engage with the local residents and community reps ahead of an ETRO to further address resident parking pressure along the Longstone Corridor.
    • Bring a report to the next Transport and Environment Committee on options for modifications to Silverknowes Road South, including the removal of the scheme.
    • Bring a report to the next Transport and Environment Committee on options for Comiston Road, to improve public transport connectivity and reduce impacts on local residents.
    • Bring a report to the next Transport and Environment Committee on options for modifications to Drum Brae North based on the concerns expressed through the consultation.
    • Bring a report to the next Transport and Environment Committee on options for retaining Forrest Road and George IV Bridge, based on the support identified in the consultation, until the permeant scheme can be implemented- including options to accelerate the delivery of those schemes.
    • Bring a report to the next Transport and Environment Committee on Braid Road, with options for the reopening of the road in both directions, including analysis of impacts on traffic levels, resident connectivity and vulnerable road users walking, wheeling and cycling.
    • Improve signage at West Harbour Road/West Shore Road to more clearly inform motorists of the closure and increase disabled parking bays at the closer point to improve disabled access.
  • Agree the remaining recommendations for schemes as set out in the report however also agrees to:
    • Continue to work with Living Streets, local businesses and the access panel to explore long term replacements for the Shopping Streets schemes being removed to give adequate safe space for pedestrians.
    • Continue to make any changes required to improve safety and accessibility for residents and disabled people for all other schemes progressing to an ETRO through those statutory processes.

19 thoughts on “Amendment to the Council’s report on retaining Spaces for People Schemes in Edinburgh

  1. Is it appropriate to treat consultation as a referendum-by-proxy on such measures? I would suggest any interpretation of the consultation into a binary position (% for vs % against) is simplistic and unhelpful.

    The apparent widespread objection to floating bus stops and parking bays as points of principle effectively translates to a moratorium on direct, segregated cycle lanes.

    I struggle to understand from your blog posts and other social media what your idea of safe cycling infrastructure in Edinburgh would look like. The council have not handled this well, but I’ve yet to hear opposing views articulated at a level of detail that would suggest a plausible alternative to “more consultation = net responses against = sorry guv, fix the potholes instead”.

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    • Craig,
      I have argued for safe segregated cycle lanes for many years – I’ve tried to win hearts and minds on the issue.

      The Council made mistakes on SFP, and then went on to repeat them time-and-time again. They didn’t care about hearts and minds!

      Floating bus stops were a great example – it could not even enter an honest debate about them!

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      • Thanks for the reply. I’d be interested in what you’ve found effective when seeking to win hearts and minds.

        Too few seem to want to grasp the nettle and accept that re-balancing the transport hierarchy – whether that’s cycle lanes, better pedestrian spaces or shorter journey times for buses – can’t be done without inconveniencing private motorists significantly.

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      • What segregated cycle lanes did we get in the South of Edinburgh when Labour led the council? Now, when we’ve got an SNP leader of the council and an SNP transport convener, we get several segregated cycle lanes. But of course they’re not good enough for you, are they? Whether it’s the parking space ‘in the middle of the road’ for the couple who live in a lovely detached house with off-street parking or the floating bus stops which present far less dangerous for the elderly than a walk through the Meadows or Holyrood Park ever would, there’s always some issue.

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  2. It’s incredibly disappointing to hear that the segregated cycle lanes on Lanark Road are going to be removed. I used them multiple times and did not notice any issues with them. It’s also worth remembering that this is a road that a cyclist was killed on not that long ago.

    Does it not matter to you that people without an internet connection could not participate in the consultation? Do the views of the digitally excluded not matter to you?

    You should put 3.5% next to your name on Twitter. It is evident that the views of just 3.5% of Edinburgh’s population can force the council to make significant changes. FBPE maybe wasn’t your thing, but 3.5% most certainly is.

    You’re lucky in the sense that you’ve got a fancy new motor to drive around in. A full reopening of Braid Road would probably suit you. But the problem is you’re ignoring the views of those who don’t drive (the majority of Edinburgh’s population), and who really appreciate the segregated cycle lanes introduced through Spaces for People.

    Edinburgh was the most congested city in the UK in 2018 & 2019. It’s never been a great place to drive a car in. But at least with Spaces for People it became a more enjoyable place to cycle in. Sadly though, I think you’d rather we went back to the way things were before when Edinburgh was a poor place to drive and cycle in. What a shame.

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      • To respond to your first point, I did read your comments about Lanark Road. It may surprise you, but I actually read the whole article! I was expressing my view about the Lanark Road scheme, saying I find it disappointing the scheme will be removed. In the article, all you said is you thought there should’ve been more consultation with the local community, which I agree with, but you never actually gave your personal stance on the removal of the Lanark Road segregated cycle lanes.

        In response to your second comment, I do not think that all digitally excluded people support my view. I was simply pointing out that an online-only consultation will never be able to reflect the true views of Edinburgh’s population. Only an election can do that.

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  3. Trying – really trying – to keep an assumption that you’re acting in good faith, Scott… but you have posted a video of you arguing how “torturous” it was to cycle, safely & with kids, from your ward to parliament.

    3 years later, with safe (do you disagree, specifically on that point?), segregated cycle lanes on direct routes (Lanark Road, Comiston Road) from suburban wards to the city centre, the Labour group is pushing for their removal.

    whether you personally support their removal or just can’t get over your dissatisfaction with the process by which they came about, is still obscure to me from your comments here and elsewhere.

    regardless, the outcome is a significant step backwards for active travel in the city.

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      • Scott, do you think that the community could actually agree on a useful cycle lane? I understand where you’re coming from, but sometimes, like with the smoking ban, underage drinking etc. you can’t just ask people what they want, and have to show leadership instead. The interesting thing about the Lanark Road lane is that it makes no difference at all to the traffic flow, since all the bus stops remain outside the active lanes, and there are the same number of active lanes as before. Combined with 98% of the properties having private driveways and there being 100 free on-street parking bays retained, what more could people want really, other than the feeling that they were consulted?

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  4. What is point of commenting when my comments are removed. I am not using any inflammatory language just stating opinions and facts. I am afraid nobody wants to listen anyway.

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  5. OK I do not know what happened then.
    Anyway. What I was saying in that comment was that Cominston Rd scheme is the least disrupting one and could stay provided that dangerous bollards are removed an replaced with something more safe and less disrupting.
    Braid Rd – Remove ASAP. No point, dangerous does not help anybody.
    Hermitage Dr. mess remove ASAP. Dangerous. Partial restriction on parking would create space for both cyclists and cars. I have used that road and Braid Ave to get to city centre very safely.
    I do not see any reason for monkey business created which at the end is more dangerous.

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