It has been a wee while since I provided an update on the Spaces for People project – basically because the whole thing appears to have stalled. In this vacuum, a bit of misinformation has been circulating. Within that context it is important to note four things:
- No party has ever asked for all Spaces for People schemes to be removed.
- All parties have supported the installation of at least some schemes.
- All parties have supported at least some schemes at least some of the time.
- Covid-19 is no longer the justification for the schemes.
The November 2021 Transport & Environment Committee meeting set the direction of travel for the schemes impacting on my Ward – Lanark Road (the Oct 2021 decision was confirmed), Buckstone Terrace (A702), Braid Road (not actually in my Ward) and the two primary schools (Bonaly & Buckstone).
It was agreed to progress this scheme to an ETRO. The process provides a statutory framework and public engagement process (not a homemade consultation) to consider any future changes to the scheme.
It was agreed to also progress this scheme to an ETRO. It was agreed at the Transport Committee that changes to Braid Road and Comiston Road are impacting on delays to public transport on Comiston road (my video evidence here). The agreed solution to this was to remove a large section of the cycle lane and replace it with a bus lane.
This will progress to an ETRO, and be reopened to two-way traffic. This will only happen, however, after a pedestrian crossing (agreed pre-covid) is installed at The Hermitage.
A School Travel Plan Review is underway for all schools. This piece of work will be carried out over the next 24 months. The aim of the review is to develop a 5 year action plan with parents, children and the schools to make the routes and streets surrounding the schools safer and to encourage more active travel. Schools with temporary Spaces for People measures are being prioritised and the survey for Buckstone and Bonaly has started. Residents will be involved once the initial plan is developed.
Clearly, November 2021 was 5 months ago so it is only right that people should wonder what is happening. On the 3rd of February I was told that the ETRO consultations would start by the end of that month, and later I was told mid-March. To date, I have seen no visible progress.
The latest update I have for the schools was from mid-March, at that point I was told for Buckstone that “We are currently in dialogue with the school about the future of the Spaces for People measures at Buckstone as well as road safety issues on the wider routes to school”. I understand, however, that there has been no contact with the school since November. I expect the same applies to Bonaly.
So what’s causing the delay? Clearly, the Transport Committee should be doing more to scrutinise these projects. The underlying issue is, however, that the workload exceeds the staff resources available.