Comment: Leave the main routes unchanged

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THE introduction of 20mph zones across Edinburgh is on the way. Today the city council has published a key report that sets out which roads should have their speed limits reduced. The answer is simple: almost all of them.

This newspaper supports the lowering of speed limits in residential areas. Accidents will reduce, streets will be safer to play in for children, and pollution will be lower. Cyclists will also benefit.

However, we need to be careful in just how far we extend this.

Do we really want Leith Walk at 20mph? Queen Street? Willowbrae Road? Joppa Road? Old Dalkeith Road?

These are key arterial routes in and out of the city, not only for commuters, but for businesses.

Drivers are against the idea of a blanket 20mph speed limit on urban roads, according to research published by road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

The good news is that city chiefs already accept that the results of the public consultation will lead to changes in the plan. So, if you are concerned about how your local road has been zoned contact the city council now – it has assured the public it is prepared to listen.

But listening brings us to an interesting point. Local councils have the power to introduce 20mph zones without asking the Scottish Parliament for permission. But who exactly is demanding this change?

If the Edinburgh Evening News is any barometer, the issues our readers care about are potholes, bad parking, trams and motorists and cyclists ignoring red lights. No-one is petitioning on 20mph zones, a change which will, after all, cost around £2.5 million to implement.

So, yes, let’s make our residential streets safer for all. But the main routes which allow commuters from all parts of the city, as well as East, West and Midlothian, to travel into town should be left unchanged.