Comment: Private cars will gain an advantage

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The news that Edinburgh’s new £776m tram system will have to obey new 20mph limits that are to be placed on key arteries through the Capital seems to make sense on one level. After all, if other road users have to stick to the new speed then why not trams?

But this development again opens up the issue of enforcement and how it plays into efforts to pull more people out of their cars and onto public transport.

One of the key reasons why commuters switch to public transport is speed. If it takes longer by car because of congestion, they will eventually leave their vehicle at home. This effect is clearly seen in London and other major cities where an efficient underground is always preferable.

The new Edinburgh speed limit will mean that trams always stick to 20mph. After all, drivers’ jobs will be on the line if they exceed it.

But car drivers may well not stick to 20mph – especially if they do not believe the limit is being rigorously enforced.

The result is that private vehicles will gain an advantage over buses and trams – unless it is properly enforced. And what about taxis? Do we really believe they will move around the city at 20mph?

This proposed change has huge support in residential areas. But some of the proposed limits on key arteries are controversial. The council needs to be sure it has considered all the unintended consequences before this policy is given the green light.

Community spirit

THE tragic death of Mikaeel Kular has shone a light on the community spirit in Muirhouse. When Mikaeel disappeared last year, the response of ordinary people of all ages who turned out to spend many hours searching for him was moving.

And now, 12 months on, the candlelit vigil to mark the anniversary, shows that sense of community is stronger than ever.