I refer to Mr Clark’s letter of March 8, in which the writer states that the public have been the victim of “alt-facts” around the new 20mph scheme, now in its second phase of roll-out.
While I am the target of his attack, I want to remind him that it was councillors on the Transport and Environment Committee who approved the scheme in the first place, not me alone.
Contrary to Mr Clark’s assertion, we are making every effort to raise awareness of the facts behind the scheme, and why lower speed limits can create a safer, more relaxed and environmentally friendly atmosphere on our residential and shopping streets.
Though some may be adamant that the city is opposed to the changes, our own consultation tells a different story, with 60% of respondents in favour.
What we really need to do is get the facts straight. Is this an attack on motorists? No. In fact, by maintaining a network of 30mph and 40mph arterial routes across the city, we want to help keep drivers moving.
There is absolutely no basis to Mr Clark’s claim that a 10 minute car journey will increase to 15 minutes in a 20mph area. In fact, extensive journey time research – in Edinburgh and in other cities – will have little impact on journey times. Of course a racing car driving in a straight line along a track would be slower at 20mph than 30mph, but that’s not how a city works.
Our own journey testers, who took six typical routes from the city centre to the suburbs at 20mph and again at 30mph, found increases of less than a minute. Research shows that at slower speeds, vehicles actually flow more smoothly through junctions, with reduced acceleration and braking – in turn reducing emissions.
Just as importantly, by creating calmer roads, we hope to encourage more people to walk and cycle around Edinburgh. What better way is there to reduce pollution than leaving the car at home?
I am completely aware that people have different views but these are the facts, not the alt-facts. All we want to achieve is a better city for all those who live in, visit and work here.
Cllr Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener, City Chambers, Edinburgh