Edinburgh low traffic neighbourhood: 'Fewer fines show people ready to follow rules'

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A drop in the number of fines issued in a controversial Edinburgh low traffic neighbourhood has been hailed as evidence that drivers are more aware of the rules and ready to follow them.

The Corstorphine Connections scheme, which involves traffic restrictions, a bus gate, wider pavements and more seating and planting, has been a hot issue since before it was launched in May 2023.

The Manse Road bus gate is the most controversial aspect of the Corstorphine low traffic neighbourhood.The Manse Road bus gate is the most controversial aspect of the Corstorphine low traffic neighbourhood.
The Manse Road bus gate is the most controversial aspect of the Corstorphine low traffic neighbourhood.

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More than £50,000 worth of fines were handed out in the first full month of operation. That was said by critics to prove the scheme wasn’t working and there were complaints that the restrictions were not clear enough.

But figures released under Freedom of Information show that the number of fixed penalty notices issued has come down significantly. In June 2023, some 2,298 fines were handed out and in July another 2,293.

The camera monitoring the bus gate in Manse Road - the most controversial aspect of the scheme - was out of action after being vandalised September and October. But in November the number of fines came down to 1,692 before rising again in December to 1,972 and then falling to 1,448 in January and 1,020 in February.

Transport and environment convener Scott Arthur said: “The low traffic neighbourhood has been introduced to make the area much safer and more accessible for everyone who is walking, wheeling and cycling in the area.

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 “The fact the number of penalty charges being issued has gone down is a good sign. It suggests many drivers are more aware of the changes and following them, but we need to remember when we look at these figures that there have been occasions when cameras have been out of operation.

 “As time goes by we’ll be able to build up a clearer picture using the data, as more and more people adjust to the changes.” But he said the number of fines being handed out was still too high.

Locals have complained that the main effect of the scheme has been to shift traffic to what were previously quiet roads and made them much busier.

Cllr Arthur said in January that market research conducted for the council had found “a silent majority” in favour of the low traffic neighbourhood, with supporters outnumbering opponents by two to one among those ho live within the scheme’s boundaries. But campaigners said the findings were not reliable because of they way the survey had been carried out, only asking pedestrians for their views.

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Cllr Arthur said: “I know the restrictions can be an inconvenience for some people, but they have resulted in over 1400 fewer vehicles per day using Manse Road on school days. This is important as Manse Road is a key walking route to school where the footway is only a little over two feet wide.

“The restrictions are a part of a trial road safety scheme in the area, and I always welcome ideas from local residents on how it can be further improved.”

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