Edinburgh roads: Corstorphine traffic scheme 'makes roads busier, noisier and more polluted'

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Council chiefs say almost half of objectors come from outside area

Controversial traffic measures in Corstorphine have made streets in the area busier, noisier and more polluted, objectors have told the council. 

Nearly 80 per cent of comments on Corstorphine's low traffic neighbourhood, known as Corstorphine Connections, opposed the scheme. But council chiefs cautioned that almost half of the objections came from people who lived outside the project area.

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And they highlighted the findings of market research published in January, which focused on those living in the area and found residents supported the measures by two to one. Transport convener Scott Arthur claimed at the time it proved there was a "silent majority" who backed the scheme.

The bus gate on Manse Road has been the most controversial aspect of Corstorphine's low traffic neighbourhood scheme.The bus gate on Manse Road has been the most controversial aspect of Corstorphine's low traffic neighbourhood scheme.
The bus gate on Manse Road has been the most controversial aspect of Corstorphine's low traffic neighbourhood scheme.

The latest public response, which is being reported to Thursday's transport and environment committee, comes from the advertising of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) governing the scheme.

The report says: "During the ETRO advertising period (May 24 to November 23), 656 responses were received, with 516 objections. Of the responses which provided post codes (56 per cent of responses), 55 per cent were from people living within the project area and 45 per cent were from outside the project area."

Cllr Arthur said: "A lot of the people, we don't know whether they live in the area or not. But for the ones we do know about, around half of them are outside the area. It is important to put it in the context of market research, which was quite positive about the scheme.

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"When we look at these [latest] comments, of course we total up who's for and who's against. But  really, why these comments are important is what people are saying in terms of the issues they're raising and any changes we might want to make."

The comments have not all been analysed in detail yet. But Cllr Arthur said: "People feel there's more traffic on certain streets, it's noisier and there's more pollution."

He continued: "It's possible to confirm or otherwise some of that, using the data we have or will have, and probably unpick some of it. If some are concerned about air quality, if our monitoring shows that's not the case then perhaps we can place less emphasis on that. Likewise, if people are talking about speeding traffic and our evidence shows that's less of a concern than it was in the past, then we can place less emphasis on that.

"There are challenges for the scheme still, without a doubt.  Some streets do show higher levels of vehicle use but when you look at those levels in a broader context a lot of those streets, while traffic might have increased, are still quite quiet compared to other streets."

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Although the original ETRO advertising period is now over, changes to the scheme were made in January, triggering a new six-month advertising period, which will end on July 7.

The scheme - which includes traffic restrictions, a bus gate, wider pavements and more seating and planting - aims to stop drivers taking short cuts through residential streets and create a "safer and more comfortable environment" for those living in the area.

The most controversial aspect of it has been the bus gate on Manse Road at the junction with St John's Road, banning cars for several hours a day during the week. The CCTV camera enforcing the restrictions has been vandalised on multiple occasions.


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