Edinburgh set to be 20mph city

SPEED limits on major arteries – such as Leith Walk, Dalry Road and Portobello High Street – will be slashed under plans to make Edinburgh’s roads safer.

Leith Walk is one of the main roads that would see the speed limit cut to 20mph. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Leith Walk is one of the main roads that would see the speed limit cut to 20mph. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

In one of the biggest roadway shake-ups in decades, a huge swathe of city streets will become 20mph zones if proposals to cut speed limits are given the green light.

And the radical blueprint also includes plans to:

• Scrap free Sunday parking in the city centre;

• Introduce seven-day parking restrictions;

• Extend parking restriction times beyond 6.30pm, as it is in some parts of the city.

The planned overhaul would see Edinburgh become Scotland’s first “20mph city” and could mean the lower speed limit becomes default throughout the city centre and outlying areas.

Submissions would have to be made for streets to allow 30mph traffic.

The plans include restricting drivers to 20mph on many of the busiest arterial routes with only the busiest ones retaining their 30mph limit.

The move will be welcomed by road safety campaigners but is also likely to raise fears of dramatically increased journey times across the city..

A detailed map of Edinburgh’s set speed limits has been unveiled online.

The potential roll-out follows a pilot project in residential streets between Morningside, the Meadows, Holyrood Park and Blackford Hill which became 20mph areas in 2012. Transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said Edinburgh could be a trailblazer for progressive road safety policies.

She said: “Edinburgh is taking a very bold step in introducing slower speeds for so much of its roads and we’re aware that other cities in Scotland are watching our example keenly.

“There’s obviously a lot of work to be done to raise public awareness between now and the first new limits coming into effect.

“It’s undoubtedly a culture change for the whole city but we’re very encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve seen to the pilot project in south Edinburgh.

And she added: “Support for 20mph limits was already high before the pilot began but it increased even more once people tried out the slower speeds in practice.

“We were absolutely delighted with the huge response to our consultation in the autumn and it’s great to be moving on to the stage of finalising exactly which streets will become 20mph, provided the necessary Traffic Regulation Orders are secured.”

A public consultation suggests a majority of city residents back the plans, transport officials have claimed, which would see a handful of main roads retain their 30mph status to limit disruption to bus timetables.

Almost half of the 2585 consultation responses expressed strong support for the roll-out of 20mph zones, while just over a quarter were strongly opposed.

Police Scotland agreed to enforce the new speed limit, and transport chiefs said they were not ruling out introducing traffic calming measures if needed in order to force motorists to respect the new rules.

Detailed costs for signposting of the new speed limits will be published in March.

The bulk of speed cuts have been focused on 
residential and shopping streets but in reality few arteries in the city centre will allow 
motorists to travel faster than 20mph.

Only Queensferry Road, London Road and the West Approach Road will retain 30mph limits within central Edinburgh, alongside Minto Street and Dalkeith Road.

John Lauder, national director of active travel charity Sustrans Scotland, said the changes would encourage more residents to walk or cycle.

He said: “It is fantastic to see Edinburgh council rolling out 20mph speed limits across more and more streets in the Capital. Sustrans wants to see increasing numbers of people choosing to travel actively on an everyday basis, whether on foot or by bike, and we think that reducing traffic speeds is a key way to helping achieve this.

“Many other towns and cities across Scotland will no doubt be watching Edinburgh closely.Hopefully they will like what they see and learn from Edinburgh’s experience.”

The transport committee will vote on the radical 20mph proposals on January 13.

Main roads being reduced to 20mph (whole or part):

• Main Street (Silverknowes)

• Quality Street

• Cramond Road South

• Clermiston Road

• St John’s Road

• Meadow Place Road

• Corstorphine High Street

• Saughton Road North

• Stenhouse Drive

• Whitson Road

• Roseburn Street

• Russell Road

• Lower Granton Road

• Portobello High Street

• Abercorn Terrace

• Joppa Road

• Brighton Place

• Peffermill Road

• Mayfield Road

• Blackford Avenue

• Kilgraston Road

• Oswald Road

• Strathearn Road/Place

• Beaufort Road

• Grange Road

• Greenhill Gardens

• Church Hill

• Chamberlain Road

• Morningside Road

• Bruntsfield Place

• Gilmore Place

• Granville Terrace

• Polwarth Gardens

• Gorgie Road

• Slateford Road

• Dalry Road

• Comely Bank Road

• Belford Road

• Queensferry Terrace

• Queensferry Street

• Randolph Crescent

• Raeburn Place

• Broughton Place

• Broughton Road

• Leith Walk

• Pilrig Street

• Bonnington Road

• Great Junction Street

• East Hermitage Place

• Restalrig Road

• Lochend Road

• Sleigh Drive

• Craigentinny Road

• Restalrig Avenue

• Marionville Road

• Regent Road

• Canongate

• Holyrood Road

• Queen Street

• George Street

• Princes Street

• Dundas Street

• Frederick Street

• Hanover Street

• Castle Street

• The Mound

• Lothian Road

• Fountainbridge

• Melville Drive

• Marchmont Road

• Clerk Street

• St Leonard’s Street

• Buccleuch Street

• Lauriston Place

• Inverleith Row

• Henderson Row