Letters: Council is doing the right thing with 20mph zones

Installing speed bumps isn't as effective as 20mph zones. Picture: Bill Henry
Installing speed bumps isn't as effective as 20mph zones. Picture: Bill Henry
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Claims by the Institute of Advanced Motorists that only accident blackspots require lower speed limits fail to acknowledge the intimidating effects of vehicles in other areas with shops and residences.

Many cyclists and pedestrians are put off using some routes because of heavy traffic, and a reduction in speed limits will encourage more walking and cycling, reducing car use and improving public health. Rather than watering down the plans, roads legislators must use this opportunity to put right a number of flaws on our streets, so here is my manifesto:

1. No “pillows” for so-called traffic calming; all they do is cause drivers to swerve, often into the path of other vehicles and cyclists, in order to straddle the bump and maintain speed.

2. Mandatory one-year disqualification for pavement parking, which is illegal. It should be heavily penalised as it endangers pedestrians, particularly children, wheelchair and pram users, and damages footpaths.

3. Exclude heavy lorries from most suburban streets except trunk routes.

4. Introduce new legislation with a presumption that motor vehicle drivers are to blame for collisions with pedestrians or cyclists or other vulnerable road users. Drivers would have to prove they were driving with due care and attention.

5. The new 20mph limit should be enforced with heavy fines. Pedestrians and cyclists have endured aggressive speeding drivers for too long.

6. Minimal extra signage should be necessary; existing signs can be repainted cheaply and public notices taken out in the press and online.

There is now a clear sense in which normal courtesy between members of the public is suspended when on the road. By tackling speeding, which is a major cause of accidents and has a corrosive effect on our streets, the council is doing the right thing.

Bruce Whitehead, former transport campaigner, Friends of the Earth Scotland

Scots corporation tax is democratic answer

Donald McBride (Letters, December 12) states we should not have control of corporation tax in Scotland as it would run in competition with England and that Northern Ireland gets its own corporation tax to be able to compete with the Irish Republic.

How do the Former Soviet Union States manage to compete with each other and inter-trade since they became independent? I am amazed that so-called Scots can say it is better to let Westminster rule us directly like second class citizens. The easy answer would be to implement a federal system in the UK. But both main parties have always rejected this much more democratic system on the basis of greed and racism.

Colin Smail, Viewforth Gardens, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh

Pope’s Charlie Hebdo analogy was unwise

The Pope has his opinion (oh for the day when we write “her” opinion) and a right to express it, but was maybe less than wise to draw an analogy between the offence that radical Islam found in the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and the consequential murders, and someone punching a third party for insulting his mother.

Many, like myself, find the Pope’s evangelising of the Catholic Church’s world-betraying message on contraception as offensive – particularly when preached to uneducated poor in third world countries.

How would the average Catholic react if someone took offence at this, and punched the Pope? Unthinkable, I know, but for just how long will those of us with no religious belief have to put up with demands for special treatment and bullying from the world’s “great” religions?

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Thank you to all medics who cared for my sister

In these days of many complaints against the health service may I be allowed to give honour where it is definitely due.

My late sister was given the best of care and attention from June until the end of November from all concerned at the Ferguson Practices at Strathbrock Medical Centre, St John’s Hospital, the ERI renal department (Wards 206 and 204) and the Western General Hospital. The nurses, doctors and consultants all went the extra mile in spite of being rushed off their feet. They never lost their smiles and caring attitude.

My grateful thanks goes to all of them.

Mrs HI Smith, Pumpherston Road, Uphall Station, Livingston

Give input to schools traffic consultation

I was interested to note Susan Morrison’s comments in the Edinburgh Evening News (January 16) about parking outside schools. The council shares these concerns, as do a great many parents, schools and residents from all over Edinburgh.

In fact, we are currently carrying out a public consultation about rolling out new “school streets” restrictions which will cut the amount of traffic at up to 11 pilot primary schools at the start and end of the school day.

The measures are designed to improve safety around schools, create a better environment for schools and residents and encourage pupils and their parents or carers to look at active travel to get to and from school, such as walking, cycling or by scooter.

We’d be delighted to hear your views on these proposals – please go to www.edinburgh.gov.uk/consultations to have your say. The consultation runs until Friday, February 27 and will be supported by drop-in events at each of the pilot schools in the coming weeks.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport and environment convener, The City of Edinburgh Council