Edinburgh has made Spaces for People, but what about Spaces for Ambulances?! – Hayley Matthews

I had a wee moan a few months back about the Spaces for People road changes throughout the city and, after some recent events I have to admit, I really haven't changed my mind.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 4:55 am
Roads narrowed to make more room for pedestrians and cyclists could be causing problems for the emergency services, says Hayley Matthews (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Roads narrowed to make more room for pedestrians and cyclists could be causing problems for the emergency services, says Hayley Matthews (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

I still think it's a waste of space and for so many reasons.

I totally get that it's to help everyone social distance, walk about the city uncrowded but, seriously, do we really need to be taking up half the road?

The roads are already hard to drive on with a heavy traffic flow in the city so do we really need to be making those in the centre of town even harder to navigate than they already are?

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I can't tell you the number of times I've been close to hitting a barrier on a road that I haven't driven on for a while, expecting it to be "normal" and half-way down I find myself veering closer to a row of slim dark bollards that I had no idea where there.

And if you're scoffing at this, trust me, my bad driving is the least of your worries. Your concern should be how on Earth emergency vehicles are to get past narrow streets with bollards that stop traffic pulling over the letting the nee-naw cars past.

Seriously, the emergency services must be ripping their hair out. It's hard enough to get some drivers to move out the way of a flashing, siren blaring, emergency vehicle coming up behind them due to being stuck in traffic, but now, you can't move aside on most streets in the city due to the useless bollards that are "Spaces for People".

What about Spaces for Ambulances or Spaces for Fire Engines or even Spaces for Police cars? What about them?

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I genuinely believe that, by now, most people are able to pause and let someone past or walk behind them should the pavement be a little crowded. We get it, we know how to socially distance outside, but on the roads, we need space for the emergency vehicles. I'm sick of saying it!

When will the council admit they have made a total booboo with the roads and demolish the bollards? I reckon they're here to stay as the council try harder to make it impossible for the average Jo and family to drive a car in the city.

Just look at the situation on the bridges recently. Videos circulating of an emergency vehicle unable to get by just add weight to my argument that narrowing the road in such a heavily populated area is a recipe for disaster.

I know it wasn't purely as a result of the Spaces for People that cars couldn't move out the way, it was roadworks too and the bridges were gridlock as emergency vehicles struggled to get anywhere.

It's almost everywhere in the city and it's now becoming a joke! Don't even get me started on the pavement layout on Duke Street at Leith Links – if you're a bus trying to get round the corner, I hope you can bend in the middle, cause you'll need to!

I genuinely haven't heard one single person say they're delighted that the pavement are wider, so I have this to say to Edinburgh Council: if you're trying to stop the car owners coming into town then you need to do something that's not going to cost the lives of those in the back of an ambulance trying to get to A&E – and get that junction on Duke Street sorted before a cyclist is injured!

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