Edinburgh traffic plans: Council needs to get public on board about creating cleaner, greener city – Steve Cardownie

Edinburgh Council needs to listen to criticisms of its plans to make it easier to walk and cycle in the city, because some may be justified, writes Steve Cardownie.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 12:30 pm

Monday’s and yesterday’s paper carried articles by Edinburgh Council transport convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, and Green MSP Alison Johnstone who both extolled the virtues of the traffic initiatives currently being rolled out across Edinburgh, citing the benefits that they would bring.

Surely no-one can deny that a cleaner, greener city that encourages the use of public transport and caters for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians is a laudable aim. Citizens have a duty to themselves and generations to follow to ensure that Edinburgh is pollution-free, where the ability to cycle and walk safely along the city’s streets is taken for granted and is no longer just an aspiration and where local businesses flourish and the local economy is strong, convincing companies to locate here, boosted by our universities, colleges and our cultural sector.

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There is no doubt that the city’s ability to attract visitors is partly based on its history, architecture and the festivals and events that are on offer throughout the year and the city’s environment is of crucial importance in this regard.

Some transport infrastructure changes have attracted criticism, which may be justified. The proposed application of new traffic schemes in areas where local residents have voiced concerns such as in the case of East Craigs comes to mind, and some people are still to be convinced that they will ultimately benefit.

Politicians have already stated that they will listen to public opinion when determining which proposals will be temporary and which will be here to stay and hopefully that will be so.

However, it is very difficult to present a convincing case and get people on board if a sizeable chunk of the public believe that the changes will be imposed come what may.

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