Safer cycling and quieter roads in Edinburgh sound good to me – Daniel Johnson MSP

Edinburgh’s Spaces for People project has caused problems that need to be fixed, but it also has some good ideas, writes Daniel Johnson MSP

More road space for cyclists is important (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
More road space for cyclists is important (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

When it comes to controversial issues, I have an uncanny knack of finding a position that upsets both sides of the debate. It’s not a great skill as a politician but let me apply it to the current controversy around Spaces for People.

Changing use of road space to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists is important. But the lack of detail in the plans and the complete lack of consultation or impact analysis has caused problems. In my constituency the gridlocking that has occurred on Comiston Road because of the combination of these measures with the closure of Braid Road is a real concern. The significant increase in idling traffic outside local schools needs urgent action.

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It is only right, therefore, that colleagues on the council have signalled that they will review and revise plans. But I have to say, it is very unhelpful when some parties on the council treat these issues as purely binary. Surely we can keep the cycle lanes and fix issues like bizarrely placed disabled bays. Likewise, just because there have been issues with previous plans should not lead to new ones being dismissed out of hand.

Looking at the proposed “Quiet Routes”, I am actually quite excited by what they could do, getting rid of through traffic on side roads to create routes that are safe for cyclists. The proposed routes take you all the way in to the centre of the city and could encourage lots of people to use their bikes who don’t like cycling in traffic.

Of course the detail is important and consultation is required. But let’s look at each proposal on its merits, Safer routes for cyclists and quieter roads for residents sounds good to me.

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