Spaces for People pavement extension in Edinburgh's Broughton Street is ludicrously small and dangerous – Steve Cardownie

It’s all very well for the supporters of the Spaces for People (SfP) initiative to shout from the rooftops about how good it is, but we are continually confronted with examples of where the measures make no sense and which bring the whole exercise into disrepute.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 4:55 am
This Spaces for People project is designed to widen the pavement on Edinburgh's Broughton Street, but Steve Cardownie suggests it is so small that pedestrians will not use it (Picture: Steve Cardownie)

The principle of SfP is sound – it is its application which has caused the problem.

Little or no consultation with stakeholders, misplaced disabled parking bays, floating bus stops, parking restrictions outside shopping streets and senseless pavement widening measures have ensured that the whole process has been mired in controversy.

The photo accompanying this article was taken by me on Broughton Street and defies logic. Not only is it ludicrously small and will be shunned by pedestrians, it also forces cyclists into the flow of traffic, making it a traffic hazard rather than a traffic aid.

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Did nobody stop to think how patchy this particular measure was and call for a re-think? There are other examples of solutions in search of a problem peppered throughout the city and which have caused a great deal of head-scratching.

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Spaces for People scheme must be improved, not removed - Lorna Slater

SfP is on the agenda of tomorrow’s full council meeting and councillors will be given the opportunity to express their view and make informed decisions (hopefully) about where we go from here.

There is much to commend some aspects of the scheme, just as there is much to condemn the way that this issue has been handled. What is needed now is an objective appraisal of what should be retained and what should be jettisoned.

What is not needed is a decision fuelled by dogma.

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