Where is the vision to redesign our capital streets for people ? - Helen Martin

Disabled people in Edinburgh, and a couple of the charities who represent them, are protesting that Spaces for People is making outdoor movement risky and hazardous for those with guide dogs, those in wheelchairs and pedestrians with mobility difficulties.

By Helen Martin
Monday, 21st June 2021, 7:00 am
The Spaces For People project in Edinburgh has proved controversial with some aspects of the scheme to be dropped. PIC: Lisa Ferguson

Council officials are now recommending Spaces for People (SfP) should be scrapped in major shopping districts, which is not surprising since many retailers objected and claimed it was harming their business. Meanwhile, at the time of writing, almost 17,000 city residents have signed the petition against the scheme.

An interesting reader’s letter from Mr K Clark quoted Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes saying 45 per cent of Edinburgh citizens had no access to a private car. That seemed very strange for our city, often labelled affluent, given that national Transport Statistics report 72 per cent of households in the country had at least one car for private use.

Drivers are complaining about congestion, often in residential areas, and how SfP re-routes are creating much longer driving and more emissions.

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For many areas of Edinburgh with narrow, cobbled and curving streets, it’s not a natural fit to accommodate buses, cycle paths and wider pavements in the same way other cities do. Are there not experts somewhere in the UK or Europe who have the talent to redesign such an old, cultural city and its roads differently from London, Manchester or Glasgow?

This poor replanning of roads has become a Capital mess with questionable results thrown up by a public consultation. The Council may be up for rejecting the opinions of Conservative councillors, but they should not ignore the majority of the population.

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