Why change the city so much now? – Helen Martin

RETAILERS and people in Paisley are protesting against their council’s extension of pavements, banning of cars and installation of cycle lanes, as the same is happening in several areas of Edinburgh.

The installation of more and wider cycle lanes is not universally popular
The installation of more and wider cycle lanes is not universally popular

I admit I’ve included this in several recent columns with people both agreeing and raging at me, but I have one other question I’d like to ask now.

Why was the coronavirus period – now heading for at least a year – the right time to rush all this through rather than having thorough discussions with communities, other councillors and retailers, disabled drivers, working traders, to get it right and avoid angry protests and challenges or creating more “wars” between drivers and cyclists?

The plus points of the scheme were improving cycling safety and the environment, but there is less traffic now in this busy, capital city anyway, with people working from home, fairly empty buses and fewer pedestrians. And cars are safer transport in viral terms.

Banning deliveries, trade vans who need to park with gear and materials, and car parking is not helping city shops, restaurants, businesses etc, while the Council is encouraging everyone to support local firms after lockdown. Buses have been re-routed with difficulties passing each other, and cars unable to pass them at stops causes polluting jams.

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So, wouldn’t it have been better for councils and the government to hold cash back to deal with Covid-19 and postpone the road, pavement and route alterations until this was over?