Let’s transform our streets for a greener and safer future - Lorna Slater

Out streets are for all of us, and I want Edinburgh to be the kind of city where as many people as possible can feel safe on our roads and enjoy the benefits of cycling.
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna SlaterMinister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, Lorna Slater

Our neighbourhoods should be safe places for children to walk, wheel, cycle and play. But, with high levels of traffic and too many unsafe junctions, there is a lot to do. Too many people feel they putting themselves at risk trying to get around.

Cycling isn’t just a way of getting from A to B. It’s fun and good for our planet, and it can open up so many possibilities.

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Every time someone chooses to leave their car at home they are making a positive choice for our local environment. None of us benefit from air pollution or congested roads. But if we are to change habits we need to ensure it is easy and safe.

That’s why Scotland is spending record amounts on safer routes and transforming our streets for active travel. That investment was secured as a result of the cooperation agreement that brought the Scottish Greens into government for the first time, and is part of our vision for a greener and safer future.

There are positive changes happening all around us. Only two weeks ago my Scottish Green colleague, Patrick Harvie, joined councillors and campaigners at Haymarket for the opening of the City Centre West to East Link cycle corridor.

Stretching from Roseburn to Leith Walk, it is one of the biggest active travel routes anywhere in Edinburgh and offers a safe and fast alternative to cars in one of the busiest parts of our city. It will help to make our city centre safer, cleaner and more welcoming for years to come.

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These kinds of ambitious and groundbreaking projects have a crucial role to play in encouraging people out of their cars and making cycling a healthy and natural choice for shorter journeys.

But big projects like this are only part of the story. They must be delivered alongside smaller ones like local low-traffic measures, especially near schools and on residential streets where people can get used to cycling.

This is the reason I am saddened by Edinburgh City Council’s decision to remove traffic controls from the Braid estate and dismantle the well used Quiet Route from Greenbank to the Meadows. This is in spite of how well used this quiet route has become by commuters and children and families for whom it provides a safe, fun and quick way of getting to Gillespie’s.

For too long our streets have been designed for driving rather than living. I hope we can build an Edinburgh that is safer and more accessible for all of us and where more people feel confident cycling on our roads.

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