Community survey overwhelmingly rejects Edinburgh City Council LTN proposals

A community group has carried out their own independent survey which appears to show a monumental rejection for Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) proposals in the East Craigs/Craigmount area.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:57 pm

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The group dug into their own pockets in the middle of a pandemic after they suspected Edinburgh City Council of renewing an attempt to force a revised and unwanted LTN on their community.

Get Edinburgh Moving (GEM) is a group that is made up of residents from the East Craigs Craigmount area who are asking for the council to work with them to bring about improvements that residents actually want.

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They say they offered the council the opportunity to co-fund the survey but that they refused to do so.

Over 1,621 households responded to the survey – a 34 percent response rate - which GEM says shows the depth of feeling on the LTN issue.

Of the 1,621, only 131 (8 percent) supported the Council’s LTN proposals, with 1,386 (86 percent) opposing them. 133 respondents felt it would impact them positively (8 percent) and 1,357 feel it would impact them negatively (85 percent).

The Council’s LTN plan is said to be in response to problems with volume and speed of traffic in the area.

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes
Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes

But GEM says that the community has consistently argued there is not a traffic problem within the area and instead the main issues were with the surrounding arterial routes on Glasgow Road, Drumbrae, Maybury Road and Queensferry Road.

And they say that this view is resoundingly endorsed by respondents to their survey, with residents saying that their main concerns within the proposed LTN area are the quality of the roads (71 percent) and footpaths/pavements (58 percent).

The perceived problems on the main surrounding arterial routes according to the survey are the quality of the roads (67 percent) and volume of traffic (60 percent).

In the survey, residents were asked their views on potential solutions to the perceived problems. Those with the most support were: improving maintenance of pavements and paths (93 percent); making the Maybury temporary crossing permanent (74 percent); extending the 68 bus service (61 percent).

Only 9 percent agreed with closing junctions as part of an LTN proposal and 82 percent of cyclists rejected the LTN proposals of last year.

David Hunter, chair of Get Edinburgh Moving, said: “The residents of East Craigs have resoundingly rejected – in huge numbers - the Council’s plans for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in East Craigs. These plans must now be dead in the water.

“Only 8 percent of all respondents support the LTN – and even among cyclists, only 12 percent back the Council’s plans. The survey sends a crystal clear message to the Council and Sustrans to ditch the LTN, and focus on the ‘day job’ – repair the infrastructure that already exists, fix the potholes, roads and damaged pavements – and let residents get on with their lives.

“As we see the Keep Edinburgh Moving city-wide petition against Spaces for People permanency surge past 15,000 signatures, we need to draw a line in the sand. It’s time for our Council to listen to the people it is supposed to serve, and work with us, not against us.

“We look forward to sharing much more detail from this survey in the days ahead.”

Last year GEM brought a legal challenge against the councils attempts to introduce a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) that would have seen an implementation of road closures, bus gates, cycle lanes and other proposals implemented under Covid emergency powers without consultation in the area.

The group was successful with the council deciding to scrap the LTN plans but only after they had voted in favour of the plans last November.

But the council are now saying that they are starting from scratch and that their survey is aimed at gathering more general views to help develop a concept design - although they do concede some proposals may look similar to those brought forward in 2020.

It is understood that once created, the concept design will be due for consideration at the Transport and Environment Committee later in the year, before potentially proceeding to an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said: “We’re still at the early stages of scoping and designing a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) for East Craigs after it was approved to move forward with developing a scheme on an experimental basis by Transport and Environment Committee in November. The initial consultation was carried out by AECOM, who have been appointed as design consultants for the development of this and other LTNs in Corstorphine and Leith, and are a registered Market Research Society company partner.

“We know how important these potential changes are to the community, which is why the first stages of engagement sought to find out about people’s travel habits and what they thought of the use and condition of roads and public space in the area. This is helping us to design a LTN which works for as many people as possible. By providing free text options for each question we wanted to give people the chance to tell us exactly what they think as well.”

Councillor Karen Doran, transport and environment vice convener, said: “We worked hard to reach people from a range of different backgrounds with this survey, writing to every resident within the LTN and supplying paper and audio versions when requested. As any proposed change would be part of an integrated transport network across the city we also gave residents outside the proposed LTN the opportunity to participate as these changes could affect them too. By requesting postcodes we’re able to take geographical location into consideration as we consider responses. This means we have been able to gain a range of views to inform the development of an LTN for East Craigs, and support sustainable, active travel and healthy communities.”

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