Edinburgh City Council to bring in raft of new cycle lanes and restrictions as part of controversial Spaces for People scheme

Edinburgh City Council is set to make significant changes to its controversial ‘Spaces for People’ programme, including introducing new schemes throughout the capital.

Friday, 6th November 2020, 6:58 pm
Updated Friday, 6th November 2020, 7:04 pm

In May 2020 the Scottish Government announced funding for Spaces for People programmes, which aimed to provide safe options for essential journeys during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since April, the council has used £5 million of government funding to introduce various road closures and temporary traffic measures using emergency coronavirus powers.

Some of these measures have proved controversial, sparking community campaigns against them.

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Floating bus stop as part of Spaces for People

Other measures, particularly in areas that experience serious traffic congestion or speeding, have been broadly welcomed by residents.

Now, at a meeting of the council’s transport committee due to take place on Thursday November 12, the council is set to introduce further measures.

Major schemes and amendments will need to be rubber stamped by councillors, but smaller schemes can be introduced under the council’s emergency powers.

Three schemes are set to be ratified by the committee.

On South Bridge, the carriageway will be reduced to two lanes, north-bound will be closed to traffic except buses and taxis between 7.30am and 6.30pm, cycle segregation will be introduced, and all bus stops will be relocated to North Bridge.

In Lanark Road, cycle segregation lanes will be installed as well as revised parking arrangements, a bus lane on approach to Gillespie Crossroads, and a reduced 30mph speed limit.

On the A1 and A90, segregated cycle routes will be created alongside fresh pedestrian safety measures.

Among four measures highlighted for more significant amendments is the proposed closure of Warriston Road, which is no longer considered necessary due to decreased pressure on the North Edinburgh Path Network.

On Victoria Street, it is proposed to allow limited servicing access to allow delivery and servicing access were required.

And Silverknowes Road (north section), which is currently closed, would be reopened to public transport, along with a segregated cycle lane, if approved.

Councillors are also being asked to approve the continued closure of Braid Road.

The report reads: “Recognising the feedback received, officers have considered the impact of reopening Braid Road in a south-bound direction to allow residents and visitors to the Cluny/Midmar area an alternative route to access the south of the city.

“However, this has identified that it would cause conflict between general traffic and users of the quiet route (on Hermitage Drive) and would undermine the attractiveness of the Greenbank to Meadows proposals.”

Councillors will also be updated on the various smaller schemes the council is set to implement as part of the Spaces for People programme.

Public consultation was carried out between May 29 and June 29 of this year using the ‘Commonplace’ tool.

A total of 4,100 comments were made, with 31,687 agreements logged on Commonplace.

Using this feedback, council officers are proposing:

Pavement widening and an uphill cycle lane on Broughton Street; Pedestrian crossing improvements on Broughton Street roundabout; Pavement widening and an uphill cycle lane on Restalrig Road South (Smokey Brae); Pavement widening with 'give and go' traffic management on Starbank Road; Installation of a pedestrian/cyclist crossing point on Fillyside Road; Pavement widening on Fillyside Road; Footpath widening at the West End of Princes Street; Cycle segregation from the City of Edinburgh boundary into Portobello; and Improved signage and minor interventions to reduce speed of cyclists on Portobello Promenade.

Joseph Anderson, Local Democracy Reporting Service

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