New Corstorphine traffic measures welcomed by road safety campaigners
A campaign group has welcomed new traffic measures being installed in Corstorphine, following ‘major public concern’ over road safety in the last few years.
Corstorphine High Street has seen multiple collisions, including a major crash where a van killed a dog and narrowly missed its elderly owner, making it a major cause of concern for nearby residents.
Since April, Edinburgh City Council has used funding it received from the Scottish government to introduce various road closures and temporary traffic measures using emergency coronavirus powers, including on Corstorphine High Street.
The ‘Spaces for People’ measures have proved incredibly controversial in some areas of the city, with several sparking community campaigns against them.
Other measures, particularly in areas that experience serious traffic congestion or speeding, have been broadly welcomed by residents.
The council is currently consulting with city residents on which Spaces for People schemes should be made permanent.
Campaigners from the ‘Low Traffic Corstorphine’ group have welcomed the opportunity to “make the roads and spaces sager for walkers, wheelers and cycles”.
Chris Young, co-chair of Low Traffic Corstorphine, said: “Because of Covid-19 and the social distancing measures we’ve all had to adapt to, now, more than ever, we need more space for non-vehicle road users to travel safely and that of course is the reason behind all the Spaces for People interventions - to make the roads and spaces safer for walkers, wheelers and cycles - because active travel is crucially important to the health, both physical and mental, of our community and wider society.
“The clue to the need for these interventions is, after all, in the name - Spaces, for People.
“The temporary changes recently installed to Corstorphine High Street and others nearby are a fantastic opportunity for Corstorphine's streets to be made safer during and after lockdown.
“The lack of shared space on Corstorphine High Street has been a major local concern for many years - vehicles dominate while those walking, wheeling and cycling are left to fight for limited space.
“Of particular concern is the lack of space available for children and parents going to and from the primary school gates on narrow pavements, particularly at drop off and pick up times.
“Waiting cars regularly park on the pavement and buggies and young children are exposed to fumes from running engines at tailpipe height.
“With these new changes, cars are now unable to block pavements and there's both more space for children to walk to and from school and for other residents to safely walk and wheel along the High Street.”
The Spaces for People schemes have not been universally welcomed, however, with many rival campaign groups springing up across the city in opposition to making the schemes permanent.
Two campaign groups – Get Edinburgh Moving and South West Edinburgh in Motion - launched a petition last month calling on the council to better engage with residents, which has been signed by more than 11,000 people.
Mr Young continued: “It's also worth mentioning that Manse Street behind the primary school has been benefiting from reduced traffic at drop off and pick up times with more clear space for safe crossing and walking.
“The temporary changes being implemented this week are in response to consultation with concerned residents and representatives from multiple local groups including Corstorphine Primary School Travel Action Group, Corstorphine Community Council, Edinburgh Access Panel and Low Traffic Corstorphine.
“Low Traffic Corstorphine fully supports the Spaces for People temporary changes going in this week, with the caveat that the council should be ready to modify them if feedback from residents and the school suggests more improvements can be made.
“We also hope that all of the measures will be retained following the current public consultation as we can't go back to the way it was before.”