Edinburgh Corstorphine Connections: Campaigners hit back at claim 'silent majority' backs low traffic scheme

Campaigners opposed to Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Corstorphine have dismissed transport convener Scott Arthur's claims about support for the scheme
The bus gate at Manse Road has been the most contentious of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood measures.The bus gate at Manse Road has been the most contentious of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood measures.
The bus gate at Manse Road has been the most contentious of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood measures.

Campaigners have hit back at claims by Edinburgh transport convener Scott Arthur that a "silent majority" of residents backs the controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Corstorphine.

They claimed a council survey which found supporters of the scheme, known as Corstorphine Connections, outnumbered opponents by two to one was "not reliable" because of the way it was conducted.

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The scheme - which includes traffic restrictions, a bus gate, wider pavements and more seating and planting - aims to stop drivers taking short cuts through residential streets and create a "safer and more comfortable environment" for those living in the area. But critics claim it is failing to achieve its objectives.

When the results were published, Cllr Arthur said that researchers had asked people who lived in the area what they thought about the scheme.  "They have managed to tap into the silent majority - the figures show we have around 49 per cent supporting the scheme and 24 per cent opposing it, with a lot of don’t knows, of course."

But the Accessible Corstorphine for Everyone (ACE) group said the survey had involved stopping people in the street and was restricted to pedestrians whose postcode fell within the LTN zone or those visiting a business or shop. 

They said that approach excluded housebound residents, business owners, staff and trades people, as well as those living in streets affected by the restrictions who were not within the LTN boundaries and those visiting the area for work or education, visiting friends or relatives or attending a medical appointment.

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ACE chair Jackie Connor said: "Many of those travelling for work or medical appointments will have very good reasons to rely on vehicles. Local trades people need to transport tools and goods in a van.  Other residents rely on visits by carers or delivery drivers. "Accessibility and ease of travel are important for everyone, including the many stakeholders living on the boundaries of the LTN, or working within it, who were prevented from sharing their views.  

"The sampling restrictions have excluded many of those suffering the severest adverse effects and so are likely to have biased the findings in favour of the LTN." At the transport and environment committee on Thursday, Lib Dem group leader Kevin Lang quizzed officials on the research, which compared residents' views in October and November 2023 with the results of an earlier survey between March and July 2022.

Cllr Lang said: "The percentage of people who think there's a big problem with traffic has gone up quite markedly - why do officers thin that's the case?" An official told him it was "too early to speculate" and they would need to look at further data that was due to be collected. 

Cllr Lang also asked why there had been no specific question about the bus gate at Manse Road, given it was the most contentious part of the project. The official replied that they had tried to treat the scheme as a whole. "The scheme isn't the individual elements, it's all the elements working together collectively."  But he said people could feed back on partciular elements if they chose.

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However, Cllr Lang said there had been separate questions about other parts of the project, such as crossings, widened pavements and some of the traffic changes.  The official said: "All the different changes we've made have an impact upon the traffic and they have to be seen holistically and working together because that is how they operate."

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