Edinburgh council accused of 'dither and delay' over road safety measures

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Lib Dems have accused the council of "dither and delay" over road safety after revealing that promised speed limit reductions and new pedestrian crossings are way behind schedule.

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And they urged transport convener Lesley Macinnes to “get a grip” on the situation and deliver the agreed improvements.

Lib Dem transport spokesman Kevin Lang said a decision taken 18 months ago to cut the speed limit on 22 city streets had still not been implemented and only about a quarter of new pedestrian crossings prioritised last year had been installed.

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Kevin Lang accused the council of  "dither and delay"Kevin Lang accused the council of  "dither and delay"
Kevin Lang accused the council of "dither and delay"

In addition, an agreed consultation on speed limits on rural roads within the city, scheduled for launch last year, was still not ready for publication and with no timetable available.

Councillor Lang said: “The dither and delay on road safety from the SNP and Labour administration has left a host of projects months or even years behind schedule.

“It is particularly alarming that only a quarter of the approved new pedestrian crossings have been put in place. These were specifically agreed to make it safer for vulnerable pedestrians, including children and disabled people.

"Even simple things like reducing vehicle speed limits, changes which were approved more than 18 months ago, are sitting around unactioned."

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Speed limit reductions are still waiting to be implementedSpeed limit reductions are still waiting to be implemented
Speed limit reductions are still waiting to be implemented

Councillor Lang uncovered the delays through a series of written council questions.

He asked about the status of traffic regulation orders to implement a February 2020 decision to reduce the speed limit of 22 streets from 40mph to 30mph and was told by Cllr Macinnes the orders were “currently being developed for publication”, with implementation expected in spring 2022, subject to possible objections.

His questions on pedestrian crossings revealed only five of the 17 due to be installed in 2020/21 were completed within the financial year, with one more soon afterwards and two more were delivered as part of other programmes. None of the 18 crossings scheduled for 2021/22 had yet been installed.

And on rural speed limits, he asked when the consultation agreed in May 2020 would begin. Councillor Macinnes told him an analysis of street data was required before the consultation and was currently underway.

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Councillor Macinnes blamed Covid pandemic for the hold-upsCouncillor Macinnes blamed Covid pandemic for the hold-ups
Councillor Macinnes blamed Covid pandemic for the hold-ups

Councillor Lang said: “SNP and Labour councillors’ obsession with the controversial Spaces for People programme has clearly meant they’ve taken their eyes of the ball on the wider road safety programme.

“The transport convener must now get a grip of this. She needs to spend less time on grand 20-year plans and more time ensuring the council delivers on the promises made”.

Councillor Macinnes said: “Contrary to these claims, we remain committed to delivering our programme of schemes to improve road safety.

"The effects of the pandemic have been far-reaching, not in the least its impact on our resources, the ability to consult and the reprioritisation of projects, as well as limiting the ability to carry out necessary, representative traffic surveys during periods of lockdown. Unfortunately, this has resulted in some delays.

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“Of course we would prefer that each of the schemes referenced were delivered as quickly as possible, and we’ll continue working hard to progress them so that their benefits can be felt by communities across the city.”

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