Edinburgh roads: Mistakes mean orders to keep cycle lanes and road closures have to be readvertised
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Council bosses are having to readvertise the orders which will allow them to keep the cycle lanes, road closures and other measures introduced under the controversial Spaces for People programme after “minor errors” were discovered.It means the public will have another six months in which to give their views on the proposed retention of the schemes, now rebranded as “Travelling Safely”. The “Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders” (ETROs) were originally advertised in November, but there were mistakes in some of them – errors about bus lane times of operation and types of yellow lines, as well as ambiguous descriptions for side road measurements – so now they are all to be advertised again next month.
Councillors voted to keep most of the measures first brought in during the Covid pandemic. And the use of the ETROs will allow them to be trialled for a further 18 months to see how they work with the latest traffic levels and how they might have to be changed if they are to be made permanent. There are a total of 42 schemes involved across the city, but they were grouped together in six ETROs, which is why they are all being readvertised. The council acknowledged the situation was “an unfortunate setback”. Readvertising the orders is expected to cost around £14,000. But the council says despite the delay, it intends the ETROs to be in force for up to 18 months from the original start date rather than from the new start date.
Transport convener Scott Arthur said: “We’ve been made aware that there have been some minor errors in the ETROs prepared by our contractor and advertised for Travelling Safely schemes in November 2022. As a result, we’ve requested that the contractor corrects the orders to allow officers to readvertise the Travelling Safely ETROs citywide from May 26, in order to make sure the ETRO documents accurately reflect every trial measure currently on the ground.
“As a result, the monitoring and evaluation period will run until November 2023, and the process should end in 2024 as planned. One benefit will be that people can have some extra time to tell us what they think of these measures. Additionally, some residents have raised concerns about the visibility of the consultation, so the restart is a chance to get this right. Over the last five months we have gathered 339 comments from the public to inform our decisions for scheme retention, modification or removal – these will still be included in the trial assessment report.
“I have asked that council officers attempt to recover any additional costs from the contractor. Furthermore, this episode emphasises why we must reduce our reliance on external consultants and instead build up in-house capacity and expertise.”