Edinburgh transport bosses to look at options for disabled parking at Botanics

City transport bosses are to look at whether some disabled parking can be restored in the “crescent” outside the west gate of the Royal Botanic Garden following protests about its removal.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 12:30 pm

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Disabled campaigner Hugh Munro said he had met ward councillors and transport manager Dave Sinclair at the site to discuss what could be done to improve access for blue-badge holders after the parking spaces which used to be in the crescent were relocated to the main road.

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The crescent at the west gate is earmarked to become a pedestrian area Picture: Google Streetview

Mr Munro had previously staged a demonstration to show councillors how difficult it was to get out of his car on crutches into a road with speeding traffic.

He said the meeting had allowed him to put the case directly to Mr Sinclair and explain his concerns about the current layout, which has blocked of the crescent with bollards, and the proposals to turn it into a pedestrian area.

“He said that within the next two weeks he would produce a revised format which might incorporate some of our demands as regards cars back in the crescent but at the best this would be a temporary measure. We need to see these plans and be able to discuss.

"With the big light show, people will be coming to visit the Botanics and we want them to get as much access as possible.

"While we were there a taxi came into the crescent to drop off a lady with a zimmer to get a scooter. There's no sign to say they can't drop people off.

“And the other thing is if a special-needs minibus comes in with kids it's not the best to have them park in the main road and get all the scooters off there.”

Tory group leader Iain Whyte, one of the councillors for Inverleith, had suggested ahead of the meeting that some side-on parking for blue-badge holders in the crescent – rather than the previous nose-in arrangement – might allow a compromise. He said such a pattern had been included in a previous design for the new layout.

He said the meeting had been “fairly successful”.

"I'm reasonably confident that officers will now look properly at whether they can get a few spaces inside the crescent for blue-badge holders.

“It might not mean opening up the crescent fully, it might just mean a small segment, but they have said they will go and look at it and and if there's a way of doing it within the traffic regulation orders they're using and it meets all the guidelines then they will try to do it.”

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said: “We’ve been listening to some issues with blue badge parking at the John Hope Gateway entrance to the Royal Botanic Garden. Officers have met with Mr Munro and other stakeholders, including the Edinburgh Access Panel, to consider these concerns.

“Following further discussions that I have had with officers we are now working on an interim layout to improve access for blue badge visitors and maintain a safe pedestrian crossing. We’ll follow our established design review process to consider the best option, including the potential introduction of a Zebra crossing.”

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