Edinburgh's 20mph roads: Plans to expand speed limit to 90 per cent of Edinburgh roads

Many 30mph roads in Edinburgh will see speed limit cut to 20mph
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Dozens more roads in Edinburgh are to get new reduced 20mph speed limits under plans now out for public consultation. And a host of rural roads within the Capital’s boundaries will also have speed limits lowered. Edinburgh became Scotland’s first 20mph city in 2018 and, if the latest expansion of the scheme goes ahead, it will mean around 90 per cent of the city’s urban roads will be covered by 20mph limits.

Streets on the list for a new 20mph limit include parts of Ferry Road, Corstorphine Road, London Road, Colinton Road and Lanark Road West. Among the criteria for assessing the streets to be included in the expansion of 20mph limits were whether they had higher density housing such as flats or terraced properties, or groups of shops, and whether there were likely to be higher numbers of people walking or cycling, for example near a hospital or university campus.

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The 20mph scheme was rolled out across the city between 2016 and 2018 and even had its own super-hero mascot The Reducer. The council says monitoring has shown a continued drop in speeds, as well as a 30 per cent reduction in road casualties, since 20mph limits were introduced and increased public support.

Edinburgh's roll-out of the 20mph speed limit was promoted by super-hero mascot The Reducer. Picture: Greg Macvean.Edinburgh's roll-out of the 20mph speed limit was promoted by super-hero mascot The Reducer. Picture: Greg Macvean.
Edinburgh's roll-out of the 20mph speed limit was promoted by super-hero mascot The Reducer. Picture: Greg Macvean.

Speed limits on all rural roads in Edinburgh have also been reviewed, including those near Currie, Balerno, Ratho, Queensferry and Kirkliston as well as those outside the city bypass, near the airport and around Newbridge. The proposed changes in rural speed limits would reduce the normal speed limit on two-lane rural roads from 60mph to 40mph. Most minor country lanes would have a 30mph limit, with a 20mph limit through rural hamlets and also on a small number of minor lanes that are the most used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Transport convener Scott Arthur said: “Edinburgh led the way in 2015 by agreeing to become Scotland’s first 20mph city and since then its positive impacts have been made clear. Not only are speeds continuing to fall across the network, but casualties have also reduced, which is extremely encouraging. Independent research has shown that the number of collisions has fallen by 30 per cent, and the number of injuries has dropped by a similar amount.

“We know appetite for extending 20mph limits has grown over the years and we want to bring these benefits to even more people, creating safer, more relaxing streets to live in, visit and spend time in. This is along with proposed speed limit reductions on many of our rural roads, most of which have the national 60mph speed limit. I would encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation to make sure changes work for everyone. In the consultation the council asks for comments on its recommendations for speed limit reductions across our Capital, but I hope and expect residents will consider urging it to go further by demanding more streets are included.”

The roads proposed for 20mph speed limit in Edinburgh

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Streets proposed for 20mph limits include some with high-density housing fronting the street, seen as likely to generate moderate levels of pedestrian activity and crossing. Examples include Ferry Road east of Arboretum Road; Lindsay Road; sections of Corstorphine Road/St Johns Road (Edinburgh Zoo westwards and Western Corner eastwards); London Road from Leith Walk to Jock’s Lodge; Craigmillar Park; Colinton Road east of Craiglockhart Sports Centre; and parts of Lanark Road West with medium density housing and/or shops.

Some streets are proposed for 20mph because they run through or next to shops or shopping centres. Examples include Murrayburn Road passing Wester Hailes Plaza; Lady Road passing Cameron Toll shopping centre; and London Road at Abbeyhill. Others are streets with a significant role for walking and/or cycling or which are likely to generate raised levels of walking and/or cycling for other reasons. Examples include West Shore Road (connecting Silverknowes and Granton Promenades); Seaview Terrace (Joppa); Glenlockhart Road (connection from South Morningside to Napier University’s Craiglockhart Campus).

All streets where the speed limit was reduced to 20mph under the Spaces for People initiative are proposed to keep the lower limit.

The council says streets where it is recommended a 30mph limit remains are generally wider, outer suburban roads with a relatively low density housing, such as bungalows, likely to generate lower levels of pedestrian activity and which are important bus routes or form part of the alternative route to the City Bypass. Examples include Old Dalkieth Road; Liberton Brae; Comiston Road south of Greenbank; Lanark Road; parts of Lanark Road West with low density housing; sections of Glasgow Road and Queensferry Road west of Queensferry Terrace. These include some roads where the speed limit was temporarily reduced from 40mph under the Spaces for People initiative and where a permanent change to 30mph is now proposed.

The consultation runs until February 8, 2023. Views are being sought on the scale of the proposed extension to the 20mph network and on individual streets where lower limits are proposed.