Edinburgh's East Craigs: Community-led proposals unveiled for more pedestrian-friendly roads

New community-led proposals for a more pedestrian-friendly East Craigs have been unveiled following the collapse of the council's controversial "Low Traffic Neighbourhood" plans for the area last year.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 4:55 am

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Rather than road closures, the new scheme focuses on traffic calming, more crossings and "nudging" motorists to drive more safely.

And instead of covering all the roads, it concentrates on Craigs Road, which is the main thoroughfare through East Craigs, and some of the roads to the south of it.

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Impression of Craigs Road looking east

The proposals, launched by walking campaign group Living Streets, were drawn up by professional planner John Kennedy who lives in the area with his family.

He said he believed in “bottom-up” planning and had relied heavily on the data from community engagement on the Low Traffic Neigbourhood (LTN).

And he said: "The proposal itself is fundamentally different to what was being proposed in the LTN."

Mr Kennedy said after the council withdrew the LTN plans in the face of strong local opposition, it first said it would bring forward new proposals but then shelved the project altogether, prompting him to take up the issue.

Impression of Craigs Road looking west

He said the public engagement had shown people were concerned about the levels and speed of traffic on Craigs Road.

"The LTN covered all roads and one of the key reasons it was panned by the locals was that most people live on a road that's quite quiet and don't experience rat-running, but it's Craigs Road and south of it that's the real problem.

"We have a great existing path network in East Craigs that everyone enjoys, but you get to Craigs Road and the walking environment is terrible."

He proposes narrowing the roadway to help lower speeds, putting in a textured central reservation to nudge motorists to drive more carefully and planting trees on the pavement to help pedestrians and cyclists to feel safer.

He also suggests extending pavements at junctions to reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians and slow down turning vehicles.

And he advocates the use of "rain gardens" – shallow areas of ground with plants – which can reduce the risk of flooding but also narrow roads and make people feel safer.

His proposals include improved crossings on Drum Brae and Glasgow Road, which he said the LTN had neglected but were "really hostile places to cross".

"You can't get to Tesco without having to dodge 40mph vehicles," he said.

And he also suggests a one-way system involving North Gyle Road and Craigs Gardens, but stresses a road safety audit of the proposal is needed.

Mr Kennedy also emphasised the need for community consultation on all the proposals, saying his ideas were "just a baseline".

"There need to be round-table discussions to see if there is support for it.”

He said he had contacted the council but they did not seem interested in his plan. "I just got their stock response that East Craigs is something they are going to come back to, but it's just not on their radar, which is a bit disappointing."

Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, said he thought Mr Kennedy’s proposals could get more community buy-in than the LTN scheme.

He said: “We hope support for these proposals can be tested, to deliver a positive outcome for one of Edinburgh’s most traffic dominated residential neighbourhoods.”

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