Edinburgh is now just weeks away from becoming Scotland’s first 20mph city as signs and lines start to go down for the final phase in a citywide rollout of calmer speeds.
From this week, residents in South Edinburgh – including areas such as Colinton, Swanston, Oxgangs, Fairmilehead and Greenbank – will start to spot new 20mph signage in residential and shopping streets.
The ‘go live’ date for this fourth and final phase of the 20mph for Edinburgh project is confirmed as Monday 5 March.
This marks the completion of an 18-month rollout across the Capital, which began in the city centre and rural west Edinburgh in July 2016.
From 5 March, all residential, shopping and city centre streets in the city will be 20mph, with a strategic network of roads in the city maintained at 30mph and 40mph.
Driving more slowly reduces the number and severity of casualties. A person is seven times more likely to survive if they are hit by a car driving at 20mph, than if they are hit at 30mph.
Calming traffic has widespread public support throughout the country, with 65% of Scots in a recent poll in favour of a 20mph default limit in urban areas.
Edinburgh joins the growing number of European and UK cities introducing lower speed limits, a move supported by organisations such as Police Scotland, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).
The rollout is also championed by several leading organisations in the city, including NHS Lothian, Royal Mail, Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian football clubs, National Galleries of Scotland, Sustrans Scotland and Living Streets.
Police Scotland are enforcing the limit, with more than a thousand drivers caught since 31 July 2016. Figures from the Edinburgh Road Policing Unit show that at least 55 tickets and 960 warnings have been issued, with 11 people reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said:
This is a very significant milestone for the Capital. From Monday 5 March, Edinburgh will officially be Scotland’s first 20mph city, with calmer speeds on all our roads other than a strategic network of 30mph and 40mph streets.
Calmer speeds not only improve safety and encourage more people – especially young families – to walk and cycle; they also boost local communities and combat loneliness by making people more comfortable spending time out and about in their area, stopping to chat to neighbours and enjoying reduced traffic noise.
The city-wide roll out of the 20mph in Edinburgh has received Scottish Government funding through Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme.
Sustrans Scotland Community Links Manager Dave Keane said:
There is no doubt, and ample evidence worldwide, that 20mph streets are a vital step to keep towns and cities thriving. Lower speeds on roads help reduce the risk and severity of collisions and make local neighbourhoods more pleasant environments in which to live, shop, walk and cycle.
By reducing speed limits, building good quality cycling and walking networks and improving the layout of streets, even more people will choose to cycle and walk for more of their everyday journeys, benefiting themselves and the environment in which they live.