The City of Edinburgh Council has published their intentions for the future of the temporary Spaces for People measures across the city.
The Spaces for People measures were first introduced near the beginning of the pandemic to better enable physical distancing. The focus on active travel was a critical component in the Scottish Government’s strategy for managing the demand on public transport and responding to increased rates of cycling as the number of car journeys declined due to COVID restrictions. The measures have included pop-up walking and cycling routes, and temporary improvements to existing routes.
Following the introduction of these temporary measures, the council consulted with Edinburgh residents across the city for their views on how the changes were working in their community and the possibility of making the measures permanent.
SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon MacDonald, has been in ongoing dialogue with the Council regarding some of the measures in his constituency (specifically around the Lanark Road area) for the past year. He has been representing the concerns, as well as welcome benefits, that locals were raising with him. The MSP was therefore pleased to see the administration’s amendment today which he says “shows they have listened to local views and struck a balanced approach so the positive changes which are kept, are sustainable.”
Commenting SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon MacDonald MSP, said:
I’m really pleased to see that the council has done as they said and listened to local residents’ views and concerns about the temporary Spaces for People measures which have been introduced.
We know that we have to take ambitious actions to create more spaces for people to walk, cycle and wheel as we tackle the climate emergency but, for this to be done effectively, decision makers must put local views at the heart of their plans. It is the only way that changes will be sustainable.
I’m particularly glad to see the administration’s intention to keep the 30mph speed limit on Lanark Road – something I have been pressing with the council for a number of years – and remove the cycle ways on Lanark Road. Whilst we all, of course, recognise that steps must be taken to support more people to opt for active travel, there are several safety concerns with the temporary measures which need to be prioritised.
The commitment to find a solution to the safety concerns for cyclists, pedestrians and others travelling on the Water of Leith Path is something that I stressed with the council throughout this process so I’m pleased to see the council taking that on board.
In my representations to the council, I also highlighted the issues residents are having with parking following the Spaces for People measures which have been implemented on the Longstone corridor. I’m pleased to see a commitment to find a solution to this problems for local people.
As we move forward, we must make sure that Governments (at all levels) continue to work with people to support and encourage the increasing numbers of people choosing to walk, cycle, wheel or opt for public transport.