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Revised Edinburgh traffic plans ‘still need public consultation’

A RAFT of changes have been made to the controversial proposals for Scotland’s first Low Traffic Neighbourhood in East Craigs – but critics say a full public consultation is still needed before anything is implemented.

Up to 1,000 people attended an open-air meeting in Gyle Park last month where transport convener Lesley Mancinnes was booed and jeered as she defended proposed road closures and restrictions designed to prevent rat-running through residential streets.

She promised to look again at the scheme and a revised set of measures will now be discussed at transport and environment committee.

But Lib Dem transport spokesman Kevin Lang said: “The fact they have brought forward a significantly different scheme shows just how flawed the original proposals were. It is important to remember it took the best part of 1,000 people turning up to a public meeting in the middle of a pandemic to get the council to pay attention and make changes.

“But if the council is going to learn anything from the last few weeks, they need to run a proper consultation on the revised plans before anything is implemented. In 20 years of community politics in west Edinburgh, I’ve never seen anything like the level of anger and resentment that I have over this scheme. It’s not just what is being proposed, it’s the way it has been imposed on a community without proper consultation. If the council is going to repair the damage that has been done in terms of the relationship with the community there needs to be proper public consultation before anything is implemented.”

And Cllr Lang said the changes did not go far enough. “If you look at some of the biggest concerns that were raised, for example the concern about the junction of Craigs Road and Drum Brae South and how traffic would get out of Craigs Road, there’s nothing in the revised plans that responds to that. Similarly with the junctions coming off Glasgow Road. So while the number of physical closures has been reduced there are still a number of outstanding issues and real concerns in the community and that’s why nothing should be done until people have been given a chance to have their say.”

Mark Brown, Tory councillor for Drumbrae/Gyle, said the he revised proposals did not offer a satisfactory solution.

“It’s more pie in the sky from the council if they think this is going to wash with the community. The new map of closures throws up more questions rather than offering the community answers. It’s tinkering about the edges, taking away a large number of barriers but created other obstacles for other residents in different parts. It needs full consultation with the community.”

But Green councillor Claire Miller said the proposed measures were common elsewhere.

”The kinds of measures set out, to reduce through traffic and increase safety for people walking and wheeling, are seen already in dozens of neighbourhoods throughout the city and have been happening for decades in response to concern about streets being used as rat runs. Residents there would now vigorously oppose attempts to remove them. So the label ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhood’ may be new but the concept certainly isn’t and I look forward to many more places enjoying the benefits they bring.”


This article originally appeared on Edinburgh evening news

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