Retaining Spaces for People measures

The City of Edinburgh Council carried out a major consultation in March 2021, seeking views on whether the Spaces for People improvements for walking, wheeling and cycling made during the COVID pandemic should be kept longer term.

Among the changes in the Gillespie’s catchment area have been the addition of more space around the school entrances and the Greenbank to Meadows Quiet Route formed by strategic road closures to through-traffic only.

Blackford Safe Routes fully supports the move to make the temporary measures permanent. That’s why we’ll be submitting our own feedback to the Council and to our councillors. We recommend everyone with an interest in a safer, healthier neighbourhood does the same.

The Council will then take a decision on whether to keep any measures on a trial or permanent basis at the June Transport & Environment Committee (TEC) meeting.

Call to Action

Please write to your ward councillors and let them know about any positive experiences you have had using the route. Let them know why the route is important to you, and how you’ve used the route recently. Or share anecdotes of others using the route.

Pictures and videos would be great too and can be sent to councillors and shared via Twitter, tag in @blackfordsafer1

Some further changes we’d like to see included:

  • Additional modal filters (closures to motor traffic) to create complete liveable neighbourhoods, as per our original plans, particularly on Warrender Park Road, to allow safe conditions on the other main approach to the school
  • Buildouts and continuous footway to give pedestrians priority and shorten road crossings
  • Measures to improve conditions for walkers, wheelers and cyclists on the Kilgraston Rd / Blackford Ave corridor.

These are all tried and tested ways of improving safety and community in cities.

Reasons to support the Greenbank to Meadows Quiet Route

  • quieter, more pleasant streets
  • more opportunities for neighbours and children to socialise and take part in unstructured play
  • safer means for children to get to school
  • easier for children to cross to the Links for outdoor sports
  • opportunities for placemaking, planters, benches, street trees and greenery
  • easier to maintain social-distancing
  • clean air
  • less isolation, more sociable streets
  • an active and healthier population
  • reduction in households exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution
  • supports tackling the obesity crisis
  • reduces traffic danger at source
  • helps reduce short journeys by car that could easily be walked or cycled given safe and pleasant conditions
  • reduces climate-breakdown-causing emissions
  • discourages drivers with no “social contract” to the area and the people who live there (local residents have greater reason to drive carefully).

Today, there are 100,000 premature deaths per year in the UK due to inactivity and 80% of UK kids are so inactive they risk their long term health (source: The Miracle Pill by Peter Walker). On top of that, road traffic collisions are the number-one cause of death and serious injury to young people aged 5 to 30 and air pollution adds to the toll.

Meanwhile, experience from the rest of the UK has shown that residents love their low-traffic neighbourhoods, and once installed, residents never call for them to be reversed.