Liveable neighbourhoods – FAQ

Liveable Neighbourhoods Main Page

Q1. It looks like Whitehouse Loan is closed to cars. Does this mean I can no longer drive to the school gate?

A1. No, you can still drive to the school gate. Access will be maintained by following the main roads of Strathearn Rd, Bruntsfield Pl, then Whitehouse Loan if approaching from the West / South, or by following the main roads of Marchmont Rd, Melville Dr, Bruntsfield Pl, then Whitehouse Loan if approaching from the East / South. Many people will choose instead to drop off at the corner of Warrender Pk Rd and Lauderdale St or at Whitehouse Loan where the entrance to the school car park is. By distributing drop-offs in this manner, it frees up the gate for those that really need to drive close to it (e.g. those with mobility issues) and helps reduce the local problems near the gate such as pollution and poor driver behaviour, as identified in the travel plan.

Q2. Why don’t you provide segregated cycle lanes along Whitehouse Loan and leave the road open to traffic?

A2. Whitehouse Loan will still be open to local traffic, just not through-traffic (sometimes called rat-running). Segregated cycle lanes are very expensive, time-consuming to build and wouldn’t be scalable across the city. It is generally recommended only to provide segregated lanes on arterial roads and that residential roads such as Whitehouse Loan should have “filtered permeability”, to create low-traffic areas and safe speeds. Low-traffic areas are quick and cheap to implement and can easily be scaled city-wide.

Q3. Why not create the active travel route along Kilgraston Rd?

A3. Although Kilgraston Rd is currently popular for walking to school, the pavements are very narrow. Kilgraston Rd is also a bus route, so there is little scope to increase the width of the footway without narrowing the carriageway to the point where buses can no longer pass. Lothian Buses are highly unlikely to change the route. The Whitehouse Loan route also encompasses the rights-of-way and beautiful grounds of the Astley Anslie.

Q4. I’m perfectly happy with the roads as they are and I would never cycle with my children, why should taxpayers money be spent on cycle routes?

A4. Safe cycling and walking routes are required for the huge latent demand of “those who wish to cycle but currently don’t because they feel unsafe”. The monthly bike bus shows there is a huge hidden demand for cycling to school (160 participants). Every additional journey to school made by walking or cycling reduces car travel and makes it that bit easier for those who really do have to drive. It’s not about those who would (or could) never cycle, it’s about enabling and giving transport options. Modal filters are very inexpensive to implement – the scheme as proposed by JGPS travel committee would cost very little to the taxpayer.

Q5. If through-traffic is prevented from travelling through the neighbourhood zones, won’t this mean that traffic will increase on the surrounding roads?

A5. No. Studies have shown that by opening up transport options and by making it more pleasant, safer and more convenient to walk and cycle, more people will choose to do so. Motor traffic reduces, even on the surrounding roads. An example from Waltham Forest:

Some people believe that traffic is an incompressible liquid, like water, and that if you “block the drain” somewhere, that water must spill over into the surrounding streets. But traffic is not a force of nature, it is a product of human choices – when you make it easier to walk, wheel and cycle, more people will choose to do that. (Motor traffic behaves more like a gas, that expands or contracts to fill the available volume.)

Q6. If Whitehouse Loan has bollards near the entrance to the school car park, how will traffic entering turn around?

A6. Whitehouse Loan is extremely wide at this point and a small, inexpensive turning circle could easily be implemented, similar to the one below:

Turning circle beside a modal-filter

Q7. How can I contribute? How can I stay informed?

A7. A professionally-managed community engagement campaign will be carried out to ensure that school parents, school staff, residents, locals and those travel through the area are consulted and kept informed of any proposals. Or, come and join the JGPS travel committee!

Q8. Will there be changes to the area?

A8. Yes, and we recognise that change can be difficult. We understand the anxiety around change and that everyone processes change at different rates. We hope that people will see that the changes proposed will positively benefit the whole community, creating:

  • more opportunities for neighbours and children to socialise and take part in unstructured play
  • quieter, more pleasant streets
  • an active and healthier population
  • less isolation
  • more street trees and greenery
  • safer means for children to get to school
  • clean air

Q9. The Council are progressing the Greenbank to Meadows Quiet Route scheme [a subset of the Liveable Neighbourhood proposals] without consultation. How can this be democratic?

A9. A practical, temporary, and easily-modifiable trial of the Quiet Route is a form of consultation. And it is a more accessible way of consulting, because everyone can see how it works. It follows the standard business practice of plan–do–study–act (PDSA), which is an iterative four-step management method for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products.

In addition, it is worth remembering that no one was ever consulted over the gradual process by which quiet streets where children played and people walked and cycled morphed into congested, polluted and scary roads. Roads where no one plays, people are scared to cycle, and walking is no longer a pleasure. A “non-consultation” process which continues to this day, as private vehicles continue to grow in size and in number.