At our last meeting the community council supported the notion of trying to increase the available space for active travel and social distancing. We have been surveying the community for their opinions and ideas, this survey has received a large amount of engagement with 73 respondents over a few days. We have also contacted Sustrans and the officers at the City of Edinburgh Council, Sustrans responded with advice on how to proceed and the funding available and we are still waiting for a reply from the council.
The council prior to a meeting with councillors on creating space for people in Edinburgh’s streets published a document “Creating Safe Spaces for Walking and Cycling”, this details the type of interventions the council are considering. We appreciate that Gorgie and Dalry are mentioned in the document as an example of where footways could be widened, public space extended and cycle lanes created.
However, we are concerned that the situation in Gorgie and Dalry is not being viewed as a priority. The proposed measures on Gorgie and Dalry roads are to be delivered on the longest timescale, with an estimated completion in July or later. This is not at all consistent with the summary in the report relating to our area, which states that “ Busy and narrow footways will mean physical distancing will be impossible as people return.” We agree with this assessment of our footways as often being narrow, our survey found that 98.6% of respondents thought that areas are too narrow to socially distance . We can assume that 36% of respondents don’t use or have access to a car, and 67% have said that their use of public transport has decreased , having alternative solutions to travelling safely around the city is required as many won’t have the option of the car.
Accordingly, we would ask the council to seriously look at accelerating the time scales for interventions in our area. We do understand the council has limited capacity to make these types of interventions however Gorgie and Dalry are prime candidates. With the geography of the area being one constrained by railways and large roads, those living in this area necessarily use either Gorgie or Dalry Roads; these both have narrow pavements and are difficult for pedestrians. Unlike many areas in Edinburgh the majority live in tenement flats with little access to garden space and large parks. The demography of the area according to SIMD is less prosperous than our neighbouring areas to the North or South; social equity demands that our areas not be ignored and left behind.
Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey and contacted us about this issue! If you have more you would like to raise about Spaces for People please send us a comment or an email: firstname.lastname@example.org