Here is my latest email newsletter to constituents issued today. You can receive my e-Citizen email newsletters by contacting me and asking to be added to my circulation list. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Safe spaces for walking and cycling
On Thursday the Council considered proposals for improving the safety of walking and cycling in the city by installing bus gates¹, closing some city centre roads, widening pavements on the Bridges, reducing waiting times at light-controlled pedestrian crossings, reducing the number of bus stops and creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists on Braid Hills Drive. You can read more about this here. The report is item 6.8 on the meeting agenda.
The Liberal Democrats successfully amended the proposals by:
- Insisting on consultation with local ward councillors, community councils and Living Streets for all proposals introduced via temporary traffic regulation orders (TTRO’s);
- Setting up a defined process for community councils, traders’ associations and the public to suggest additional schemes - in the meantime you can send ideas to me;
- Listing all TTRO’s and the criteria assessments for each scheme on the Council’s website;
- Reporting all schemes to the Council on a two-monthly cycle or in the event of a significant change in national movement restrictions or social distancing guidance, with a recommendation to continue or discontinue each scheme;
- Proceeding with the existing plans to move identified 30mph roads to 20mph and 40mph roads to 30mph – that means Cluny Gardens & Greenbank Crescent to 20mph and Braid Hills Road & Pentland Terrace/Comiston Road to 30mph;
- Publishing a road re-surfacing and treatment plan for 2020-21 – lots of roads desperately need improvements, such as Newbattle Terrace;
- Publishing an updated pedestrian crossing prioritisation programme for 2020/21;
- Deleting the bus stop rationalisation programme – removing bus stops makes bus travel less attractive & crowding at stops more likely.
Note 1: Bus gate - a stretch of the road which is open to buses and closed to most other vehicles, similar to a bus lane. There is an explanation and examples here.
Local social distancing issues
I have been meeting with community and trader representatives and other ward councillors to explore the difficulties for shoppers and cyclists with social distancing and the sort of measures that might help.
For example, we identified difficulties for pedestrians maintaining a social distance from each other at Holy Corner, particularly outside McLarens Pub and Tesco.
Likewise, when queuing outside shops or simply passing other shoppers on narrow pavements in Morningside Road. The idea of pedestrians going anti-clockwise up one side of the road and down the other, with suitable crossings in between, has been suggested.
Council officers will liaise directly with the Morningside Traders Association to find measures that will be effective for both traders and their customers and likely to include the retention of most parking and loading bays.
Similarly, when schools go back, the available space at or near the entrances to Bruntsfield, Watson’s and Gillespie’s primary schools may be compromised by private cars driven by parents. I have requested the removal of metal railings and the addition of pavement widening outside Gillespie’s PS similar to the footway enhancement proposals here.
If you have any suggestions for simple, practical initiatives, please let me know.
The second pair of applications for the Headstart Nursery site will be considered by the Council’s Development Management Sub Committee on Wednesday 20 May. The meeting starts at 10.00am and can be watched via the webcast on the Council’s website either ‘live’ or afterwards. You can find out about this here.
Under the Council’s recently enhanced delegation scheme, the applications were to be decided by planning officers. However, I requested they go before the committee, by citing the desirability of retaining commercial space in the area and the building design failing to preserve or enhance the Conservation Area. The officer has recommended approval in the face of 29 objections.
I have also requested a presentation is given to the committee, followed by questions and debate, so that the decision is made in an open, public and transparent way.
Braid Road Closure/Braidburn Terrace one way
I understand that new advance warning signs of the closure and one-way system are to appear shortly along with signage to encourage safe cycling. I have requested ‘Local access only’ signs for Braidburn Crescent and Braid Crescent to mitigate the increase in through traffic and a reduction in the temporary parking restrictions in Greenbank Place and Braidburn Terrace.
When will the dump re-open?
I understand that Council leaders across Scotland are planning for a co-ordinated re-opening of household waste recycling centres on 1 June – watch this space for more news.
The latest advice on Council services is available here.
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Best wishes & stay safe
Councillor Neil Ross
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Morningside Ward