Edinburgh set to become Scotland’s ‘first 20mph city’
A “large swathe” of roads in Edinburgh could change to 20mph from late 2015 if plans are approved next week to make Edinburgh “the first 20mph city in Scotland”.
A map of proposed 20mph limits for hundreds of Edinburgh streets has been drawn up after a public consultation which attracted almost 3,000 responses.
In the consultation, which concluded in October 2014, 60% of respondents supported or strongly supported the proposals, with 36% opposed or strongly opposed.
The new 20mph network, which goes before the council's transport and environment committee for approval on 13 January, would see the majority of the city’s residential streets and shopping areas become 20mph zones.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport convener, said: "We were absolutely delighted with the huge response to our consultation and it's great to be moving on to the stage of finalising exactly which streets will become 20mph, provided the necessary Traffic Regulation Orders are secured.
"Edinburgh is taking a very bold step in introducing slower speeds for so much of its roads and we're aware that other cities in Scotland are watching our example keenly.
"There's obviously a lot of work to be done to raise public awareness between now and the first new limits coming into effect. It's undoubtedly a culture change for the whole city but we're very encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response we've seen to the pilot project in South Edinburgh.
“Support for 20mph limits was already high before the pilot began but it increased even more once people tried out the slower speeds in practice."
John Lauder, national director of Sustrans Scotland, said: "It is fantastic to see Edinburgh Council rolling out 20mph speed limits across more and more streets in the capital.
“Sustrans wants to see increasing numbers of people choosing to travel actively on an everyday basis, whether on foot or by bike, and we think that reducing traffic speeds is a key way to helping achieve this.”
However, a spokesperson for the city’s small businesses, said that tradesmen who rely on cars to travel between jobs would be unduly affected by the 20mph proposals.
Talking to the Edinburgh Evening News, Gordon Henderson of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “I think we’ll start seeing quite a few businesses moving away from the city centre as a result of these measures.
“Before long, we’re going reach the point where if you’re phoning a tradesman in need of work, they’re going to be closer to the city bypass.”
If the proposed 20mph network is approved next Tuesday, it is anticipated that the programme will be rolled out over a maximum of three financial years.