A recent online summit hosted by Living Streets Edinburgh and chaired by former Councilor and MP Mark Lazarowicz discussed the need for slower speeds to ensure safer streets.
The event brought together transport professionals and Cllr Lesley Macinnes who is responsible for transport. With over 60 people online, the discussion was described as “lively”.
Mark Lazarowicz said: “This event highlighted the progress made in the fight against speed in Edinburgh, but also what remains to be done. Safer streets benefit everyone who uses them, whether they are on foot, by bicycle, in public transport or by car. I hope that following this event, the city council, and elected officials from all parties, will now commit to achieving the Vision Zero goal by 2030 at the latest. This means that we should aim to have no deaths or serious injuries on the roads of our city. Other cities in Europe are doing it – so should we.
Thanks to Living Streets, here are the four main themes:
Street design: It is not enough to set speed limits, road engineering (for example, to introduce narrow traffic lanes and “narrow” turns on secondary roads) must be changed to ensure compliance drivers.
Application: There is a widespread perception that the 20 mph limits, while welcome, are largely exceeded; the traffic camera regime has been particularly criticized for the number of “bagged” cameras and the inability of fixed cameras to be used in 20 mph zones. There was a lot of skepticism that the Scottish national approach to deciding when and where to locate cameras (based on average speeds) was appropriate, as it can mean tolerating significant levels of high-speed traffic.
Budgets: The meeting heard that across Scotland the Safety Camera Partnership has an annual budget of £ 5million across Scotland; a proportion which was widely felt to be out of step with Transport Scotland’s overall £ 2.5bn budget. Locally, residents report that they have been told that the route changes cannot be made due to council budget constraints.
Community speed monitoring: there was great interest and support for the communities involved in measuring and enforcing speed limits; promoting awareness (for example through stickers on wheeled bins) and participating in decisions on where to deploy speed cameras.
Cycling infrastructure: Significant support has been given to the provision of separate cycling infrastructure as part of safer street environments.
Technology: There have been a number of interesting ideas on using new technology to make streets safer, for example, the potential for greater use of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) for control and limit the speed of municipal vehicles, buses and taxis; or to deter “rat race” behavior (eg, to avoid speed cameras or GPS).
Presentations from the event can be viewed here.