Leith Street closure is an opportunity

Hi Spurtle

I'm a local resident and, having read your April 2017 edition about the Leith Street road closure to vehicles, I would like to put forward another point of view.

I mostly walk up and down Leith Street to go into town and a truly awful experience it is at the moment. Mind you it was bad enough previously before these works began, with four lanes of traffic, a divided highway and narrow pavements. 

From the pedestrian and cycling point of view, I can't wait for all those vehicles not to be there. My walk will be much improved air-quality wise, without those diesel fumes and particulates.

Perhaps the quality of the environment might even encourage others to walk or cycle rather than use their cars, thereby reducing traffic, congestion, improving air quality and, at the same time,  improving their health through active travel, since we all need to exercise more to avoid a diabetes epidemic overwhelming the NHS.

We should perhaps lobby the developers to fund a temporary 'people' environment meantime, for example facilitating pop-up street-food kiosks, seats, planters, art as happened during the huge King's Cross project in London.

Of course buses and other vehicles will be displaced and inconvenienced, but that very inconvenience might also have a deterrent effect on people making unnecessary car journeys, many of which are less than two miles long. 

We need to drop the vehicle-priority mindset and think seriously about how to make our local area (and our city) – increasingly dominated by so much vehicular traffic – much more friendly to people on foot and on bikes

Is this something the Spurtle could support? 

Alison Blamire

(East London Street)