BUSY BROUGHTON STREET NEEDS MORE ROOM FOR ACTIVE TRAVELLERS
The Council has been keen in recent days on making conditions in Edinburgh as safe and attractive as possible for pedestrians and cyclists.
We need effective routes soon that will encourage more people to travel actively at a sensible social distance from each other and four-wheeled fellow road users, relieving pressure on public transport.
To this end, there have been appeals to the public for local input on which changes where could make the most difference.
This morning, Bellevue resident, former Council Leader and Edinburgh North & Leith MP Mark Lazarowicz wrote to all Leith Walk and City Centre elected members.
We reproduce his letter below in full.
I am writing in response to the invitation issued by the City Council for suggestions from the community for further spaces for walking and cycling.
I would like to make a proposal for Broughton Street. I am sending this email to the local councillors for that area, but as I live in Leith Walk ward, I am sending it to the councillors for that area also. As you will know, many people living in the Leith Walk ward (in the Bellevue and Broughton areas in particular) also use Broughton Street on a regular basis.
Broughton Street has quite narrow pavements, particularly on the eastern side. It is an important pedestrian route into the city centre for many in the north of the city, and is also regularly used by cyclists.
It is very difficult to maintain social distancing on the pavements, and the ability of pedestrians to walk on the road will obviously be less when streets become busier.
To resolve this problem, I would therefore propose that, on the eastern side of Broughton Street, the current parking bays are removed and a cycle lane put in its place, for the entire length from East London Street to Picardy Place. This lane should be given light segregation, with occasional gaps for the two bus stops, and loading at two or three locations. Light segregation, such as low pre-formed plastic objects, would also allow emergency vehicles to access the kerb if necessary. They could also be put in place very quickly.
Doing this would provide pedestrians with a space they could walk into if they wished to ensure social distancing on the pavement, as they could go into the cycle lane for a short while. As Broughton Street is uphill, cyclists will not be moving fast and this will not be a safety problem for either. Putting a cycle lane in place will assist cyclists who may be less stable when cycling up the hill, and this will mean this route will be usable by more cyclists.
I am suggesting that this lane is placed on the eastern side as the pavements on the western side are wider in some parts anyway, and in addition a cycle lane going downhill is of less value to cyclists.
I realise there may be some objections from those who feel removal of the parking bays would have a negative impact on shops in the street. I suggest that, in fact, the arrangement suggested above, by reducing pedestrian crowding, will actually mean it is more likely that they use Broughton Street for shopping. In addition, it will give some space for people to wait outside shops while waiting to go in, if there are too many people in a shop because of social distancing rules.
I do hope you will be able to implement this measure as soon as possible. As well as being simple and easy to do quickly, it would also be very cheap to do.
I have copied this email to the council email address for making suggestions of this nature. I have also copied it to the Broughton Spurtle for their interest.
So far Mr Lazarowicz has received replies from Councillors Doran and Mowat, both of whom had already been discussing a similar proposal. Councillor Munn welcomed the intervention, and noted similarities to another narrow shopping street he is addressing: Easter Road.