October 2009

Public Realm Strategy omits cycling

Spokes has responded to Edinburgh Council’s Public Realm Strategy Consultation.

We are concerned that, the Strategy places a too great emphasis on visual aspects, to the extent that this dominates issues of accessibility and transport – whereas both should be important considerations.

When it comes to cycling, that is not mentioned at all, despite the Council having signed up months ago to the Charter of Brussels with its ambitious target for 15% of journeys to be by bike by 2020 – a target which surely means that all policy developments need to take full account of cycling from the outset.

Unfortunately, the omission of cycling is just another in a long line of cases emanating from some parts of the City Development department where cycling is not included – although in some cases improvements are made when Spokes and individuals (such as you?) object.   Other examples are the Council’s Streetscape policies which resulted in the ‘black’ cycle lanes and advance stop areas in parts of the city centre.   More recently, a new council report on boosting Edinburgh’s town centres like Portobello – again car, bus and walk is mentioned, but no cycling!!   Fortunately the Transport Section of City Development seems increasingly bike-aware, but some of the Planning and Development Sections which come up with documents like the above really don’t seem to have got the message yet!

Our submission to the Public Realm consultation makes these points strongly, and suggests how the document should be made more holistic by paying fuller attention to accessibility – including getting about in the city by bike.

The official consultation is now over, but if the above concerns you please contact your councillors, as they can influence the outcome, and they will have a final say when the document goes to the council’s Planning Committee.

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