September 2014

20mph: Have Your Say by 17 Oct!!

Edinburgh Council is consulting on one of the most ambitious 20mph plans of any UK city.   But the plans risk being cut back.  You can help ensure they get through – and are improved further …

[Note: Although the official consultation ends 17.10.14 it is worth contacting your councillors about this at any time subsequently as they will be taking decisions in the coming months]

As part of its Local Transport Strategy the Council is proposing 20mph limits for…

  • all residential streets [now commonplace in the UK]
  • all main shopping streets [unusual but becoming more common]
  • other streets with significant pedestrian and/or cyclist use [we don’t know any other city with this policy]

This means that virtually all streets in a large area of central Edinburgh, and many streets further out, would become 20mph.  The plans also include reducing some 40mph limits to 30mph, and cutting some higher limits back to 40mph.

The new proposals follow the success of the South Edinburgh widespread 20mph experiment.   A report on the experiment, based on 1000 before and after interviews, found that…

  • Support for the 20mph rose from 68% before to 79% after
  • Those considering cycling to be unsafe fell from 26% to 18%
  • Children cycling to school rose from 4% to 12%
  • Children allowed to play on the pavement or street rose from 31% to 66%
  • Walking trips rose 7%, cycling trips rose 5% and car trips fell 3%.

The new proposals would extend these benefits right across the city.


These measures are effective in reducing accidents and injuries, traffic speed and volume

from  Go slow: an umbrella review of the effects of 20 mph zones and limits on health and health inequalities  Journal of Public Health, 28.9.14


However, the Council will undoubtedly come under massive pressure from motoring and other interests to dilute the plan.  Indeed the Evening News has said it is “expected” that some streets being consulted on as 20mph (such as Leith Walk) will in fact stay at 30mph – or even 40mph!

Therefore if you support the Council’s draft plans, it is vital for you to say so – see below for what you can do.  Please don’t complain later about the council ‘losing its nerve’ if you didn’t back them up when you had the chance!


The Council’s consultation page is here.

It includes a link to this map of the proposals.  On the map use the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons to zoom in and out, and click ‘Map features’ to see the key for the meaning of the colours.

There is also a Council Committee report explaining the background [you don’t need to read this – it’s just if you want more background info].

There is also an online questionnaire.


  • Essential – complete the above questionnaire.   It is important to mention roads that affect you – particularly those you’d like added to the 20mph list and those proposed for 20mph which you fear may get lots of objections [see below for some examples].  Closing date 17 October.
  • Attend the local consultation events, exhibitions and/or public meetings – details below.  It is particularly important that 20mph supporters go to the public meetings.
  • To make more detailed comments, or for further info – Contact the Council 20mph team – email – phone 0131 469 3502.
  • If you feel strongly – tell your councillors what you think and what you would like them to support.  Find them at

OUR INITIAL THOUGHTS [comments welcome]

Note – The lists below are not exhaustive, and you may not agree with them all – they are points suggested by various of our Planning Group members.   Please think carefully about the roads that you use (or would like to!) and be sure to include those in your questionnaire response, emails to councillors, etc.

Roads proposed for 20mph which we suspect will get objections and be at risk of staying at 30mph

Note – in addition to the safety arguments, having relatively short stretches of 30mph [such as Melville Drive] within a widespread 20mph area is a recipe for confusion and also leads to a proliferation of signing as you move in and out of 20 & 30 areas.

  • Leith Walk
  • Melville Drive
  • Queen Street
  • Kilgraston Road
  • Ferry Road, east of Goldenacre
  • Marchmont Road

Roads proposed for 30mph which should be considered for 20mph

Note – in our view many of these meet the criteria for residential, shopping and/or significant numbers of pedestrians and/or cyclists.  Additionally, some are narrow and/or have narrow pavements, making walking and/or cycling conditions unpleasant when motor traffic passing at speed.   In some cases a better (or additional) solution might be to introduce a segregated or mandatory cycle lane.

  • Ferry Road, west of Goldenacre
  • Esslemont Road
  • Cluny Gardens
  • Newtoft Street
  • Clermiston Road south of Cairnmuir Road (the steep bit)
  • Whitehill Street in Newcraighall
  • Lanark Road in Juniper Green
  • Lower Granton Road
  • Meadow Place Road between Drum Brae and Corstorphine High Street
  • Old Church Lane
  • Balgreen Road
  • Polwarth Terrace
  • Colinton Road
  • Musselburgh Road

Roads proposed for 40mph which should be considered for 30mph

  • Riccarton Mains Road
  • Comiston Road
  • Lanark Road
  • Milton Road

Roads at 50-60mph which should be reduced to 30mph

Note – Some of these are not included in this consultation but are expected to be in a future rural areas consultation (no timescale known).   But if they matter to you, please mention them.

  • Braid Hills Road
  • Long Dalmahoy Road and other narrow country lanes in rural west Edinburgh

Queens Drive, Holyrood to Meadowbank

Note that this is the responsibility of Historic Scotland and so is not covered by this Edinburgh Council consultation.  It is officially 20mph in part, 30mph in part, but both need enforced. Also, although there is a cyclepath from Holyrood to Meadowbank it is indequate in design and connectivity – yet cyclists who stay on the road are sometimes deliberately intimidated by drivers.  If these points concerns you, ask your MSPs to take it up for you.


  • Sep 8, 2-4pm  Drop-In South Queensferry Community Education Centre,
    Kirkliston Road
  • Sep 10, 7pm  Public Meeting Portobello Town Hall
  • Sep 16, 7pm  Public Meeting City Chambers
  • Sep 18, 2-4pm  Drop-In Edgar Hall, Stenhouse St Aidan’s Parish Church
  • Sep 22, 2-4pm  Drop-In Oxgangs Library
  • Sep 23, 7pm  Public Meeting City Chambers
  • Sep 24, 6pm  Drop-In Business Centre, McDonald Road Library
  • Sep 1-14  Exhibition at Central Library, George IV Bridge
  • Sep 1->?  Maps of the proposals will be at these libraries: Piershill, Northfield, Gilmerton, Morningside, Wester Hailes, Drumbrae, Hub, McDonald Road and Muirhouse

Full details of all the above consultation/exhibition opportunities in this document.

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