Edinburgh’s Spaces for People programme: Residents say crashes have increased since safety measures were introduced
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And they complain that the Lanark Road and Longstone program failed to give due weight to safety issues from the outset.
Professor Derryck Reid, chairman of South West Edinburgh in Motion (SWEM), said data from road safety website CrashMap showed there were no collisions involving pedestrians, cyclists or drivers in 2019 or 2020 in areas where cycle paths now operate.
“However, since the scheme was introduced by the council in 2021, residents have witnessed at least five collisions. These appear to be partly linked to the design of the new scheme and the continued poor maintenance of the roads. “
He said the collisions included a female cyclist who got off her bike due to poor road surfaces; a cyclist knocking over a preschooler; an “under the influence” driver, apparently confused by the layout, rammed a vehicle in a floating parking space and flipped it onto a bike path and sidewalk, through the wall leading to the Union Canal; a vehicle in a floating parking space is hit in a “hit and run”; and a pedestrian refuge island demolished when the driver swerved to avoid a car in a floating parking space.
Professor Reid added: ‘Seven weeks later the traffic island remains unrepaired and in an unsafe condition, showing complete disregard for pedestrian safety and the safety of other road users.’
SWEM says that since the whole project involves 4.4 miles of complex roadway with hundreds of access points with driveways and side streets, there should have been independent safety audits of the designs before it was launched.
Professor Reid said: “There was plenty of time to do this in the eight months between design and implementation. However, no independent safety audit was carried out until several months after installation. Residents officially raised safety concerns about this program early on.”
And he said safety auditors should have been given details of collisions, health and safety incidents, near-misses and injury claims that residents had reported to the council.
“However, freedom of information and complaint responses show that the council has not even officially recorded such incidents.”
Colinton/Fairmilehead Conservative councilor Jason Rust said: “There is clearly something wrong when the council’s flagship policy of making our roads safer actually makes local residents feel less I am very concerned about the number of recent collisions and near-failures and the apparent failure of council processes to take them into account.”
Transport manager Lesley Macinnes said the council takes road safety issues and collisions anywhere in the city very seriously.
She continued: ‘We all have to drive according to the conditions of the road, and the fact that this list of alleged incidents includes a person allegedly driving under the influence and the damage caused by a hit-and-run shows that this has not not necessarily been the case. In fact, these events demonstrate how much we must protect the safety of people on foot and on a bike, on a route where a cyclist has so tragically lost his life in recent years.
“We were open from the start that these measures were introduced on an emergency basis to provide a safe alternative to public transport at a time when this was discouraged, as well as a different option from the crowded Union Canal and Water of Leith paths. . Officers have exercised due diligence in implementing this program, including required audits for these urgent changes and consideration of previous collisions, as well as liaising with community members since.
“This is a clear attempt to overturn a carefully thought out policy aimed at protecting public safety based on anecdotes, many of which have not been reported to the police and, in some cases, involve criminal behavior by the from the drivers.”
The council said arrangements were being made to repair the island this week.
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