Last week, I spared you my usual rant about active travel, safer streets and 20 minute neighbourhoods, but this is not the week to hold back. Portobello Community Council have rightly taken up the cudgels on our community’s behalf: http://www.portobellocc.org/pccpn/2020/11/03/letter-in-regards-the-fatality-on-portobello-hight-street/
Two days after this latest truly dreadful accident happened, I cycled to Lauriston Place and back, mainly on off-road tracks but I was more nervous than usual. The trip was uneventful; no horrible shouty drivers – this time – nor too dreadful close passes (https://www.motoroffence.co.uk/close-pass-the-ramifications-of-driving-too-close-to-a-cyclist/)
I’m very well aware of the dangers for people cycling here and passionate about playing my small part in making it safer for everybody to get about when walking or cycling. For me this is an issue of fairness not just to help ‘save the planet’ for future generations. Large numbers of us have no access to any car or van. That’s nearly 40% of households in Edinburgh (2011 Census Data). Edinburgh is the only Scottish local authority area where household car ownership actually reduced over the 10 years 2001-2011.
So here’s the rant – and skip this paragraph if you really can’t bear it! In my view, we have all pandered to the blessed ‘motorist’ in us for far too long. I jointly own and drive a car and am a member of the Edinburgh City Car Club. When I learned to drive, a very long time ago, it was dinned into me that pedestrians and vulnerable road users have the ‘right of way’ always. I believe we as human beings must claim our rightful space back from motorised vehicles, both parked and moving. Unpopular? Well – the Parti Socialiste Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo was recently re-elected on 29 June 2020 with a hugely increased majority by prioritising people over traffic. The Paris Mayor has the legal powers and financial resources that this Edinburgh Councillor can only dream of. So, I am counting down my final 18 months (545 days) days in what passes for ‘power’ in local government and doing what I can, with what I’ve got, where I am. There – rant over – for now!
This afternoon I’m recording this weekend’s edition of Porty Podcast with David Calder on Spaces for People and all this kind of Active Travel Champion stuff. More ranting, no doubt. Click for the Porty Podcast fab back catalogue: https://www.buzzsprout.com/71622
More on that new wheels ‘pump track’ at Hunters Hall Craigmillar, which is proving hugely popular with youngsters of all ages and abilities. More here: https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/news/article/13013/edinburgh-s-newest-pump-track-now-open-at-hunter-s-hall-park
Good to see the Brunstane Burn footpath and Christians Path verges have been cut back so that it’s much easier to pass each other safely either on bike or on foot.
Work on the Duddingston Road segregated cycle scheme is scheduled to start on 9 November. And we need to do more. Once all those temporary ‘Spaces for People’ projects are in place, the Council’s road safety team will begin a review of all school travel plans across the city, contacting schools and asking everyone how the safety of routes to school could be improved to encourage active travel. The reviews will be carried out over an 18 month period. The programme for school assessments will be posted on the Streets Ahead website over the coming weeks. See here: https://www.streetsaheadedinburgh.org.uk/
Do not get caught in the wrong lane and fined if you are driving on these routes: https://theedinburghreporter.co.uk/2020/11/five-new-bus-lane-cameras-go-live-across-the-city/
Portobello Market is this Saturday in Brighton Park. Full details here: https://www.pedal-porty.org.uk/food/portobello-market/
The fabulous Community Renewal who already do great work in Bingham and Magdalene were featured in Evening News this week: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/health/radical-approach-lift-entire-edinburgh-neighbourhood-out-poverty-five-years-3026820
What a fantastic community project Bridgend Farm is, and see what they have achieved over this tough period for all of us: https://www.bridgendfarmhouse.org.uk/covid-and-beyond.html
A proposal to the Council for a community takeover of Portobello Town Hall has been published. See here: https://www.portobellocentral.org/the-community-proposal-for-portobello-town-hall/.
Have a great weekend and stay safe!
Councillor Maureen Child
Labour Councillor Portobello/Craigmillar Ward
Office: 0131 529 3268
Mobile: 07718 666 481
Facebook Page: Maureen Child Standing Up for Portobello/Craigmillar