Angus Profile picture
Jan 30 25 tweets 3 min read Read on X
So, Edinburgh's Circulation Plan is finally out!

The CP set out to significantly rebalance our streets city-wide to meet our now - *extremely pressing* - 2030 Net Zero & 30% car km reduction commitments.
After almost two years of serious graft, the CP has evolved into a huge, sprawling, ambitious, highly complex piece of work that has involved CEC officers, consultants & stakeholders alike often grappling with approaches that are still genuinely novel in the UK context.
The CP (& tram study) has now produced a wall of dense, highly technical reporting for consideration at TEC that includes many innovative policy proposals, reams of dense technical data & argumentation & *critically important* but challenging to interpret mapping..
These outputs, while imperfect (almost inevitably so given the scale & complexity of the problem), do move the dial hugely on several critical issues, particularly:
A. Enabling, spatially, the creation of an actually pretty extensive, & (fairly) coherent cycle network (via widespread roadspace reallocation on arterial corridors).
B. Taking a serious look at how best to remove intrusive through traffic from the city centre (based on a Ghent-style sector plan)
It's always tempting to look at a piece of work like the CP through a local lens: looking at this street, this path, this local area, will the CP make it easier or harder for me to walk/cycle/drive to work/school/the shops etc? - see Roseburn concerns.. but…..
While this is totally understandable, it also risks distracting from the key, more strategic level questions about the CP that Councillors & the public alike should really be asking:

1. Does the CP do *enough* to improve the *quality* of the pedestrian network (particularly by ensuring ESDG pavement minimums have been achieved)?
2. Does the CP go far *enough* in enabling the creation of a *genuinely* extensive, coherent & safe cycle network (the core of the new ATAP)?
3. Does the CP do *enough* to improve bus journey times & reliability (essentially by increasing bus priority/reducing how often buses get stuck in traffic)?
4. Does the CP do *enough* to tackle the constant deluge of polluting, noisy traffic lazily & selfishly rat-running right through our city centre (including up/down/all over the Royal Mile itself)?
5. Does the CP do *enough* to reallocate roadspace away from cars to meaningfully contribute to urgently needed demand management?
The answer to most of these questions is (in most cases) a (qualified) yes, but perhaps the killer question is:
6. Does the CP do *enough* for us to meet our 2030 Net Zero & 30% car km reduction commitments & does the implementation approach proposed in the CP actually get us there in time?
Some key context for that question:
· CEC’s Net Zero & 30% car km reduction targets are now only six years away
· It took nine years to deliver CCWEL
If we are to have *any* chance of meeting the incredibly challenging 2030 deadlines it’s critical we stop faffing about with piecemeal, incremental progress & focus squarely on solutions that are quick, cheap to deploy & above all seriously impactful.

A. For the cycle network, this almost certainly means looking at much, much wider/routine application of quick/cheap/adaptable light segregation (ie something like the SFP networks, but with good/acceptable design solutions for bus stop bypasses & junctions)
B. For the city centre, this really has to mean committing to the ‘Big Bang’ almost overnight approach to delivering the city centre (ie quick/cheap delivery using ‘pop-up’ bus gates and modal filters as was done in Ghent (see section 5.7.1 in the CP report)
Continuing the business as usual, incremental (ie glacier pace) ‘Stepped Implementation’ approach to delivering the city centre (as sec 5.7.2) more or less *guarantees* we will not hit 2030 deadlines.

These issues & potential solutions urgently need to be discussed at TEC.
In summary, while not perfect, the CP has taken on a whole raft of really thorny & incredibly pressing strategic problems (demand management, roadspace reallocation, proper on-road cycling & extended tram networks etc) & it has been more successful than not.
Finally, people (especially AT campaigners..) often give the Council a hard time for a lack of ambition, a lack of political will, an unwillingness to tackle the hard problems etc etc.
On this occasion we need to give both the transport convenors involved in the CP real credit (ie @Lmacinnessnp for initiating it & @cllrscottArthur for seeing it through).
@lmacinnessnp @CllrScottArthur Even more deserving of the public’s deep thanks are the incredibly dedicated officers who have worked quietly & doggedly behind the scenes to deliver this incredibly complex piece of work & always with an laser-like focus on the public interest.
@lmacinnessnp @CllrScottArthur I hope the CP is fully adopted at TEC on Thursday, it is critical.

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