Plans to give Leith a “European” vibe have been unveiled by the council as part of a low-traffic neighbourhood scheme.
Edinburgh City Council wants to introduce a low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) scheme in the area between Salamander Street, Commercial Street, North and Great Junction Street, Duke Street and the roads around Leith Links.
The LTN designs include restrictions to through traffic and ‘parklets’ to encourage more people to walk, cycle and spend time in the area.
There will also be “a high-quality segregated cycle route” between the Foot of the Walk and Ocean Terminal.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said: “We want to support people to walk, cycle, shop and spend time in this vibrant and walkable part of the city.
“The majority of respondents to our initial engagement told us that traffic speed and volume are unsafe for children while many identified this as a barrier to them walking and cycling, and that’s something we need to address.
“Our own traffic data, from both before and during the pandemic, also identified intrusive traffic hotspots and based on this and feedback from residents we’ve come up with these exciting proposals for a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Leith, which will retain access for residents and businesses travelling by motor vehicle.
“Artist’s impressions show attractive and liveable community spaces, where people can relax and children can play – much like in many other European cities.
“We want to involve local people in the development of this vision, and I’d encourage anyone with an interest to take part in the consultation, or come along to one of our virtual co-design workshops to help shape the design process.”
The plans follow an initial consultation on low-traffic neighbourhoods, undertaken between February 8 and March 5, which showed 75% of survey respondents strongly support or support the aim for improving cycling conditions in Leith, and 80% of survey respondents strongly support or support the aim for improving walking conditions in Leith.
The plans are set to be put through a second phase of engagement with the local community, before being brought to the council’s transport and environment committee.
If approved by councillors, the low-traffic neighbourhood would then be created using experimental traffic orders – which would remain in place for 18 months and which could be modified or removed after that period.
Councillor Karen Doran, transport and environment vice convener, said: “It’s fantastic to see initial proposals for Leith brought to life in our interactive visualisations, which demonstrate just what a difference these changes could make to the local environment.
“This is alongside a new, essential active travel link to Ocean Terminal – one of the most popular destinations for people living in the area.
“The vast majority of respondents said they want us to improve cycling and walking conditions in Leith, and we want to involve community members as we work to create a more liveable neighbourhood.
“By introducing these changes on a trial basis, we’ll be able to monitor the impacts and respond, in close communication with local people, to make sure we strike the right balance.
“For now, please let us know your thoughts on the latest designs via our online consultation.”
By local democracy reporter Joseph Anderson