The draft plan is published today and seeks to shift the balance away from private vehicle use and towards public transport and cycling and walking through a combination of carrots and sticks. Improvements are pledged to public transport and ticketing, cycle and walking routes, electric vehicles and freight arrangements. At the same time parking controls will be extended, a workplace parking levy introduced and the most polluting vehicles kept out of the city centre.
However, the Greens have warned that making it happen is what matters and that the plan cannot be at odds with other big-ticket projects like the City Region Deal and city-wide development plan.
Green councillor Claire Miller said:
“There is a huge amount to welcome in the draft plan which could and should improve quality of life in the city in so many ways: tackling congestion, pollution, poor health, social isolation and road safety. As the examples within the plan from across the world show, there is only one credible direction for Edinburgh. The status quo simply leaves the city further behind as other cities take dramatic steps towards public transport and cycling and walking.
“So the challenge now is to make it happen. Edinburgh has struggled a lot to get even some basic bike schemes up and running and developing a single tram line has been fraught. That can’t continue. The city will need to invest in project skills to deliver along with strong leadership. And the draft plan will need to shift thinking in other big strategies too. It will be hard to achieve the vision if planning decisions simply result in more car-dependent suburbs or out-of-town services. The city region deal too needs rethought, with £120m going in to a single roundabout at Sheriffhall. That just does not add up.
“The prize is a much better Edinburgh. I really hope everyone gets behind it.”
The draft plan can be viewed here. If agreed by councillors next week, consultation runs until 27 March.