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Roads to Nowhere report to the Council

Body: 

 

This document will be presented to the Council meeting chaired by Convenor of the Transport and Environment committee Cllr Lesley Hinds later today (Monday feb 4th).
 
Before reading it however, read this exchange in another T&E Committee meeting on January 15th.
 
Cllr Joanna Mowat, member of the Transport and Environment Committee, considering a council report: "Why is traffic in the city going down, but air pollution going up?" To see the Council Document from Officers to the Committee in which this state of affairs was revealed--but not flagged up-- click here
 
Council Officer replying: "The Picture is different for different pollutants!"
 
The evasive reply by the official and the failure by the councillor to get a straight answer from her own officials, shows the state into which the democratic process within the council is descending as traffic management spirals out of control.
 
Councillors are beginning, however slowly and painfully, to realise that the City is seeing not only falling traffic and rising pollution but also rising serious injuries, and deaths, from road accidents in areas that are traditional neighbourhoods for homes.
 
This is happening because of chronic failures to face up to what the council term 'wider issues' created by their flagship projects.
 
While the tram project is responsible in greater part, the proposals for Charlotte Square  make an already terrible planning catastrophe even worse.
 
This is why the evidence and arguments set out in this document are so important to serving an open debate.
 
  • A) -  A traffic survey commissioned by the developers to support their plans and handed to councillors had it's terms of reference so skewed as to be useless. It was almost as if designed to produce a 'nothing to worry about' message at odds with reality.
  • b) - The same tactics first used in 2008 are being used again; pretending to residents that rising traffic levels in their streets are temporary, when in fact the tram works and other road space reductions, such as these proposed for Charlotte Square, are producing changes to traffic flows which are  wide ranging, extensive and permanent.
  • c) - That this time more communities are involved, in addition to the Moray Feu roads and the Drumsheugh Estate roads, residents and businesses on roads across the entire New Town are being told not to worry--it's only temporary.
  • d) - And most worryingly of all the traffic levels are down -- (and little to do with any Council initiatives so much as the general economic recession which has cut traffic across the UK, although aggravated in Edinburgh by the desperate situation created in recent years by the Tram works and the chaotic diversions these have required) --  but accidents are up, as is pollution, as noted by Cllr Mowat).  The trends are worsening and of course will be  aggravated by the proposals for traffic changes in Charlotte Square  in the TRO proposals.
  • Traffic levels down But...
  • Pollution up
  • Serious accidents up
  • Deaths up
  • Noise and disturbance up
 
Yet in the last meeting the Council Officers fob off a Councillor's direct question on these topics with a patronising, uninformative and dismissive answer offering no explanation, or any facts.
 
We are not against positive schemes for improving our City--we are against the price of those schemes being hidden from the people in communities across the city who have to pay them. 
 
The prime concern here is that the effects of this scheme for Charlotte Square are being layered on top of those effects, still largely unappreciated by most people who live in Edinburgh, produced by the Tram project.
 
This report explains in detail and openly, what the effects of the Council's actions are,  effects which they appear unwilling to discuss openly even with senior councillors on the main oversight committee of the council for which they work.