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Public Meeting – City Centre Transformation - Wed 13th June

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  1. Rosie
    Member

    June 13, 7.30 (doors open 6.45) Spokes Public Meeting – City Centre Transformation At Augustine United Church, Geo. IV Bridge

    It is widely acknowledged that Edinburgh, despite having the potential of Scotland’s premier and most magnificent street, has lagged behind many other cities in creating a people-friendly city centre, attractive to leisure and business. The city’s public transport is good, but conditions for walking and cycling are in many cases dire.

    Previous Councils have identified and analysed the problem, but there was insufficient political courage for substantial action to be possible. The 2010 Gehl report called Princes Street a ‘bus station’ and George Street a ‘car park’ – but it was apparently too radical, with councillors deeming Princes Street too controversial to tackle and entering George Street into a never-ending series of consultations which, remarkably, continues consulting right up to the present day.

    The new Council, elected in 2017, has expressed a determination to break this dismal cycle, with the City Centre Transformation …...

    Speakers at the meeting:-

    Daisy Narayanan, Sustrans Scotland Deputy Director

    Daisy Narayanan, urban designer, architect and Deputy Director of Sustrans Scotland, has been seconded to lead the project to the stage of an action plan with short, medium and long-term proposals for decision by the Council in early 2019. Public consultation on options is planned for late this summer. There may also be short-term trial projects, for example during the Festival.

    For more on the background to the Edinburgh Transformation project, see the first section of this article. Also, this Evening News article by Transport Convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes.

    Meawhile Glasgow City Council, which arguably is already ahead of Edinburgh, with significant pedestrianised areas and growing provision of segregated cycleroutes, has set up a 12-month Connectivity Commission with similar aims to Edinburgh’s Transformation project, though perhaps somewhat wider.

    Prof David Begg leads the Connectivity Commission. Now a UK transport expert, publisher of Transport Times, and former government adviser, back in the 1990s the then Councillor David Begg was Edinburgh’s Transport Convener (and a Spokes member).

    Transport Convener Cllr David Begg (yellow jacket) opens the Princes Street cycle lanes in 1996

    He was perhaps the City’s most radical holder of the post, taking what were then bold initiatives on buses, cycling (see picture) and walking – several of which, unbelievably, were dismantled or downgraded by subsequent councils to benefit less sustainable modes – including removing his Princes St cycle lanes and scrapping offpeak and Saturday bus lanes.

    Cllr Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council Leader, and former Transport Vice-Convener and Cycling Champion, will at our meeting respond to presentations of the Edinburgh and Glasgow projects, hopefully giving a feeling for the way the Council is thinking, and their level of commitment to the project.

    Kirsty Lewin, a board member of Sustrans UK, will then lead an audience QA/ panel discussion with the three speakers, with the intention that everyone present – including the panel! – will learn from each other.

    http://www.spokes.org.uk/2018/06/city-centre-transformation-and-edfoc/#more-13530

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. Stickman
    Member

    Currently being live streamed on YouTube:

    https://m.youtube.com/user/spokesvideos

    Posted 2 months ago #
  3. Klaxon
    Member

    Full recording available at

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Video Plugins

    Posted 2 months ago #
  4. Harts Cyclery
    Member

    Surprised this hasn't generated any chat. Seriously interesting meeting. Watch it if you weren't there.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  5. jdanielp
    Member

    Nice video! I was there and found the meeting interesting. I look forward to seeing the City Centre Transformation Plan when it is published next March but will only really believe in positive change when I see it implemented well thereafter. It seems a shame that Prof. David Begg isn't still involved with Edinburgh Council (although good for Glasgow); aside from a potentially controversial comment about preparing for autonomous vehicles, he was by far the most inspirational of the three speakers, although Daisy and then Adam will certainly have opportunity to impress.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  6. fimm
    Member

    Anyone (Harts?) able to give a bit of a summary of what was said?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  7. Harts Cyclery
    Member

    Not really! A lot was said. Watch/listen. Interesting stuff throughout. Daisy's talk the most worthwhile listening to.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  8. Klaxon
    Member

    potentially controversial comment about preparing for autonomous vehicles

    I don't think he is wrong

    His point seemed to be coming from the perspective that at the moment the manufacturers are driving the agenda and not the regulators

    Done right, AV will be great for safety. Done with only the occupant of the vehicle in mind, they could seal off large part of cities forever to anyone without one. An example would be pressure from the industry to remove *all* traffic lights, as "AVs don't need them" (never mind pedestrians, cycles, and every other non AV user does)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  9. Harts Cyclery
    Member

    Yes, I was initially alarmed when David Begg started talking about AVs, but his point was an important one. Campaigners who care about active travel and liveable cities need to get ahead of the game and reframe the context, fast.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  10. jdanielp
    Member

    He gave the specific example of being able to control the speed of vehicles so that enforcement is not even needed, which sounds quite sensible, but there is no need for that to be limited to AVs because most new vehicles should have similar functionality before long. Having said that, some current AV systems allow the user to choose how their vehicle reacts to speed limited areas, which will obviously need to be restricted. On the whole I am in favour of AVs but can imagine that not everyone is happy. Good points about campaigners and regulators needing to get ahead of the manufacturers though.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. neddie
    Member

    Some current AV systems allow the user to choose how their vehicle reacts to speed limited areas

    So, even AVs will not bring about adherence to speed limits. "Freedom", "user choice" and all that.

    Same reasons why GPS speed limiters are not fitted as standard to all vehicles today (tech that is available today, not 10 -20 years down the line)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. acsimpson
    Member

    Will I miss out on anything if I strip the video out and listen to the meeting's audio?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. Frenchy
    Member

    I don't think so. Only Daisy had slides, which had some photos of nice examples of cities transforming, but I'm fairly sure it'll all make sense without being able to see them.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  14. toomanybikes
    Member

    There's no such thing as current AV systems. There's driver assist, where the driver still has control. The benefit of AV is losing the driver, at which point the liability is with the software developer and collective responsibility becomes a thing. I really can't see how you can expect speeding in that situation, as once Google/Waymo gets caught speeding, the points aren't going to the owner of the car they're going to Google.

    I also think car sharing will be far more ubiquitous in an AV future because why own one when you can call it to pick you up and not have to pay the wages for a driver like current taxis? Waymo just ordered 90,000 cars so they're currently not rolling it out as a consumer product. Which means even more centralised responsibility.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  15. jdanielp
    Member

    @toomanybikes wannabe rather than current then, but some people seem to use the more sophisticated driver assists as if they're already fully autonomous despite warnings.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. wingpig
    Member

    "...as once Google/Waymo gets caught speeding, the points aren't going to the owner of the car they're going to Google."

    I've been wondering how infractions and penalties will be recorded when there's no discrete physical fleshy license holder to have their license endorsed. One license per fully-road-tested technology release shared across all vehicles (and accumulating all penalties accrued thereby), or will the tech owners be able to field as many virtual licensees as vehicles they wish to concurrently operate?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    Given there's no one driving an autonomous vehicle there will surely be no driving licence?

    There would surely be a culture of vehicle hacking and that would have to be punished.

    Perhaps municipalities and victims will be held responsible for injuries and deaths to other street users? That would certainly suit the manufacturers.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. jdanielp
    Member

    @wingpig @IWRATS each autonomous vehicle will hold its own driving license and will be liable for fines and community service (having to provide free rides to customers), being banned from driving (SORNed) or possibly even jail time (impounding) for lapses in driving standards. The Sentient Beings thread will be very different in a few year's time...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. paulmilne
    Member

    I look forward to the first AV account on CCE.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. Morningsider
    Member

    Top legal bods are looking into the implications of AVs:

    https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/automated-vehicles/

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. Harts Cyclery
    Member

    Bit of a risk of thread drift to AVs. Does anyone have any thoughts on what Daisy and Adam McVey said? Daisy said she wants help with ideas for the city centre. Thought folk would be keen to put some forward!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. PS
    Member

    @Harts Some ideas for the city centre, regurgitating much of what I have previously said in various council consultations:

    Difficult to say much on the city centre beyond "pedestrianise it" (whilst including segregated cycle paths to promote cross town active). I'd include at the very least George Street, St Andrews Square and Charlotte Square in that, whilst recognising that we'd probably need to keep some vehicular access on Hanover St, and St David St, and N&S Charlotte St. Obviously, pedestrianise the Royal Mile, Chambers St, Cockburn St, Victoria St too. Remove parking. Access for delivery by motor vehicle limited to pre-10am (bollard-enforced) and delivery vehicle limited in size. No limitations for cargo bike delivery, trollies (possibly electric, if that would help) etc. Test this (subsidized by Council) in Leith Walk while they put the new tram line in.

    Some sort of ban on large vehicles in the city centre (no way should HGVs be going along Queen St, for instance). Will the LEZ see to that?

    There are obviously loads of examples of other cities in Europe doing pedestrianisation well, so pick a style and go with it. There'll be pointers to how you deal with open spaces in windy conditions too. Make Edinburgh's prominent buildings (eg, Assembly Rooms, Museums) centre pieces in the urban landscape. Utility access in the middle of these spaces so people aren't tripping over power cables on the pavement all the time.

    Changes to Lothian Buses ticketing to allow a)contactless payment, b) transfers to aid bus- and tram-surfing. This will make interchanging between buses and trams easier and reduce the number of routes that need to go along the busiest streets.

    It was frustrating to hear your point about the need for segregated facilities on arterial routes knocked back by Adam due to lack of budget. Routes across the city centre won't be that helpful if only the confident cyclist can get there. Placing a kerb 1.5m out from the pavement down the length of Comiston Road/Buckstone Terrace can't be that expensive, can it?[I've rehearsed this before, but the inside lane is just used by parked cars, leaving 1m+ of road on the outside of the cars unused, so no one loses if you move the cars out 2m and stick the bike lane on the inside]. If there are easy wins like that, "JFDI" as the man said.

    And if the Council's spent the money on the street design guidance, how about it applies it every time it makes a significant investment (resurfacing) in a street? Too many good reports (hello, Jan Gehl!) gathering dust on Council shelves because "balance".

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. PS
    Member

    Oh, and:

    Sell off a bunch of Council vans and replace them with cargo bikes (interest-free loans available). Lead from the front.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. toomanybikes
    Member

    I think Adam Mcvey said they expect their cycling capital budget to be up to £35 millon over the course of the current council

    I'm just thinking now that SG cycling funding is £80 million a year, and £40 million last year, then given the council contains approx 10% of Scotland's population, we should really be expecting £36 million over the course of the council just from SG funding.

    I suppose some % of that £80 million will be "invested" in non infrastructure projects, but Edinburgh should surely get more than it's population % due to the higher cycling potential and benefits than lower density areas of the country.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. jdanielp
    Member

    @PS there was mention at that meeting that contactless bus payments are 'coming soon'. I can't remember who said that though. Travel transfers unfortunately were not mentioned.

    Daisy's slides included various before and after pictures of European cities which have gone from car domination to shared use and pedestrianisation; Brussels, in particular, was then referred back to by others later on. Prof. David Begg mentioned that tree-lined pedestrian-oriented streets will be coming to Glasgow in the not too distant future...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. Harts Cyclery
    Member

    PS - pretty much agree with all of that!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. Rosie
    Member

    Report on the meeting. The most interesting bit to me was the comparison between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Glasgow - far more space given to roads; less green space; bus service falling; trains good but crowded; more poverty. David Begg saw this as having potential in its own way. He's an excellent speaker.

    http://www.spokes.org.uk/2018/06/spokesmtg-city-centre-transformation/

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. crowriver
    Member

    Glasgow has more space full stop. Acres and acres of empty land, crumbling empty buildings. Also lots of very wide roads make it pretty easy to just add in a kerb and some bollards and hey presto a segregated cycleway. Very little on-street parking in city centre. Also a large intact suburban heavy rail network which is well used.

    Edinburgh much more compact and densely populated in the centre. Suburban rail network mostly ripped up in the 1960s or earlier. A lot of existing on-street parking in central areas which is tricky to get rid of in face of objections to TROs. Edinburgh should never have ripped up its trams in the 1950s.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. Rosie
    Member

    @crowriver Totes agree about trams. Obvious way to travel out to Corstorphine, Portobello, Newhaven, Granton etc.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. Stickman
    Member

    https://www.theedinburghreporter.co.uk/2018/08/council-taking-a-transformational-approach-to-the-city-centre-public-consultation-to-open-next-month

    Should we get our hopes up?

    "EXCERPT FROM THE REPORT

    “A transformational approach would involve a radical rethink of how the citymoves and operates.The City Centre would become a largely traffic free zone with controls in place to allow for essential traffic and with pedestrian priorityin the city, town, and local centres.

    You would be able to go to, but not through the city centre. A series of hubs could be developed where buses would drop off and other forms of less impactful transport would take over.

    Pavements would be significantly widened and public spaces improved. Keystreets would be pedestrianised.

    There would be strategic walking routes and segregated cycle routes across thecity with a citywide way nding network to guide pedestrians around the city.

    Public transport could be fully integrated with smart contactless payment for use across all public transport services. New park and ride interchanges could be provided at key points around the city with a series of new bus priority corridors linked to them.

    Urban & regional consolidation centres would be created for freight rationalisation, and green onward travel with last mile delivery hubs served by electric cargo bikes or electric vans.”

    Posted 2 weeks ago #

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