Measures allowing for physical distancing in Edinburgh may be retained beyond pandemic

THE City of Edinburgh Council has said that it is considering continuing some of its spaces for people measures even after Covid-19 has passed.

In April last year, the Scottish Government announced the launch of the spaces for people initiative. It would see local authorities across the country receive funding to create active travel measures that allowed for physical distancing.

Tomorrow (January 28), the council will discuss recommendations to consider retaining some of the measures – many of which the local authority said align with its strategic aims in protecting vulnerable road users while encouraging active travel.

It added that assessment criteria has been developed to help ascertain whether current projects – or elements of them – should be continued, initially on an experimental basis. If agreed, the council said that a city-wide consultation would ensue to seek the public’s view on which interventions they’d like to see retained beyond the pandemic.

Transport and environment convener, councillor Lesley Macinnes, said, “We’re continuing apace with our ambitious programme of Spaces for People measures designed to give people space to physically distance and to provide safe, protected routes for making journeys by foot, bike or wheelchair.

“We’ve had a great deal of positive feedback from people benefiting from these changes and we know from our own monitoring that many of them are having a positive impact on surrounding areas. That’s why we’re beginning to think about the potential for retaining some of the schemes implemented as part of spaces for people beyond the end of the pandemic, though we know this is some way off.

“Of course, any longer-term project would involve a great deal of engagement and consultation with communities – we want to bring the people of Edinburgh along with us. But by focusing on an ‘experimental’ approach we would be able to continually monitor and evaluate projects, responding to residents’ needs to best serve the public.”