Outline designs showing how the northern half of Leith Walk will change as part of the Leith Improvement programme were published this week. These designs have been sent to statutory consultees – such as local community councils – and eventually a four week period for public comments will take place, but the dates for this have yet to be confirmed.
To make it easier for people to see the designs we’ve posted them as image files. If you click on the image you should be able to view a larger version.
The first image below, shows the proposals for the Foot of the Walk to Smith’s Place.
If you’re reading this on a desktop computer, you can see a large version of this image on Flickr here.
The second section below, shows the next part, from Smith’s Place up to Iona Street.
Again if you are reading this on a big display, you can see this section in more detail on Flickr here.
Frustratingly, the design proposals still do not include detailed plans for the all important junctions at the Foot of the Walk and at Pilrig Street.
This is apparently because officials are commissioning traffic modelling studies of various types of junction design in a bid to balance air quality concerns against attempts to make it safer and more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists.
Until we see those designs it’s perhaps worth pointing out some of the key changes that are proposed on this section of street. Pedestrians and local traders are really the big winners in this design.
Officials have listened to feedback from local people on street clutter and made space for domestic communal bins in the parking lane. This means they won’t clutter up the pavement as they do now.
In many places the pavements are wider, so there will be more opportunities for outdoor seating, and there are five zebra crossings on this section of the walk – together with a signalised pedestrian crossing for school pupils crossing the street to get to Lorne Primary.
It’s likely that the combination of the narrower carriageway and these extra pedestrian crossings will have a significant traffic calming effect – and therefore it should become a far more attractive “people place” – which will undoubtedly be good for local businesses.
Sadly, cyclists fair less well from the design. Although there is an effort to provide more continuous advisory cycle lane provision on the street, it is clear that unless the council commits to making some of the changes that we proposed in our earlier consultation responses – setting an explicit 20mph speed limit for example, and including buffer zones to keep cyclists out of the “door zone” – then cyclists will continue to be vulnerable on this section of the street.
The devil is in the detail. It’s not entirely clear from these designs what will happen to the commercial waste bins that currently clutter up the pavement, for example?
If you spot something that you’d like Greener Leith to raise in the next round of consultation, please get in touch, or add it into the comments below.