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What are we doing in Corstorphine?

May 2023

 

"Stop the Corstorphine LTN" Facebook Group

Our Facebook group "Stop the Corstorphine LTN" was established and quickly became a rallying point for those seeking to engage in constructive dialogue and work collaboratively to address the impact of the LTN on our neighborhood.

 

The page has flourished, growing to a community of over 2,200 members as of today. This growth is a testament to the shared passion and commitment of not just residents but also those who work in, shop in, or visit family and friends in Corstorphine to actively participate in shaping the future of Corstorphine.

Council officials frequently refer to "non-residents," but ACE firmly believe that the impact of the LTN extends beyond Corstorphine's borders. Residency should not be a prerequisite to experiencing the effects of the LTN.

Stop the Corstorphine LTN Petition

Our journey continued with the launch of a petition on Change.org, titled "Stop the Corstorphine LTN." To date we have 1,592 signatures. You can sign the petition here: Petition · Stop the Corstorphine LTN · Change.org 

 

June 2023

 

Leaflet Distribution

With the help of volunteers from the community, ACE designed and delivered around 5,000 leaflets in Corstorphine and the surrounding areas to spread awareness of what was going on in Corstorphine, and to help ensure those who don't use social media or have access to the internet could have their voices heard. During our leaflet drops we were concerned at the amount of people we spoke to who did not know about the restrictions being introduced as part of the Corstorphine Connections project.​

"Have Your Say" Meeting

One notable milestone in our journey was the impactful public meeting we organised in St Margaret's Park. There was an impressive turnout with hundreds of the community actively participating. This robust attendance underscored the shared commitment of the community to engage in a meaningful dialogue about the impact of the LTN on our neighborhood.

Local MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton spoke at our meeting and said it was shameful that Cllr Scott Arthur was not at the meeting. and “He should be here to hear what you think.” On hearing how the community felt ignored he said "My goodness, tonight is the start of something where they can’t ignore the democratic views of the people who have to live in Corstorphine, who love to live in Corstorphine. It’s a beautiful community to live in, but they have made this issue a divisive one, and yet still turn their back on being willing to hear from you.”

At the meeting ACE asked the City of Edinburgh Council to:

1. Reverse the ETRO

2. Conduct a fair and non-biased consultation clearly describing proposed measures

3. Implement changes based on the majority view

4. Find a balanced approach that respects the needs of all community members

You can view the speech made by Alex Cole-Hamilton using this link: Corstorphine LTN - community meeting on 27 June 2023 on Vimeo

August 2023

Meeting with Local Ward Councillors

We met with our local LibDem Councillors Alan Beal and Euan Davidson to provide them with feedback from the community and to discuss our upcoming Deputation.

Deputation to the Transport and Environment Committee

On 17th August 2023, ACE attended City Chambers to give our first Deputation regarding the Corstorphine Connections project.

Our Deputation urged CEC to reverse the implementation of ETRO 21/21 and listen to the community and demonstrated that the decision to implement the ETRO 21/21 was the result of erroneous, incorrect and
incomplete information.

Our Deputation can be read using this link: (Public Pack)Deputations Agenda Supplement for Transport and Environment Committee, 17/08/2023 10:00 (edinburgh.gov.uk)

The webcast of us presenting our Deputation at the TEC meeting can be viewed using this link: Transport and Environment Committee - Thursday 17 August 2023, 10:00am - City of Edinburgh Council Webcasts (public-i.tv)

September 2023

Meeting with Local Ward Councillors

We met again with our local LibDem Councillors Alan Beal, Euan Davidson and Fiona Bennett to discuss our next steps and how they could help support the community. 

We asked whether the Councillor's would escalate the decision to the full council.  They felt that this would be unlikely to help, as the voting blocks in the full council are likely to mirror those of the TEC quite closely. However, they did mention that there might be a possibility to persuade sufficient members of the TEC to back a motion to remove the bus gate.  ACE agreed that this would be a step in the right direction, even though the complete removal of the ETRO/LTN remains the ultimate goal.

Meeting with CEC Officers

We met with Daisy Narayanan, Head of Placemaking and Mobility and Andrew Easson, Road Safety and Active Travel Manager to provide feedback from the community. 

While the council officers displayed good intentions, they were firmly convinced that the current scheme is the right course of action, and were optimistic that any challenges would subside with time. We highlighted the shortcomings of the existing situation and proposed alternative approaches to enhance local transport options.

Council officers had previously met with Low Traffic Corstorphine and acknowledged both groups' concerns about the abuse they face. A recurring theme of mediation was emphasized. We stressed that, while ACE are open to engaging with opposing groups, the significant engagement with ACE, numbering in the thousands, contrasts sharply with the considerably smaller support garnered by groups endorsing the LTN. We express concern about the perceived "false balance" in the council's equitable treatment of these groups.

Apprehension arose when council officials responded to traffic jam photos by suggesting "additional mitigations," hinting at potential extensions of restrictions to other streets like Station Road and Traquair Park West.

October 2023

Community Reference Group Meeting

ACE were invited to participate in a new Community Reference Group and attending the first meeting on 23rd October 2023. 

 

We stressed how the CRG plays a vital role in representing our community's interests and concerns and that to fulfill this role optimally, it is crucial that we ensure the group encompasses a spectrum of perspectives, experiences, and opinions.  We shared our concerns that the meeting consisted of only 6 people representing a community of thousands.

 

We asked the council to consider who else could be invited to join the CRG as we believed the new group remained one sided with pro-LTN pressure groups maintaining a significant presence.  Notably, Spokes and Living Streets were invited, even though neither of them qualifies as a local group.

November 2023

Deputation to the Transport and Environment Committee

On 14th November 2023, we attended City Chambers to give our second Deputation regarding the Corstorphine Connections project.

Our Deputation again urged the committee to reverse the ETRO imposed upon Corstorphine and highlighted the mounting evidence that the LTN has failed to meet its own objectives.

Our key points were:

1. Claims of local support are anecdotal and not backed by evidence
2. There is an urgent need to repeat the direct survey of local residents
3. Flawed baseline data prevents accurate assessment of the experimental changes 
4. Omissions in first month data hide traffic displacement to main roads
5. The boundary of the LTN has seen a far greater increase in the volume of traffic than would be expected 
6. The Manse Road changes have caused traffic displacement but not evaporation
7. The Manse Road changes have made the network of distributor roads less efficient.

 

We also disputed the fictitious claims made by Low Traffic Corstorphine and highlighted that such groups, such as Low represent a very small minority of the community and are made up of the same few people who cross represent multiple groups.

Our Deputation can be read using this link: (Public Pack)Deputations Agenda Supplement for Transport and Environment Committee, 16/11/2023 10:00 (edinburgh.gov.uk)

The webcast of us presenting our Deputation at the TEC meeting can be viewed using this link: Transport and Environment Committee - Thursday 16 November 2023, 10:00am - City of Edinburgh Council Webcasts (public-i.tv)

Motion to remove the Manse Road Bus Gate

Despite the tireless efforts of our local ward Councillors, the decision was made to retain the bus gate for the time being. Councillor Arthur proposed an amendment of 'No Action,' seconded by Councillor Aston of SNP.

 

Councillors Beal, Lang, Dijkstra-Downie, Cowdy, and Munro supported the motion brought by Councillor Davidson.

 

The vote breakdown was as follows:

 

SNP, Green Party and Labour voted in favour of Councillor Arthur's 'No Action' amendment. This was from Councillors Aston, Fullerton, Dobbins, O’Neill, Booth, Arthur and Faccenda.

 

The Liberal Democrats and Scottish Conservatives voted in favour of Councillor Davidson's motion to remove the bus gate immediately. This was from Councillors Beal, Dijkstra-Downie, Cowdy and Munro.

 

The final vote was 7 in favour of Councillor Arthur’s 'No Action' and 4 in favour Councillor Davidson’s motion to remove the bus gate immediately.

 

The motion was blocked by the committee, led by Councillor Scott Arthur's amendment of 'No Action'

We followed up with an email to each member of the Transport and Environment Committee with the following:

Dear Committee Members,

This correspondence follows last week's decision regarding the retention of the Manse Road Bus Gate, a decision that, regrettably, does not come as a surprise to us. 

Representing the Corstorphine Community, where 74% opposed the bus gate, we express our profound disappointment and frustration at this decision. Despite a wealth of clear facts and evidence, the committee has chosen to uphold the bus gate, disregarding the sentiments of our community.

In response to claims that it would be "premature" to remove the bus gate before the trial concludes, we question how much clearer the evidence of the trial's failure needs to be. We align with the view that restricting car access can be contentious but contest the notion that dissent stems from a small, vocal minority. Such a claim is unfounded, and it is disconcerting that some continue to focus on baseless arguments while turning a blind eye to established facts.

Delaying action until the "end of the process" risks irreversible damage. Six months is more than enough time for evidence to be analysed and should suffice to ascertain the ineffectiveness of the bus gate.

The community has been repeatedly assured that the scheme is a trial, but the ongoing disruptions, such as road excavations, convey a sense of permanence. In any scientific endeavor, adverse results would prompt reconsideration or adaptation. Regrettably, this has not been the case in Corstorphine. Continuing the trial and ignoring the clear evidence of failure not only defies democratic principles but is ethically questionable.

While some may choose to overlook the reality of the situation, we question why concrete evidence is consistently disregarded, particularly concerning the adverse impact on Station Road, Featherhall Avenue and Meadow Place Road due to traffic displacement. 

The purported focus on encouraging "Active Travel" lacks tangible results. Instead of promoting adult cycling, the scheme merely displaces vehicular traffic. This is consistent with the latest studies on such schemes. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report on active travel schemes finds that there has been no sustained increase in cycling rates and, in some cases levels of activity are lower now than when the targets were set.  Schemes are being withdrawn across the UK in response to the growing body of evidence that they contribute little to traffic reduction or active travel.  The fact that the results of the Corstorphine scheme match the general pattern of failure reinforces the case for an early termination.

Despite numerous alternative suggestions from our community, these proposals continue to be ignored. Assertions that the scheme enhances school safety lack substantiation, placing the council in a precarious position without credible evidence.

We refrain from reiterating the evidence of the scheme's failure, as it is readily available and, unfortunately, continues to be disregarded. However, we implore each committee member to consider the overwhelming sentiments expressed by our community. We are certain that Councillor Davidson would not have raised the motion in the first place if he didn't have the backing of the majority of the community. This can also be demonstrated through the 1,000+ comments and stories we have collated from the community to date.

Dismissing the voices of a community as "those who shout the loudest" overlooks the legitimacy of our concerns and reflects poorly on the council.

The decision was a profound disappointment, and the community will find it difficult to forget how they were let down by those elected to represent the best interests of the public. We urge the committee to consider the implications of this vote.

We thank those who supported our community and voted in favour of Councillor Davidson's motion.

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