Cities are moulded by intricate networks of historic, social, economic and technological inter-relationships. Successful places are those which adapt positively and effectively to meet new challenges. So proposed interventions, however well intentioned, must fully examine, analyse, understand and build positively on this complexity, rather than being isolated responses to pressure from one particular interest group or issue. Edinburgh has a very distinctive character and it is rare that undigested schemes, uncritically imposed from elsewhere, can produce satisfactory results.
Broughton Street is a typical example of a historic highway. Originally the main street of Broughton village outside Edinburgh’s walls, from the 12th century it was also part of the ‘Wester Road’, until Leith Walk was built in 1650, through Bonnington to Leith.
As Edinburgh spread the street was absorbed into the expanding city, reinforcing its role as a community hub for the surrounding area with housing, retailing, pubs and cafés, and at one time also with sixteen religious institutions directly on the street or close by. Later public transport, first as trams and then buses, was routed through it. Many of the shops were of a quality which draw customers from beyond the immediate vicinity. As with most inner-city residential areas, it had experienced a period of decay but has now come back strongly.
Today, it plays multiple roles – as a highway, as a public transport corridor, as a pedestrian place for shopping and leisure, as a residential street, and above all as a high-quality community high street for local residents and those beyond, which contrasted with and complemented the chain stores and larger-scale retail offering of the adjacent city centre, in the same manner as Stockbridge or William Street catered for their localities. Continue reading
Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s public meeting, held via Zoom, on Monday 10 August 2020 at 7pm
Actions and decisions are red italic. ND (‘no dissent’) means that no-one spoke or voted against a decision. Continue reading
Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s meeting, held via Zoom on Monday 8 June 2020 at 7pm Continue reading
Adapted from an email received on 12th August from Irene Gibb (Laing O'Rourke on behalf of 'Together for Edinburgh') on the closure of York Place (westbound) in support of Tram Works, Cycle lane provision (CCWEL) and works supporting the Edinburgh St James Project
Attached is a letter outlining the various works programmes being undertaken in and around York Place between Monday 17 August – Monday 12 October. This letter has already been shared with local residents and businesses.
In addition to details on the programmes taking place at York Place, the attached also contains contact information for individual contractors carrying out the works. See also below for information on diversions that will be put in place:
- Diversion Route – During the closure general traffic will be redirected down Broughton Street, turning left along Albany Street and Abercromby Place, turning left into Queen Street Gardens East and then right back onto Queen Street.
- Diverted Buses – Lothian Buses will be redirected up Leith Street to connect with Princes Street and consequently will not be using the general traffic diversion route.
- Parking along the Diversion Route – There will be no changes to the existing parking regulations during the period of the diversion
Please feel free to share the details above and in the attached (link here) with community council members and local residents.
Community Liaison & Sustainability Lead
The New Town & Broughton Community Council is aware of the many comments submitted through the Spaces for People ‘Commonplace’ interactive tool in respect to improvements on Broughton Street and is supportive of any measures that would make Broughton Street safer for pedestrians and support local businesses.
Now that proposals for many of the designated ‘town centres’ and some other streets have been brought forward by Edinburgh Council, NTBCC urge the Council to look further ahead and prioritise proposals for Broughton Street as soon as possible and take the opportunity to develop the street as a destination rather than as a thoroughfare.
We note the original proposal by Mark Lazarowicz on social media and his amended proposal which can be viewed here (email response to NTBCC after seeing the draft minutes posted for the June NTBCC meeting). Mark’s proposals have been a welcome stimulus to debate. NTBCC’s initial view is that there is insufficient space to expand pavements on both sides, as well as retain two lanes of traffic and the required number of loading bays to support the many local, independent businesses - as well as create a proposed segregated cycle lane. In our view, this would result in a cluttered appearance, and encourage vehicles and (northbound) cycles to speed within their segregated spaces.
NTBCC’s current view is that -
- Traffic should be reduced to two lanes (except at the junction with Picardy Place heading south)
- Cycles should be encouraged to use the much safer Dublin Street, which also provides a direct link with the North St Andrew Street cycle lane and is the designated NCN 75 route. This would have the added advantage of encouraging cycles to avoid, where possible, the Picardy gyratory. Implementation of the long-awaited crossing at the junction of London Street and Drummond Place should be expedited to further improve this.
- ‘Dwelling’ should be encouraged in the expanded footway, to attract trade for local business and improve the ambience for pedestrians in what is one of Edinburgh’s most attractive and characterful streets.
- Pavements should be extended along much of the street on both sides, removing the 13 Pay & Display spaces (retaining an appropriate number of Blue Badge spaces) and, following consultation with local businesses, remove some of the loading bays (from the current 13 on Broughton Street) to, for example, 4 on the east and 3 on the west sides. Another option would be to consider time windows for deliveries – similar to proposals elsewhere.
- The pavement could be wider on the eastern, sunnier side to encourage “dwelling” (following a principle employed in the plans for George Street). Extension of the footway should if possible avoid plastic ‘wands’, which are obtrusive and unsightly and can be hazardous when moved out of position by vehicles or high winds.
- In the longer term, low bollards as deployed on George IV Bridge should be used to prevent vehicles encroaching on pavements. We recommend that all bus stops be retained.
- The street suffers from speeding traffic and the roadway should be made safe for cycling with physical traffic calming measures in both directions to enforce the 20mph limit. The main enemy of cycling in Edinburgh is speeding traffic.
NTBCC believe these proposals are consistent with the weight of opinion expressed on the Spaces for People ‘Commonplace’ tool for Broughton St. We believe that there should of course be further consultation and discussion with residents and local businesses, preferably by the SfP team. However, given the concerns expressed by some regarding the consultation process, NTBCC will also try to gauge the views of local businesses as well as input from residents’ associations.
Minutes of New Town & Broughton Community Council’s meeting, held in Drummond Room, Broughton St Mary’s church, Bellevue Crescent on Monday 9 March 2020 at 7pm