Reclaiming the Streets of Porty – How do we reduce traffic in Portobello and make in cleaner and greener?
14:00 – 16:00 Sunday 21th November 2021
Bellfield Large Hall
Spokes Porty (SP) & Porty Community Energy (PCE) co-hosted this conversation. There were 20 people present.
We started with two opening speeches ‘What if….reimagining a different Porty, with less traffic, safer and cleaner/greener’ about how we would love Porty to be in terms of transport and moving about (by James (SP) and Ellen (PCE))
We then had two 5 min speeches. One by Mike Livesley, whose family gave up their car and bought an electric cargo bike for moving about town. And another by Alex from Farr-out bikes, who use E-cargo bikes for delivery around Edinburgh. They can be hired by businesses or individuals.
We then split into 3 discussion groups, with the idea of ‘from what if (we want a reduction in traffic) to what next’:
- Next steps to change personal habits
- Next steps to change business habits
- Infrastructure, what if, what next
- Summary Discussion – Next steps to change Personal habits
Three Categories of action (some straddle two categories):
1) Personal support
- Adult cycle confidence club/training – including sessions targeted at women
- Bike buddy scheme to help people find and get confident to cycle everyday routes
- Make connections with and between local cycle clubs to help them recruit new members
- Mass cycles to e.g. ASDA/Fort
Share helpful and honest stories about living without a car/using bike instead of car
- Local signage for bike contra flows
- Better signage for cycle routes
- Cycle/active travel reminders on entry to Porty (signs King’s Road, Railway bridge and Eastfield)
- Pedal on Porty (monthly?)
- Own traffic lights for cyclists
3) Campaigning for infrastructure/training change
- Mandatory classes for car and bus drivers on how to drive cycle-friendly, e.g. with MOT/classes for drivers with points on their license
- Gather evidence from other councils on how they build infrastructure, e.g. EV charging points in Musselburgh
- Practical suggestions to councillors and provide them with evidence/data for change
- Close roads for cars on Sundays/all weekend
- Summary Discussion – Next steps to change business habits
We split the discussion into 3 sections (as per Heart Talk Porty Guide under ‘What’s next’)
- What needs to happen first
- Infrastructure changes, including:
- Parking for EVs and Ebikes (also shared facilities)
- Charging infrastructure
- Cycle infrastructure, including bike lanes
- Staffing for e-bike deliveries
- Tend to be younger and fitter (students)
- Need to be able to work in all weathers
- Want to feel safe on the roads
- Affordability of e-bikes
- Safe and available storage
- E-bike delivery can be more expensive than standard, could it be made cheaper?
- What else is needed
- Support for CPZ, so there is room for storage of EVs and ebikes
- Limited delivery times (eg between 4-7am) but this can clash with local residents’ wishes.
- More incentivisation to change, grants, loans, publicity thereof, more inclusion (eg new businesses currently excluded from some grants)
- Who is doing what?
- Need to invest in new EVs/ e-bikes
- Need to lobby council for infrastructure
- Need to manage expectations as to how far and how quick hot food can be delivered when using e-bikes
- May need to absorb some of the extra costs when e-bikes or EVs are used
- Preference often given to EVs but cargo bikes can sometimes carry more, are more environmentally friendly (lower carbon footprint), and cause less congestion
- Only buy where sustainable
- ‘Green business award’ so customers know where to buy – something for PCE to set up? – Farr-out publish the names of businesses that use them.
- Be more critical of businesses
- Public consultations do not always work – the outcome of the consultation may be different from the final outcome, and this creates friction (but: a consultation is not a referendum)
- Processes often slow (TRO/ETRO)
- Can focus groups and local interest groups bridge the gap? Can council use these more to come up with workable solutions instead of consultations?
- Summary Discussion – Infrastructure: what if, what next.
- Ideas that the group was interested in:
- Bus gate/traffic gate either in the centre of Portobello (on the High street, either side of the central traffic lights, or further out) – to encourage through traffic to use Harry Lauder Road and Milton Road East/A199
- Create a low traffic neighbourhood, bounded by Harry Lauder Road and Milton Road East
- A Park and Ride with shuttle bus, for example at Seafield
- More frequent buses and more bus routes around Edinburgh rather than only into Edinburgh
- Safer cycle routes / more cycle paths including an alternative to the Prom cycle route
- Marked lanes on the Prom for pedestrians and cyclists
- Car club improvements
- Opening the train station, having frequent enough trains including links with Edinburgh/North Berwick route and the Borders route7
- Tweaking traffic lights, including making them more responsive to pedestrians/change quickly
- Route pricing to make it more expensive to come through High Street than Harry Lauder Road
- What next?
- Need to create a Portobello transport lobby / action group which has wider representation (eg disabled people, car users, active travellers, cycle groups, etc etc) – facilitated by a constituted group(s)
- Have more public engagement /an event – including engagement with Cllrs and Cllr candidates in lead up to elections next year, invite people who have been successful in creating low traffic neighbourhoods/green transport initiatives elsewhere (such as Walthamstow) and different interest groups
- Develop plans for a Porty Low Traffic Neighbourhood bounded by Harry Lauder Road and Milton Road East
- Gather more data on traffic and travel in the area – eg a more detailed wider traffic survey, options for creating a low traffic neighbourhood.
- Lobby for some quick actions that do not require a lot of money – eg traffic light tweaking