Measures for safe distancing on Morningside Road and Bruntsfield Place – work begins 27th July. Below you can find an informative article, written by Cllr Melanie Main. She discusses the commencing of street changes in, and around Morningside and Merchiston. Our thanks go to Cllr Main for her time spent writing this piece for us.
On Monday 27th July the Council will start work on the first of a series of Covid-19 emergency safety measures from Bruntsfield Place up Morningside Road to Morningside Clock junction. The overall aim is to keep everyone safe and support our local economy.
The plans create enough space by widening pavements and removing or moving some street clutter, such as communal bins, to allow pedestrians to socially distance 2 meters, and putting in short term measures at bus stops for spaced queuing and uphill segregated cycle lanes to keep cyclist safe and all traffic moving safely.
Since the end of May, I have held a series meetings with local community groups, including Community Councils, Parent Councils and my fellow ward Councillors, with council staff and traders sometimes joining us, to discuss the effects of Covid-19 on our streets and agree the priorities for the community. Despite some hiccups at the start, I think everyone has been pleased at the momentum of progress in recent weeks, and at the amount of time Council staff have spent explaining and discussing specific issues on the 5 walkabouts.
The plans attached give an overall view of the measures, but there will be changes as SPACESFOR PEOPLE staff tweak and improve plans to accommodate needs as the schemes develop. In particular everyone agrees that pedestrian movement around bus-stops is an issue. In this instance a city-wide solution is being worked on, and temporary road levelling kit has to be brought in. This will be installed in the weeks to come as it becomes available.
Community Groups have also called for much needed improvements at Holy Corner, and had several discussions with Council staff about longer term redesign of the historic junction. Discussions and actions to ensure public access across the Right of Way, currently being kept closed by Signature Pubs ltd, are still ongoing.
Our shops and local services are opening up again, and it is vital to create an environment where everyone feels safe and able to visit our high streets. International study after study has shown that where place making is improved and pedestrian and cycling friendly measures are introduced the local economy benefits – e.g. there is up to a 30% increase in retail sales. This recent report from Transport for London is a good summary of the basic statistics http://content.tfl.gov.uk/walking-cycling-economic-benefits-summary-pack.pdf.
Unfortunately we don’t know what Covid-19 will bring in the months ahead. We do know that as our ‘bubbles’ get bigger, from one household to a whole community, some risks get bigger. The measure coming to our streets next week will help us keep ourselves,our family and friends and our community safe.
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As part of moveout of lockdown, our doctors surgeries will be under a lot of pressure and very busy. From July 29th all the local Pharmacies in Bruntsfiled and Morningside will be able to give advice on minor ailments and injuries, that you might have needed a doctors appointment for in the past. . Our Pharmacists are highly qualified, can dispense medicines and have a great deal of experience. Just turn up, no appointment needed. They will of course refer you to your doctor if that is necessary.
Safe Distancing Routes to School for 12th August
There is now a dedicated Team within SPACESFORPEOPLE working with schools and Parent Councils drawing up plans to make sure young people can walk, scoot and cycle safely to school with their parents and carers from 12 August. Plans will include ensuring there is enough space for parents to socially distance when dropping of and collecting primary children. Parents will be kept informed by the schools and PCs and there will be the agreed short Covid-19 consultation where streets are affected.