Spaces for People Programme
Frequently asked questions and comments about spaces for people programme
What is Spaces for People?
Spaces for People is a temporary infrastructure programme which was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Mathieson on 23 April 2020 to support the country's coronavirus response. Councils were invited to bid for funding to introduce temporary measures to support travel during the period when restrictions are in force.
What is included in Spaces for People?
On 23 June, the Council Executive approved a programme of nine packages of complimentary measures.
In a number of areas footway widths can be very narrow and restrict pedestrian flow at the best of time. The opportunity has been taken to widen some of our footways slightly and to remove in a very limited amount of places on footway (or Loaning) parking. In a number of locations were measures appear to have removed on-street parking these have been on sections where No Waiting or Loading was already the restriction during the day.
Are the speed limits legal?
- Yes. The speed limits have been promoted using Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as amended by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Regulations 2020.
Are the speed limits enforceable?
- Yes. The speed limits are legally enforceable. As with all road traffic offences, these speed limits will be enforced by Police Scotland.
Isn't this an attempt to make these speed limits permanent?
- No. The legislation used to promote the traffic orders is only applicable for temporary restrictions during the period of Covid. If any of the speed limits are to be made permanent in future this would require Council approval and a full public consultation exercise would require to be undertaken before promoting a permanent traffic order. There are no plans to make any speed limits permanent at this time.
Why was I not consulted?
- The Council held an online consultation exercise to gather initial views of West Lothian's citizens. Due to the timescales involved to introduce temporary measures and the restrictions on public meetings, etc. it was not possible to carry out a standard public consultation exercise.
The speed limits cause congestion and it takes me longer to get anywhere
- It is calculated that a reduction in speed limit could cause a 1 minute delay over a 1 mile journey, however urban traffic is rarely free flowing so realistically the impact is likely to be much less.
- The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) carried out investigations in response to a recent 20mph Restricted Roads Bill and concluded that available evidence showed '20mph speed limits generally have no significant impact on journey times or traffic congestion.'
These speed limits cause pollution
- The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) investigations concluded that available evidence showed 'The air pollution impacts of 20mph speed limits are mixed, and so should not be assumed to be conclusively positive or negative.'
The speed limit will increase accidents not improve safety
- Once again, this was investigated by SPICe, whose investigations concluded that accident reductions were likely through reductions in mean speeds.
- 'TRL research shows that, on urban streets in the UK, a 1mph reduction in vehicle speeds typically produces a 5% reduction in collisions'
- 'The imposition of 20mph speed limits on roads previously subject to a 30mph limit typically produces a small, but statistically significant, reduction in average (both mean and median) vehicle speeds.'
- City-wide 20mph speed limits generally reduce road collision casualties, although some smaller schemes have not reduced casualty numbers.'
How do 20mph speed limits help physical distancing?
- Speed limits themselves do not create additional space, they do however help those who choose to walk, cycle or wheel to reach destinations more safely by reducing motor vehicle speeds. The lower speed limits also support the introduction of additional temporary measures to create space where required.
Why did the council reduce all these speed limits?
- The reduced speed limits are to help all vulnerable road users. Pedestrians in particular will benefit from slower traffic, when crossing roads for example. Remember, every road user is a pedestrian at some point in their journey.
A number of cycle lane schemes have been included in the programme. The schemes have been designed in association with SUStrans and some take onboard suggestions from local cyclists. These facilities are being provided at :
- Edinburgh Road and St Ninians Road in Linlithgow
- East Main Street in Broxburn
- A89 (east side) in Blackridge
Why are the Council putting these measures in place for cyclists?
- The introduction of these new cycle lanes will identify a clear separation on the road surface between cyclists and traffic using the existing road space. These measures will provide a clear route for cyclists to use whilst also encouraging more cyclists to use them.
Why was physical distancing signage erected?
- Signage was erected in busy areas of towns and villages to remind people of the current rules and guidance.
To ensure that users could easily access the footway and cycle networks un-hindered, major vegetation clearance works were undertaken. This was in addition to our normal seasonal works.
Why have bus laybys been altered and designed to cause congestion?
- The temporary bus boarders have been installed to improve available congregating space for users. The bus boarders have been installed following discussions with the bus operators who had felt they would be beneficial to their waiting passengers and would help remove the difficulties they experience getting in and out of the bus laybys because motorists park in the layby. Bus laybys are for buses only and inconsiderate parking in them by other vehicles means that bus drivers are often delayed but also hold-up traffic getting in and out of them.
The timings of some busier signalled controlled crossings were adjusted to remove the need for users to press the control buttons.