Covid recovery: We must ensure Edinburgh is fairer, healthier and truly resilient – Daisy Narayanan. One year ago, I was on secondment to the City of Edinburgh Council, leading a 10-year project to transform the city centre: changing how we live, work and play in the city by making it better for people on foot and bike and public transport, reducing vehicular dominance and giving the city centre streets back to people. One year on, the need to create more people-friendly streets and neighbourhoods has not changed. If anything, there is a much stronger sense of urgency and an imperative to do so. As the lockdown loosens, new travel patterns and mode choices will emerge. Without action now, there is a real risk that the car will become the default mode of socially distanced transport. We already have evidence of the positive impact of active transport on Edinburgh’s economy, environment and public health. For example, the Sustrans Bike Life Edinburgh report showed that 24 per cent of Edinburgh residents cycle at least once a week, leading to 27.1 million trips made by bicycle in the past year. The direct benefits have included a saving of 14,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas, £1.6 million saving to the NHS and prevention of 251 long-term health conditions.
Scotsman 1st Sept 2020 read more »