Letters: Speed limit consultation needs bigger sample

Councillor Lesley Hinds (letters, January 13) makes a predictably defensive and dismissive response to the opposition being shown to the new 20mph speed limits.

However, what is most revealing is what she has neglected to mention.

Councillor Hinds and her colleagues may claim that their plans are supported by the public, but everybody that I have spoken to, including taxi drivers, state that they are against this blanket limit.

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She does make much of the consultation, but there were only 2585 responses which, in the context of a city of around half a million, is not a particularly large sample.

But the most revealing point is that the respondents were self-selecting, rather than a sample representing a cross-section of society. Given this, it is not surprising that responses were polarised. Consultations that are to be relied upon to impose sweeping changes to our city’s transport should be based on a large, representative sample of all of Edinburgh’s residents.

It is also somewhat deceptive to brush over how the new limits will be enforced without mentioning costs. The final figure is not even known yet but we can be sure that rolling this out will cost millions.

Speed cameras won’t work, signs have to be painted on the roads and new signs have to be erected on the streets. At a time when the City of Edinburgh Council is facing significant financial difficulties and warning about cuts, it seems ridiculous to spend all this money imposing a 20mph limit on 80% of our roads.

Resources should be put into vital services, like repairing potholes, which would help all of Edinburgh’s road users.

As for the argument about safety, there is more to it than the statistics that Cllr Hinds produces. There is a strong case for having stricter limits in particularly high-risk areas, such as near schools, but a blanket roll-out may be counter-productive in terms of safety - it may mean that drivers take no extra caution when entering higher-risk areas.

Cameron Buchanan MSP, member for Lothian

Don’t waste more money on roads plan

In reply to Lesley Hinds’ letter (News, 13 January), here we go again, the same old rubbish we have all heard before.

Lesley quoted facts and figures of 60% here and 25% there and so on. Well I would like to quote her some figures - 1200 council staff to lose their jobs; public toilet closures all over Edinburgh; millions to be wasted on a second phase of the trams; how many millions more on 20mph traffic signs, and in a leaked report, £250 million to repair Edinburgh roads over five years, which given the council’s past history will probably end up at £500 million over ten years.

She talks about safety for pedestrians, but when I am driving in my taxi at certain junctions in the town centre, people don’t even know when to cross the road because traffic systems are catching them out. For example, six seconds to cross at Fredrick Street.

I do believe the number one priority must be repairing Edinburgh roads, even at such a high cost. However, they should never have been left to get into as bad a condition in the first place.

The large amount of council money that has been wasted because of incompetence beggars belief.

The city doesn’t have the money to waste on any more crackpot ideas the council comes up with.

Philip Capaldi, taxi driver, Fairmilehead

Network rail repairs need joined up thinking

the Government must get its act together to prevent a repeat of the Christmas disruption on East Coast, ScotRail and other rail services on 27, 29-31 December.

The disruption on December 27 was due to an overrun of engineering work which was actually the responsibility of Network Rail not East Coast and a report just out from Network Rail details a series of failures in organisation, the equipment used and communication at every level.

On late 29 and 30 December there were problems east of Edinburgh due in part to damage to overhead lines at Portobello and disruption again on New Year’s Eve in the Edinburgh area as well as problems elsewhere in Scotland in the run up to the New Year.

I accept incidents will occur from time to time but passengers must be kept fully informed and I have written to the government to demand a thorough review of the system for dealing with them to produce a much more resilient rail system.

Communication and cooperation are what is needed in situations like this and the disjointed structure created by privatisation does not help the different parts speak to each other effectively and also crucially passengers as well.

Where the East Coast delays were concerned, operators had agreed to accept tickets bought on other lines but failures in communication meant passengers sometimes found themselves unable to travel on alternative lines.

Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith

SNP can’t blame the snow on Westminster

Despite snow being forecast, yet again the gritters or even evidence of their work, were not in evidence in places as far apart as Blackford in Perthshire, Invergordon and Dingwall at times this week.

No doubt the SNP will blame Westminster for both the fall of snow and the lack of safety services for which we all pay, despite transport being a devolved matter.

Jennifer Gordon, Stirling Street Blackford