Questions I have been asked.
- Tram extension along Leith Walk
Trams – like bridges or ferries – are neither good nor bad. The question to ask is: has the Council the professional competency or the money to extend trams to Newhaven? Even with a hypothetical Yes to both questions: Leith Walk has undergone too many – some badly botched – operations over the last 10 years. The patient needs a rest for a while.
- St James Quarter and 44 weeks+ Leith Street closure
As the Edinburgh coalition partners SNP and Labour keep on reminding us: this is the “biggest private investment in Scotland ever”.
I am not beholden to party policies and say: a private investment – big or small – is neither good nor bad. But I ask: is it necessary to achieve the potential public benefits and private profits from the St James Quarter have on the backs of the battered patient that is Leith Walk?
- Flood defences
If they are paid for with public money they must always improve public access to the Water of Leith. Most importantly – like trams and major works like the current Leith Walk programme – they must be competently managed
- Affordable housing in Leith Walk ward …
… is under pressure. That’s why it is so important that remaining large sites are carefully husbanded through planning policies that stand up and not fire-selling sites currently in public ownership (Council, NHS, police/fire service, school buildings).
- What are the issues that school parent councils are concerned about?
They want properly maintained school buildings – inside and out; jargon free communication about pupil’s progress; well-managed schools, ie sufficient support staff for head teachers to allow them to lead and inspire the teaching and non-teaching staff; more learning support resources to deal with the shocking 20% functional illiteracy rate.
- Scottish Government consultation pavement parking
This is a no brainer and action is long overdue.
- It’s not all about dog shit and overflowing bins!
Indeed. But in a densely populated area, such as Leith Walk ward, it is vital for everybody’s quality of life, to get these basics – along with pavements, roads, street lighting – sorted out. Who needs daily irritation?
- Bus journey times
These are often disappointing, especially if you are a daily commuter. We need enforcement of bus lanes and bus stops during peak times; we need a “21st century” bus fare and boarding system (the current single-file decanting and refilling a bus can take 5 minutes); we need proper bus stop placement and design and bus driver training (they often block traffic behind by not pulling in completely).
- What is you views on the 20mph speed limits throughout the city?
Simple enough question – complex answer. I limit my reply to the area where I am standing as a candidate (Leith Walk ward).
a) speed above 20mph for cars is potentially fatal for other users, ie a speed limit is a good thing in principle
b) speed for public transport with progessional drivers could be over 20mph (required bus lane enforcement during peak hours and a modification of the 20mph Traffic Regulation Order to exclude buses)
c) current implementation in Edinburgh is largely value gesturing: putting up a few signs, but next to no enforcement may contribute (but not achieve by itself) to a long-term culture change, but will achieve little in the short term.
- Cycle path/walkway extension
The closure of the Powderhall depot is a brilliant opportunity to add green infrastructure to make St Mark’s and Lochend parks accessible right from the centre of the area. High priority! Could have been financed from developer contributions in the past, but Council missed many tricks. Frustration with the latter is one of the reasons that made me decide to compete against sitting party-councillors in this election
The above answers hint at a larger problem: too often a good idea is poorly or incompletely implemented, thereby defeating the original idea or even creating new problems.