Thank you to those who submitted your ideas for improving the air quality on Linlithgow High Street. There is certainly no shortage of ideas from the few people who responded.
When the formal community consultation process starts I hope that many more will get involved. Nobody wants to live in a ‘pollution zone‘!
Ideas range from large scale road infrastructure improvements, High Street improvements; promoting cleaner modes of transport; enouraging behaviour change; wider evaluation/planning and learning from previous studies.
It is clear from this very long list below that the process for identifying the best mix and most feasible measures needs to be transparent and based on sound evidence.
Measures need to improve air quality not only in the short term, but taking into consideration anticipated developments, and based on an understanding of traffic flows and how measures are projected to affect traffic and thereby improve air quality.
These initial ideas from the community were submitted to the Air Quality Management Area Steering Group meeting on 16th January. This group consists of relevant West Lothian Council Departments and Statutory Bodies, plus the appointed consultant tasked with drafting an Action Plan by December 2017.
The forthcoming community consultation process will be vital to ensure decisions are informed by people who use the High Street, not just those who manage it. Details of the community consultation are still to be announced.
INITIAL LIST OF AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT IDEAS FROM THE COMMUNITY
- West access slip roads at M9 junction 3 must be higher priority than is proposed in SESS Plan.
- M9 motorway junction to divert traffic
- Create 4-way motorway junction at Burghmuir.
- Investigate link from Preston Road to Lanark Road at Preston Farm.
- By -pass roads network from Blackness Road to Edinburgh Road then south to Dechmont Road and Bathgate Road.
- Create road from Edinburgh Road canal bridge traffic lights up to top of Manse Road thus re-directing traffic that don’t need to pass through the High St.
- Divert traffic to places of lower pollution
General Improvements to the High Street
- Traffic reduction on the High Street should be a key aim.
- Special Trees that absorb pollutants on both sides of the High street throughout its length.
- Pedestrianize the High Street (or at least part of it)
- Promote outdoor café/seating
- Stop double parking, especially close to the railway station.
- Employ emission control officers – explore no idling zones – fixed penalty notices?
- Need to be firmer about roadside emission testing.
- Discourage articulated vehicles from travelling through the High St.
- Support the introduction of a Low Emission Zone which bans the most polluting vehicles from the High Street at peak air pollution times.
- Improve flow
- Reduce idling traffic
- Adjusting waste bin collection times
- Better traffic management and uncontrolled use of pedestrian crossings has to be the biggest causes of interrupted traffic flow and therefore increased levels of pollution from idling engines and stop start driving in the town centre.
- Take practical steps to address idling and stop/start driving n the most notorious spots.
- Improve design of the High street to reduce congestion by
- stopping cars double parking
- finding space for business delivery lorries
- Move away from presumption vehicles dominate towards a town designed for pedestrians, cyclists and other active users.
Specific High Street improvement to aid flow and help cyclists/pedestrians
- Relocate bus stop outside RGM to High Port. Buses idle here right beside theair quality monitoring station. Buses are also too wide and waiting causes congestion. Buses could wait at Tesco or High Port instead. A dedicated bus bay on High Port would still offer good access to the train station. Ideally complimented by steps or a path from High Port to the train station on High Port.
- Create a business delivery bay with marking outside RGM but with a narrower pavement so that cars can get past when deliveries are taking place. OR removing the post box and telephone box outside the old post office and using a bit of that pavement width to create a loading bay.
- Moving the central line on the road from low port to Taste to be more south. This would give more space beside parked cars on the north side of the street and deter double parking on the south side as the carriageway would be then too narrow.
- Adjust the central line and pavement widths from GP surgery east to the DIY shop to prevent double parking.
- Narrow road width of pedestrian crossing at Boots/Taste. Reduce distance pedestrians have to cross and slightly reduce the timing of the lights.
- Create a dedicated business loading bay near The Old Post Office for delivery vehicles on east of high street and on south side. Existing delivery vehicles are too wide and by unloading cause congestion. Bay needs designed to allow free flow of vehicles. ie pavement widths might need to change a little.
- Bias/Adjust timing of Skew Bridge traffic lights on High Port to allow more time for traffic travelling east from roundabout. At peak times, cars queue back to and through Low Port roundabout and cause congestion.
- Adjust pavement west and north of Oliphants to be wider and thus to deter cars from parking on yellow lines and causing obstruction.
- Remove parallel on-pavement parking bays and replace with clearly defined and edged parking bays.
- Remove cobbles from High St at the Cross. Return to tarmac. Safer for cyclists, quieter for tourists/pedestrians, cheaper to maintain and helps vehicles flow more smoothly.
- Adjust road markings and pavement widths to create clear lane widths suitable for 1 vehicle plus a bike. At certain locations the road is too wide and this encourages cars to double park which in turn then restricts road width and brings bikes and vehicles into space conflict.
- Park and Ride areas on entrance to town. Initially served by No38 bus route at Edinburgh and Falkirk Roads. Later using electric buses to train station.
- Compulsory purchase of Bowmore Morrison’s Whisky warehouses and demolish and build car park.
- Off-road parking should be free and High St parking should be charged beyond an initial free time (as advocated by WLC Active Travel Officer in the past)
- No parking on High St to support cycle lanes and improve traffic flow
- Changing nose-in parking to nose-out. Cars should stop and reverse into their space and not reverse out onto the main highway, which slows traffic.
- Remove on pavement parking bays and replace with proper bays with a kerb.
- Hire a parking warden to move people on or fine them
- Remove parking fees for first hour from Cross Car Park. Needs marketed and signed to let people know it’s free.
- Add parking charges for more than 3-4hrs in Water Yett car park as it’s being used by commuters and causes stress for those needing to access the GP for an appointment.
- Compulsory purchase of land on Edinburgh road and create a car park for the train station. At the same time, remove parking bays on Edinburgh road. Provide free parking for E road residents within.
Cleaner modes of transport
- Promote direct public transport to Livingston and Bathgate / Heartlands.
- Provide more frequent public transport in town.
- Promote public transport.
- Improve the bus service/s
- Improve local bus services.
- Work with bus operators to access Green Bus Fund or other low carbon transport funds to obtain electric buses and develop electric public transport infrastructure.
- Promote active travel
- Cycle lanes – (and make it safe for cyclists) – Space for cycle toolkit
- Dedicated cycle paths through High St so those that can cycle feel safe to cycle.
- Provide sustained, long-term investment in both cycling and walking, reaching 10% of the transport budget.
- Measures need to be viewed in tandem with active travel action plan priorities.
- Promote alternative modes of transport
- Create a ramp access to the canal towpath at Edinburgh Road/Maidlands to provide a viable alternative route to main roads. Access to canal towpath from east is very limited from Springfield.
- Improve bike storage at Leisure Centre
- Improve bike storage at Linlithgow Academy
- Improve pavement and cycle way from Capstan Walk to Regent Centre.
- Resurface Capstan Walk
- Promote car free weekends
- Support creating of a Car Club of electric vehicles. Multiple dedicated marked parking bays in various locations across town with charging points.
Promote behaviour change
- Supply masks to under 5s! (if the air pollution problem was visible – then people would act)
- Community education and awareness sessions on the health impacts of air pollution
- Promote switching to cleaner vehicles
- Campaign actively and advertise to encourage walking and cycling with more disabled spaces for less able bodied.
- Is there a way of identifying the type of vehicle where emissions are coming from? How many pass through during the day?
- Undertake a Community Street Audit (Living Streets) to identify measures to improve air quality the viewpoint of the people who use the streets, rather than those who manage them. This involves Living Street working with small groups of local residents, traders, councillors and officers to assess a route on foot, then producing a detailed report with recommendations.
- A markable map of the town, similar to the one used during active travel plan consultation, would be very useful for residents to annotate specific issues needing fixed.
- Air quality should be recognised as key part of planning decision criteria for all major planning projects
- Take into consideration the relevant content in the Linlithgow ‘Plan for the Future’ (2015-2030)
(pp 10, 11, 17, 28 and 29).
- The Local Develop Plan needs to state how air quality issues will be addressed, such as:
- land-use planning in favour of centralised locations, otherwise further developments away from the centre will further compound the significant volumes of short-distance car use.
- provision of high quality/safe/direct walking and cycling routes to encourage fewer short distance journeys by car.
- development promoting behaviour change programmes to facilitate modal shift of shorter journeys to walking and cycling is supported in principle.
- robust/enforced parking restrictions in the town centre to better control traffic coming into town (both numbers, vehicle flows -stop-start looking for spaces- and turning manoeuvres which impede road safety).
Learning from previous studies and other areas
- Halcrow Fox did a study for WLC years ago. Any findings from that report that would be helpful now?
- Consider proposals (attached) produced a number of years ago by the Community Council and other local organisations at the request of the Town Management Group.
- It would be interesting to see what measures have been taken elsewhere. http://www.scottishairquality.co.uk/laqm/aqma