Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything on your doorstep?

East Lothian Council want’s our views on access to key service’s, esp. those that we use on a regular basis by active travel modes (a short walk, cycle or other form of gentle non motorised wheeling).

The idea is that this could help us collectively address climate impacts, improve our health and perhaps make high streets more welcoming and all our streets safer too (traffic volumes in Dunbar are objectively very high at 4.5k movements daily are probably representative of elsewhere).

Now it is not exactly hard to model and create your very own 5, 10 or 30 minute neighbourhood using the Visualisation Tools on this website (other good commercial services exist, but we made our own anyway).

If you are interested, planners are preparing the Local Development Planning for East Lothian are assessing which of our towns to see which areas currently work as 20 minute neighbourhoods, one of the challenges they are drawing attention to.

We did some of this research a few years ago and showed that most town centres in East Lothian are theoretically accessible in 20 minutes. Clearly many other changes/structural interventions are needed for a theoretical 20 minute zone to work in your community.

We know e.g. that quiet roads (low traffic volumes and relatively low speeds), segregation and traffic free routes are preferred by active travellers. Directness of the route plays a part, but a good and attractive green alternative might be preferred even if it takes a little bit longer. In low traffic a very wide road can make the occasional vehicles that do use it travel too fast. Narrower roads are likely to influence driver behaviour positively (slow down and give way). There are many other driver behaviours that discourage cyclists from using the road. Poor visibility or excessively wide splays at junctions, poorly designed crossings too far from the desire line play a part too. The lack of pedestrian and cycle priority crossings is another factor. Did you ever see someone cross when the the red man was still showing, having waited ages for the light to switch? If you wheel (push a pram or buggy, scoot or use a wheelchair) the lack of dropped curbs is more than an annoyance (imagine also if you could not see!).

What would create a welcoming environment on your local High Street? Bunting and low planters OR a much less traffic, noise and pollution and signficant green measures, like some avenue trees?

This is what ADS have to say:

Attributes of a 20-minute neighbourhood

… it is not just about access to services that represents a 20-minute neighbourhood, there is in fact a little more to it.

Each city, town or rural area in Scotland differ in their characteristics, from its size to demographic range. So, there will not be a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to the 20-minute neighbourhood concept:

a safe, accessible, and well-connected movement network for pedestrians and cyclists

high-quality public spaces, streets and open space

good access to services that support local living 

a variety of housing types, of different sizes, levels of affordability and tenure, that supports diversity, the ability to age in a place, and housing densities that can support local services

inclusive and easy access to public transport that caters for different needs, connecting people to jobs and other services further afield

high-quality green spaces for people to enjoy and opportunities for local food production

thriving local economies with employment and opportunities for community wealth building

good digital connectivity to enable flexible working, business opportunities, and remote access to public services

formal and informal play spaces for children

community participation and local engagement opportunities

From: Ourplace.scot