Edinburgh Launches Commonplace Mapping Tool, Establishes Distancing Routes for Pandemic

The city of Edinburgh, Scotland is launching an online platform – the Commonplace mapping tool – for public input into the best routes for maintaining physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Users will be able to share suggestions for creating safer spaces for walking and cycling by highlighting specific areas on an interactive map and providing feedback on barriers and identifying improvements.

“We’ve seen a real increase in cycling and walking since the beginning of lockdown and we want to help this to continue as we return to a sense of normality,” said councillor Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener.  “We’ve already had an incredibly enthusiastic response from residents who also want to see calmer, safer conditions maintained as we return to normal. This new tool is a great opportunity to involve the very people who use our streets to help shape our plans.”

Responses received through the Commonplace platform will be recorded and used as an aid in future planning. The city recently received a grant of £5m ) ~$6,275,000 US) from Transport Scotland ‘Spaces for People’ to develop new routes that will make it easier and safer for pedestrians and cyclists to move around. The funds are administered by Sustrans – a charity that promotes safe walking and biking.

“It is clear that the way we travel, work, spend time with each other and enjoy our urban spaces have been changed by the pandemic. It is increasingly clear that there is no ‘old normal’ to go back to,” said Sustrans deputy CEO and National Director of Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, John Lauder. “Sustrans therefore welcomes Edinburgh’s leadership in envisioning how Scotland’s capital can have the resilience to deal with the twin challenges of ensuring people have safe space to physical distance and a more sustainable and less polluting way to get around the city. We warmly welcome the measures to create safe spaces for walking and cycling approved today and we look forward to more changes in the future.”