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Sinclairtown Street Design Project

This is a novel partnership approach to the development of an active travel project. It takes on a practical aspect of exploring resident’s needs and actions with the concept that better quality places can be an important means of increasing active travel.

This project worked with residents, the school community and council over an extended period to develop a set of design proposals that would encourage more active travel.

This innovative project takes a holistic approach towards understanding how neighbourhoods can be better and safer places to travel through actively and better places to live, play and socialise on.

***PAHA Award Winner 2014***

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How It Started

Repeated concerns over the school run traffic and the conflict with pedestrians raised by staff at Sinclairtown Primary School over a number of years demonstrated an initial need for intervention. Problem parking outside the school frontage, ranged from cars on the pavements, grass verges, illegal parking on yellow zig-zag lines, blocked driveways and access to safe crossing points.

The concerns raised by the school staff with problem parking and the negative impact this had on the quality of the neighbourhood were also echoed by residents (who attended our first design session in February 2012) as well as pupils.

In summary these issues were:
- Problem and illegal parking outside the school frontage;
- Nuisance parking in the neighbourhood;
- Restricted sightlines for pupils crossing the road outside the school due to parked cars;
- Perception of high traffic volumes on Roomlin Gardens
- Perception of high traffic speeds on The Fairway (one of the principal roads that many pupils have to cross)
- Desire to see more colour and nature in the neighbourhood.

Designing Streets (Scottish Government 2010) provides a policy benchmark on the need to prioritise walking and cycling and place quality when considering interventions in streetscapes. This holistic linking together and understanding of the important relationship between place quality and active travel was fully supported by Sustrans and Fife Council in our joint approach to this project.

Partners Involved

Sustrans and Fife Council have been working in partnership for a number of years on an ambitious town wide active travel initiative known as ‘Make your move Kirkcaldy’ (MymK). Both organisations ‘buy in’ to the idea that the perceived quality of a place can be an important determinant in active travel levels and this is reflected in the ongoing support for the Street Design projects as a targeted way of getting more people to walk and cycle by improving the quality of places and infrastructure.

The biggest asset in this project has been the enthusiasm of staff and pupils at Sinclairtown Primary School and their willingness to develop and try out new ideas. Over time the schools initial concerns with road safety have expanded to see the benefits of more creative approaches to managing traffic movement.

Process

Three design sessions with residents, young and old, living close to Sinclairtown Primary School were held over a six month period. Average attendance at each of these sessions was 40 people representing c.15% of the population in the project area. Each of these design sessions was complimented by hours of door knocking with newsletter updates and doorstep chats. It was evident from the start that residents had a passionate interest in the neighbourhood and a desire to see the situation around the school improve.

Sinclairtown Primary School
In total eight sessions led by the artist Nicola Atkinson (NADFLY) with pupils were held. An initial walkabout with pupils was followed up with sessions on the theme of creating more colourful journeys. The final designs were placed outside the school and on the major junctions on The Fairway in August 2012. These add a colourful change to the character of the neighbourhood making it clear that this is not just an average street and drivers should be more considerate.

Two Park and Walk sites were also signed and linked to the school by a series of waymarkers that punctuate the journey to school. These Park and Walk sites were incorporated into a ‘Park and Walk Map’, released in November 2013 drawn by 55 pupils over four sessions. A parent waiting shelter decorated with the Park and Walk map was also installed to encourage more parents to walk by offering a place to shelter from the weather.

Residents
Three design sessions were held between February and May 2012 with the final session on street with the design proposals. Each session was preceded by house to house contact and a newsletter. From these sessions a set of design proposals were produced and consulted on which led to the following:

Raised crossing areas outside the school to give pedestrians greater visibility and ownership of the road and demonstrate to drivers that the priorities of te street were different.

Bollards placed on the tarmac aprons and by driveways to stop vehicles mounting the kerbs to discourage nuisance parking
Detailed qualitative monitoring was carried out at the start and end of the project with residents. This monitoring, asked residents to gauge their physical activity levels and recorded their perception of the quality, safety and sociability within the neighbourhood.

The Street Design project was showcased to the public as an integral element of the town wide walking and cycling initiative ‘Make your Move Kirkcaldy’ (MymK) with all publications carrying links to the MymK website. We also delivered a copy of the active travel map for Kirkcaldy to each household in the project area.

The Sinclairtown Street Design project was concentrated on a small area of Kirkcaldy, however the street design work is part of the work that Make your move Kirkcaldy has been doing town wide. Within Make you move Kirkcaldy there have been three street design projects, the third is due to be complete in Spring 2014. We also have a Cycling Officer delivering the IBike programme to schools within Kirkcaldy. This gives pupils to confidence and skill to actively travel to school. Make your move Kirkcaldy has delivered cycling network improvements as well as expanding the existing networks, we also have training programmes for anyone wishing to gain and improve cycling skills, maintenance classes, run regular activities that encourage active travel and have a free loan bike scheme for anyone in Kirkcaldy

Results and Impact

Qualitative and quantitative surveys conducted at the start and end of the project has shown the following changes as a result of this project and complimentary work to promote cycling through the MymK project at Sinclairtown Primary School:

- Pre-project: 96% agreed or strongly agreed that congestion on the streets at pick up and drop off times is a problem
- Post-project: 81% agreed or strongly agreed that congestion on the streets at pick up and drop off times is a problem

- Pre-project: 88% agreed or strongly agreed that the level of dangerous and/or illegal parking on the streets is a problem
- Post-project: 68% agreed or strongly agreed that the level of dangerous and/or illegal parking on the streets is a problem

Traffic speed and volume monitoring indicates the following:

- 9% reduction in total traffic volume (125 less vehicles)
- 38% reduction in peak time traffic volume (208 less vehicles)

- Pre-project: 87% of all vehicles travelling at 20mph or less
- Post-project: 92% of all vehicles travelling at 20mph or less

Hands Up Scotland Survey data recorded in September 2011 and again in September 2012 records the following changes in the mode of transport utilised on the journey to and from school:

- Reduction in the number of pupils who selected the Driven mode in the survey from 33.7% in 2011 to 28.8% in 2012

I- ncrease in the number of pupils who selected Park & Stride in the survey from 8.2% in 2011 to 12% in 2012

- Increase in the number of pupils who selected Cycling as a mode of transport up from 1.9% in 2011 to 7.1% in 2012. The I Bike school cycling officer from MymK has been working intensively with schools in Kirkcaldy to enable more children to walk and cycle to school, contributing to this result.

- Reduction in the number of pupils who selected Walking as a mode of transport from 55.1% in 2011 to 48.3% in 2012. This reduction in walking levels can be accounted for by an equivalent increase in cycling levels.

Lessons Learned

The Street Design process has at times been challenging and requires a long term commitment to follow the process through to completion. Balancing the expectations of residents, generating interest and moving towards creating a vision for a neighbourhood that goes beyond standard approaches can be very challenging, sometimes demoralising and time consuming.

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When was this published?

4/7/2014

Lead Contact Name

Paul Ruffles

Organisation

Sustrans and Fife Council

Phone Number

0131 346 1384

Email Address

paul.ruffles@sustrans.org.uk, rachel.goulding@sustrans.org.uk

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