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Traffic-calming proposals ‘not being considered’ for Perth streets, according to group

Felicity Graham of PALS. Picture: Steve MacDougall.
Felicity Graham of PALS. Picture: Steve MacDougall.

A Perth group that campaigns for low-traffic, low-speed and pollution-free streets has expressed its disappointment over a lack of action to tackle a city “rat run”.

The Perth Area Living Streets (PALS) group said councillors have “effectively supported” a petition against plans to tackle the heavy traffic in the Balhousie Street area.

The online petition urging Perth and Kinross Council to not restrict traffic access to Balhousie and Hay Streets received more than 700 signatures.

Felicity Graham, co-convener of PALS, said: “The opportunity to clean up the North Inch residential area of pollution and traffic has sadly been squandered.

“Councillors could have backed the council’s proposals to make the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists, especially for the children walking to school in the area.

“Having quiet, clean, safer streets is not the default in Perth.

“Residents who want this will have to fight for them and against those supporting the status quo of a city dominated by traffic.”

The council announced changes for Perth earlier this month as part of efforts to increase safety in the city centre including a £1.1 million plan for extra signs, widened pavements and new road markings, as well as restrictions on certain streets.

The planned restrictions prompted Perth man Robert Tomlin to launch the petition.

Earlier this month, he told The Courier: “Perth and Kinross Council have announced that they will be restricting access to Balhousie Street and Hay Street.

“This means it can no longer be used as a through road, which will add journey time, extra frustration and more pollution to travel.

“There has hardly been an inclusive representation of those most affected by this.”

Ms Graham said: “There is significant harm to health, especially to children from vehicle pollution in residential streets.

“Pollution is not just linked to respiratory problems. It can reach every cell of the body and is linked to a wide range of severe health problems, physical and mental.”

Perth and Kinross Council said discussions are under way with elected members “to deliver a solution to deterring unnecessary through traffic, improve road safety and to provide improved links for walkers and cyclists.”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Peter Barrett said: “I fully sympathise with PALS and their frustration that the spaces for people proposals for Muirton and the North Inch were abandoned.

“It is clear that only a partial closure of Balhousie Street will significantly reduce the traffic volume.”

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