Petition to Humza Yousaf, Transport Scotland, Edinburgh Council
Make the Edinburgh City Bypass (A720) Fit for the 21st Century
Edinburgh's City Bypass has a problem. Left largely unaltered since its construction in the 1980's, the A720 has failed to adapt to the growing population and as such isn't fit for modern day use. Years of ignorance, dithering and inaction by the trunk route's operator, the Scottish Government, has resulted in a major artery that operates at 140% capacity during morning and rush hour periods. Whilst the Government continues to ponder the solution, for what is the bypass of the country's capital city, the time lost in never ending queues is only stifling our economy. This congestion can't go. I call upon the Scottish Government to give us a City Bypass that will work for the people of Edinburgh and South East Scotland. Transport Scotland's plans to undertake infrastructure works, to allow the hard shoulder to function as a third lane during peak periods, must be realised with a greater sense of urgency. This Active Management System has proved successful on the M42 by Birmingham and would work well too in Edinburgh, increasing peak hour capacity and going some way to reducing congestion. Their additional plans for slip road signals must also be fully studied to understand the impact on the neighbouring junctions and surrounding routes. Where applicable, like on the A702 trunk road, additional lane capacity on approach to the City Bypass should be implemented. This could be achieved through so called "Red Routes" that prohibit parking during peak periods. Finally, within the term of the next parliament, the promised Edinburgh Orbital Bus Route must be fully realised. In 2012, feasibility studies were undertaken to ascertain how the route, running from the Forth Road Bridge to Queen Margaret University via the A720, would function and indeed how much it would cost. However plans were shelved due to lack of funding. This intervention will allow commuters to travel by public transport rather than car, and will not only decrease journey times through less congestion but also decrease harmful emissions. For years, the Scottish Government has neglected the trunk road network around Edinburgh and south towards Penicuik. It is time for change. For a road network suitable for this century and centuries to come. This capital city can no longer sit in a never-ending queue. Sign this petition today and you are calling on Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government to: Continue infrastructure works to run a hard shoulder along the length of the A720, and implement an Active Traffic Management system to allow it to be used as a third lane during peak periods or as necessary. Priority should be given Straiton to Lothianburn, where carriage widening will be required (no hard shoulder exists today). Lothianburn to the Water of Leith Bridge at Baberton will require only minor works as a wide hard shoulder already exists and should be the first stretch to open using Smart Motorway standards - A720(M). The ultimate aim should be to upgrade the entire trunk route to be the M720. Undertake transport assessments into the bypass' junctions and surrounding link roads to understand their current capacity and suggest interventions to remedy problems - namely the trunk routes such like the A702 and A68 but the Government should work with local councils to investigate other roads too Accelerate plans to upgrade Sheriffhall Roundabout into a flyover or underpass Complete feasibility studies into the Edinburgh Orbital Bus Route to establish a detailed design. Funding should be sought as part of the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Deal Investigate other multi-modal opportunities e.g the reopening of the Edinburgh South Suburban Railway and the Penicuik to Edinburgh Waverley Railway Further Reading: Transport Scotland's "Strategic Transport Review" (2008) (Read Here)- Identifies 29 projects for investment. Project 9 identifies the A720 for a three phase project: Phase 1 would bring in variable speed limits, delay information displays, ramp metering at key junctions and average speed enforcement. Phase 2 would see the use of the existing hard shoulder as an additional lane and more extensive ramp metering. Phase 3 would entail the use of the hard shoulder or introduction of road widening to create a lane for priority vehicles. SESTran's EOBR Capacity Study (July 2010) identifies that the City Bypass is over capacity for the majority of the day. States that "would worsen in future years beyond 2013." (Read Here) [Image © Highways England showing the M42 Active Traffic Management System]
Petition to The University Court of Queen Margaret University, Professor Petra Wend
Review the selection of QMU's Chancellor
Currently within the institution the role of Chancellor is to be the ceremonial head of the university in which they presides over the graduation ceremony, represent the university at events and within the wider-world as the University's ambassador. This is currently held by television personality and restaurateur, Prue Leith. However such an important role is not chosen by the students or staff whom they represent but by the University Court. The Court is the university's governing body that is responsible for carrying out the objectives of the University, ensuring the financial sustainability of the University and approving the strategic plan. Though The Court has the best interests for the University, it is not representative of it's students and staff with only 3 academic staff members representing all staff members and the Student Union President and One other Student Union Executive Member representing the entire student body. This current system is undemocratic, unaccountable and doesn't reflect the views or desires of the student body or staff. Therefore I suggest the University Court and the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Petra Wend, conduct and review the methods of selecting the University's Chancellor. This should especially take account the opinion of the student body and university staff, may this be done by individual consultation or by a town hall style event. In my opinion, I believe we should take a note from our fellow Scottish Universities such as University of Glasgow or University of Edinburgh in their elections of their Rector and elect our Chancellor. Candidates should be nominated by a percentage of the staff or students then an election for the role of chancellor shall be held. The Chancellor should represent an area of study within the university, be an inspirational figure that students look up to and admire or be prominent and admired alumni of the university. They should represent the university's core values and champion the causes of students and staff. Our representatives, even if they are ceremonial, shouldn't be chosen for us and we should have a say in that choice. I therefore ask Queen Margaret University to take a review into consideration and ask you to support this cause. Thank you for reading!
Petition to Councillor Lewis Ritchie
Councillor Lewis Ritchie must resign as Leith Walk Councillor.
Councillor Lewis Ritchie was elected to City of Edinburgh Council most recently in 2017 to represent Ward 12 - Leith Walk. He did so as the official SNP candidate. However, in early 2018 he resigned from the SNP, choosing to continue to serve his term of office as an Independent Councillor. This decision was taken after it was revealed that he was being suspended by the SNP due to concerns raised about his behaviour & conduct, since his resignation further allegations have been made. It is clear from speaking with people in Leith Walk Ward that one of the key reasons many people voted for him was because he was the official SNP candidate. He now no longer represents the SNP. The allegations against Mr Ritchie are serious and his decision to change from being an SNP Councillor to an Independent Councillor is important. We call upon Councillor Lewis Ritchie to resign from City Of Edinburgh Councillor immediately. The Herald, 26/1/17 - SNP Councillor Lewis Ritchie apologies over 'completely inappropriate' comment to female colleague. Edinburgh Evening News, 20/2/18 - Punch row Councillor Lewis Ritchie quits SNP. Edinburgh Evening News, 9/3/18 - Councillor accused of sex harassment 'tried to climb into womans bed' claim. Edinburgh Evening News, 10/3/18 - Sex harassment Councillor accused of forcing kiss in second claim.
Petition to Professor Richard Williams
No compulsory redundancies at Heriot-Watt University
This petition is about wanting Heriot-Watt University to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies, and to consult meaningfully with UCU and all the trade unions to avoid making unnecessary job cuts. The story so far... On March 3, 2017 Heriot-Watt University, announced plans to make 100 staff redundant – a saving of £4.25m and a reduction in 5 per cent of all staff employed at the Riccarton, Galashiels and Orkney campuses. At the same time, the University also set out a two-year “recruitment chill”, which is likely to see a further job losses due to the non-replacement of approximately 100 more staff. Furthermore, University management have repeatedly refused to rule out compulsory redundancies, despite the obvious impact on the student experience and the local economy. The University have cited a “Brexit effect”, which had “creat[ed] uncertainty affecting postgraduate uptake”, as well as “the UK government’s immigration policies and messaging” as key factors. However, last year alone they spent in excess of £9m on consultants. The University is proceeding with plans to fully convert the James Watt Centre into a learning and teaching facility at the cost of £4m and plans to refurbish the Edinburgh campus library at the cost of £6m – neither are likely to improve student experience if staff numbers drop by approximately 200 by the end of 2018. UCU wants Heriot Watt University to continue to be one of the best universities, and we want to support investment in the University. What about the students? These job cuts will adversely affect the student experience and course quality and choice. We believe preserving the quality of the research and learning environment is key to creating a vibrant and innovative student experience. But what can I do to help? Please sign and widely share this petition, a petition that will be presented to University Court, and aimed at simply requesting the University refrain from making compulsory redundancies. If you wish to express your concerns further, consider writing to your MP or MSP and/or email the University’s Principal, Professor Richard Williams, on R.A.Williams@hw.ac.uk
Petition to Edinburgh Council
Save our Janitors!
Janitors throughout Edinburgh are currently under consultation, with plans to cut the hours that they will be available in our schools. This will have a huge impact on the health, safety and security or our schools. Education could also suffer, as presumably core teaching and support staff will be expected to take on some of the everyday running of the building, with schools expected to pay for any janitorial support outside of the proposed new hours! Janitors are a fundamental part of the school community, we need Edinburgh Council to reconsider these cuts immediately!