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The last time Edinburgh adopted a citywide speed limit was 1934, and the number was 30 mph. Now, Anna Clark writes, "The easy-to-love capital city is rolling out a plan to cap the speed limit at 20 mph across 80 percent of its roads, including the entirety of its dense downtown. Key arterial roads will retain their speeds of 30 and 40 mph."
The speed limit change is an explicit move to encourage walking and biking, especially in the city center. "Edinburgh's move also syncs with the Scottish government's 2010 Cycling Action Plan, which aimed for 10 percent of all journeys to be taken by bike by 2020. When the plan was updated in 2013, urban areas were encouraged to introduce more 20 mph streets."
In its slow roads report, Transport Scotland emphasized that "'[The new limits] should not be set in isolation, but should be considered as part of a range of other measures to manage speeds, improve safety and meet other objectives, including the encouragement of active travel.'"