Fife Councillor Brian Thomson recently announced his initiation of a study regarding the practicality of pedestrianising part of Market Street.
The scheme, which is already in progress, is being conducted by Playfair Consultancy Group, a non-profit student-run consulting firm.
Playfair will complete a detailed report comprised of survey responses from local businesses, shoppers, and residents. It will also analyse whether pedestrianisation would function on the street by contrasting it with similar successful and failed cases.
Mr Thomson emphasised that Fife Council currently have no intention of reducing Market Street to pedestrian-access only and that the study would provide an in-depth account that would help to advise on the topic.
The investigation is being executed as a pro-bono service and has not been ordered by Fife Council.
A wide range of both positive and negative opinions on the study have been taken into account by the councillor.
Mr Thomson noted, “One of the main reasons for progressing the study is to try and collate and analyse the views of different users of the town centre, on a much wider basis than has been done before.”
Frazer Towers, the director of the study run by Playfair Consultancy, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Brian Thomson for this consultation. This is a fantastic opportunity to inform councillors of how you would like the street to look in the future.”
Survey feedback has reached approximately 1,200 responses and has motivated Playfair Consultancy Group to lengthen the survey duration by an additional week.
Both online access and paper copies of the survey have been made available to the public. The latter can be found in the Town Hall, the Students’ Union, and St Andrews Library.
Due to close on Friday 9 November, the surveys will also exhibit issues and developments sought by the community.
The Councillor also addressed several social media comments from online users concerning the bias of the surveys towards a pro-pedestrianisation perspective.
On Wednesday 31 October, Mr Thomson stated, “I wish to stress that Playfair Consultancy Group selected the questions based on recognised best practice for such surveys, in order to get a full insight of respond-ents’ perceptions of Market Street.
“Furthermore, if respondents are against pedestrianisation, the ‘no change’ option in the final question provides the opportunity to make that view absolutely clear.”
The study follows the first car-free day in St Andrews, organised by Environment and Community Relations subcommittees, Transition St Andrews, the St Andrews Space for Cycling, Cycle Fife, and Fife Council.
The event took place on Saturday 22 September and meant that pedestrians and cyclists could access Market Street without the presence of cars for the day.
Speaking of the event, Rector’s Assessor Camilla Duke, “The Rector and Rector’s Committee were delighted with the success of St Andrews’ first car-free day.” Ms Duke noted how it had been beneficial for the whole community to be involved on the day.
Supporting the scheme of the study, she continued, “We think that the possibility of pedestrianising Market Street is something that we definitely should continue to explore and discuss with members of the local community, and we’re looking forward to further collaboration around this important issue.”
The final report of the study was expected to be released in December 2018, but due to the unanticipated rate of survey responses, it is now expected to be published in February 2019.