Leith Street TRO and RSO – Response to re-advertisement

Living Streets Edinburgh Group has previously objected to RSO 17/13 on the grounds stated in Appendix A.  In response to a re-advertisement of the RSO, along with advertisement of TRO 17/81, we re-state our objection to the RSO, and state our objections to the TRO, on the following grounds:

  1. Greenways/ Bus priority: The TRO removes all Greenways restrictions on Leith Street. This not only removes valuable bus priority but also the ‘no stopping’ restrictions. We cannot understand why the Council would wish to do this and we object to the Order.
  2. Footway widths: since our initial objection, we have been provided with more detail on footway widths. While we do acknowledge that there are improvements from the current substandard pavements – some of the busiest in the city – it is our understanding that 32 out of 67 sections of footway will not meet the ‘desirable minimum’ of ‘4 metres or wider’ set out in the Street Design Guidance (SDG). Two sections will not even meet the ‘absolute minimum’ of 2.5 m laid down in the SDG, the worst of which is at the very south end of Leith Street (east side) near its junction with Waterloo Place – a key pedestrian pinch-point. The latter is the result of accommodating three lanes of road carriageway, rather than reducing this to two lanes for bus and cycle use only. In a major development such as this, in the very heart of the city, it is unacceptable that the Council’s own minimum standards are not fully achieved.
  3. Junction of Leith Street/Waterloo Place: Following on from the inadequate pavement width noted above, we propose that Leith Street, south of the access to the car parks in Greenside Place and the St JamesCentre, should be restricted to buses, cyclists and pedestrians only until the ‘City Centre Transformation’ initiative has been completed. One benefit of this would be to allow widening of the footway pinch-point at the very south end of Leith Street (east side) near its junction with Waterloo Place by limiting the carriageway to two, rather than three lanes, for bus and cycle use only. Some consideration of the wider effect on traffic flows would of course be needed, and possibly measures such as street closures implemented to avoid problematic ‘rat-running’. However not all traffic which previously used Leith Street would in any case return after the current closure of Leith Street ends as some ‘evaporation’ of traffic would be expected. The current closure of Leith Street is an important opportunity to begin wider strategic consideration of traffic management in the city, which must not be missed.
  4. The proposed split footways on Leith Street north of the Calton Road junction reduce their effective width and utility for pedestrians. This would be even more inconvenient and hazardous for walking on the section between the Greenside Row and Calton Road junctions, where it is proposed that the cycleway should switch, mid-block, from one side of the footway to the other. This is a recipe for pedestrian/cyclist conflict, with the most vulnerable street users (including pedestrians who are frail or have a disability) likely to come off worst.
  5. We maintain our previous objection to the RSO as stated in the appendix.

 

David Hunter
for Living Streets Edinburgh Group
Thorn House
5 Rose Street
Edinburgh
EH2 2PR

11 December 2017

 

Apendix

RSO/17/13 Leith Street, Calton Road, Greenside Row, Waterloo Place

Living Streets Edinburgh Group objects to RSO 17/13 on the following grounds:

1) All – pavement widths

Leith Street is designated as a Strategic High Street, according to the Street Design Guidance adopted by the Council in 2015 (i). This specifies that the pavement should be a minimum width of 3 metres (2.5 metres allowed only in short sections), with a desirable minimum width of 4m or wider. We cannot determine the exact pavement widths from the drawings, but it is clear that the pavement widths proposed in the order are far below the Council’s own specified standards on both sides of the street.

(i) http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/download/550/edinburgh_street_design_guidance

 

2) Crossing point of Leith Street East at Greenside Row

The drawing seems to imply that the entire pavement both the north and south sides of the Greenside Row corner is re-determined as cycle way from both footway and carriageway (10, 12, 16, 13). This leaves no footway whatsoever exclusively for pedestrians crossing Greenside Row. The drawing suggest that pedestrians are expected to wait in a designated cycle way before crossing Greenside Row. This is a busy pavement at all times – and is already excessively busy at certain times of the year (eg during the August festivals). It is unacceptable that pedestrians at this location should mix with cyclists. Of course, it would also be also extremely unhelpful for cyclists to encounter pedestrians on the cycle track.

 

3) Junction of Leith Street East at Greenside Row

The corner radii of Greenside Row (at 10, 16) are excessively large, which will encourage vehicles to travel fast when entering and exiting Leith Street. This is an inappropriate design for a 20 mph street. The Street Design Guidance (see above) specifies that the maximum radius for a corner of this type of street is 3 metres, and although not shown, the radii proposed are clearly far in excess of this.

 

4) Cycle manoeuvres, Leith Street (west) to Greenside Row

We are unclear what manoeuvres cyclists are expected to make heading north from the west side of Leith Street (6) to join the cycle track on the east side (10). We are concerned at the risk of conflict between cyclists and pedestrians involved in this manoeuvre.

5) Junction of Leith Street (east) at Calton Road

It is our understanding that the junction of Leith Street and Calton Road will be governed by a signalised crossing, although this does not appear to be indicated on the drawings. We would support this, so long as adequate pedestrian priority is provided in signal timings to permit the heavy pedestrian traffic to proceed effectively north/south. However, we have concerns that the cycle track on Leith Street heading south ends abruptly at Calton Road (10). There could be conflict at this junction between pedestrians and cyclists wishing to continue south, for example to the Bridges,

 

6) ‘Floating Bus Stop’ Leith Street (East).

The drawing shows a ‘floating bus stop’ (17). Living Streets’ opposes the further introduction of this feature until an objective and thorough monitoring is completed on the first such floating stop, introduced on Leith Walk (ii). This is because we are concerned at the risk of conflict between pedestrians (especially elderly and or disabled bus passengers alighting from a bus) and cyclists, where the cycle way lies between the bus stop and the pavement. This would be especially the case if the cycle way is, as we think 2-way, so downhill (northbound) cyclists may be going quite fast. No such monitoring has yet taken place or been planned to our knowledge and so we therefore oppose the redeterminations introducing this feature.

(ii) http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/2016/02/08/living-streets-edinburgh-backs-floating-bus-stop-pilot-on-leith-walk/

 

David Hunter
for Living Streets Edinburgh Group

Thorn House
5 Rose Street
Edinburgh
EH2 2PR

17 October 2017