All posts by Living Streets Edinburgh

Problem Junctions (February 2021)

Problem Junctions: response to City of Edinburgh Council request

Drum Brae roundabout, Maybury junction

These junctions are very hostile to pedestrians (and cyclists).

Gorgie / Dalry Road / Ardmillan Terrace / Henderson Terrace

4 Way junction with separate pedestrian crossings.  One arm on Murieston Street has no crossing and no safe period for pedestrians to cross.  The junction also has multiple banned vehicle turns, which are frequently ignored, and the traffic drives through pedestrian green phase.

Dundee  Street / Henderson Terrace / Angle Park Terrace / Western Approach Road

Very busy and fast junction, pedestrian crossing only on one arm (of 4).  Visibility on other arms is very poor when trying to cross.  No gap in sequence to cross any other arm.

Morningside Road with Church Hill Place

There is very little southbound traffic turning left from Morningside Road into Church Hill Place. This means that pedestrians on the eastern side of Morningside Road often wait a long time to cross Church Hill Place (leading to Church Hill Place)Drive, with no traffic passing. The recent SfP measures have shown that a single southbound lane suffices here on Morningside Road. A filter on the signals allowing northbound traffic to turn right (with southbound traffic on red) would increase the green man time for pedestrians on the east side of Morningside Road.

Morningside Road at Holy Corner

This junction has heavy footfall throughout the day. Wheelchair users, adults/carers with buggies and children, elderly and those with disabilities are particularly vulnerable. The volume/speed of traffic, pavement clutter, narrow pavement width  makes it impossible for pedestrians to pass safely in opposite directions, especially  when waiting for the pedestrian signal, and at places unsafe even to wait. Social distancing,  in particular at three sections, is impossible. This has been exacerbated by the continued blockage of the Right of Way at McLarens, regularly used by vulnerable road users in the past.

Argyle Place/Melville Drive

The junction would be improved by the closure of the slip road which appears to be used by very few vehicles. The complexity of slip road, cycle paths and a bus route have created an unnecessary hazard. If the bus route could be rerouted to Marchmont road – Melville drive junction, this would allow a much simpler and safer junction for pedestrians and cyclists. These modifications could form part of plan to create a neighbourhood area between Causewayside, Marchmont Road, Melville Drive and Grange Road with traffic calming by closed through roads improving access for vehicles, cycles and especially pedestrians.

Haymarket

The whole junction is very poor for pedestrians and our understanding of plans associated with the new Haymarket development is that this become even worse for pedestrians.

Gardners Crescent at Morrison Street

A pedestrian phase is essential at the southern side of Morrison Street to enable people to cross Gardners Crescent safely. A pedestrian phase is also needed at the eastern arm of the junction to cross Morrison Street. We assume that this will be introduced as part of the ‘Morrison St scheme’, which we would like to hear more about.

Tollcross

Similar to Haymarket, a very complex and hostile junction for walking. Generally throughout Tollcross traffic system – many junctions with 2-phase pedestrian crossings due to triangle type design. Consideration needs to be given to diverting or closing some of the roads leading to West Tollcross (Thornybauk, Lochrin Terrace).

Pedestrian crossings at Tollcross are confusing especially for the young, elderly and tourists. Also, vehicles get confused and carry out dangerous and unauthorised turnings across pedestrian routes. There are basically too many junctions at this point. The highways dept should be putting the welfare of pedestrians much higher up their list of priorities at this junction.

Lothian Road / Earl Gray Street / East Fountainbridge / Fountainbridge

No pedestrian crossing on Earl Gray Street. Takes 3 separate crossings to cross road.  We understand this will be rectified as part of the Fountainbridge/Lothian Road scheme.

Lothian Road at Kings Stables Road

There are no traffic lights or pedestrian crossing facilities at this junction. We would favour KSR being closed to vehicles entirely at this junction, with access restricted from the Grassmarket end.

Lothian Road at Western Approach Road

A three stage crossing is inappropriate given the volume of pedestrians.

Foot of the Walk/Great Junction Street/Duke Street

Insufficient walking time to cross; too long to wait. High number of older/disabled pedestrians.

South St David St at Princes Street

Very long wait time for pedestrians meaning very common ‘crossing on red’. (All crossings on Princes St need better pedestrian priority.)

Colinton Road/Myreside Road/Gray’s Loan/Merchiston Gardens

This is a very busy meeting point of five roads and seen as dangerous for pedestrians. Colinton Road being long and straight regularly sees a lot of drivers breaking the speed limit. The traffic lights at the junction are set to prioritise traffic, creating long waits for pedestrians wishing to cross. The crossing time allocated for pedestrians is not adequate for anyone, never mind the more vulnerable.

There are three schools near this junction: Craiglockhart Primary, Rudolph Steiner’s and George Watson’s College. When the schools are open, there are very large numbers of children and many drivers dropping off and picking up pupils at certain times of day. This adds to the problem but the situation is still bad when the schools are not open.

Greenhill Gardens / Strathearn Place

This is difficult area for pedestrians to cross, as is the Churchill / Pitsligo Rd section nearby.

Traffic comes along Chamberlain Rd at speed onto Greenhill Gardens, and continues at speed to turn left onto Strathearn Place, usually without slowing down or indeed indicating, or an awareness that pedestrians may be trying to cross.  There is a bus stop both here and across the road, and difficult to access for vulnerable road users.

Liberton Road/Kirk Brae/Mayfield Road

There are no pedestrian facilities at all (green man) at several roads on this signalled junction, despite a recent full renewal, including installation of advance cycle lights.

London Road at Elm Row

Very inconvenient two-stage crossing (off desire line). This will be improved through tram works.

Leith Street/Calton Road/Greenside Row

Two adjacent junctions with very high footfall, and low vehicle volumes: the balance of priority between pedestrian sea motor vehicle is completely inappropriate.

High Street at the Bridges

Inadequate pedestrian priority at a very busy junction with narrow pavements (at Tron). Pedestrian priority to cross the High Street, both at west and east sections needs to be significantly improved by signal phase and possibly filter changes.

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LSE SUPPORT FOR NEWBATTLE TERRACE PUBLIC REALM SCHEME

Living Streets Edinburgh Group very much welcomes this scheme, which will secure a big improvement in the quality of the public realm – with particular benefits for the safety and convenience of walking, in line with the latter’s place at the top of the Scottish Government’s ‘Sustainable Travel Hierarchy’.

We are surprised that footway widths are not specified, although we understand that in the new design ‘the north footway [of Newbattle Terrace] varies from 2.25 to 3.5m, with a couple of pinch points of around 2m’ and ‘the south footway is 3.0 – 3.1m, with a pinch point of 2.9m.’ This is reasonably in line with the Council’s ‘Street Design Guidance’ (SDG) which stipulates that the footway width should be an ‘absolute minimum’ width of 2m, ‘only allowed in short sections’.

The footprint of the scheme has been extended northwards up Pitsligo Road as far as the junction with Woodcroft Road, in order to accommodate a new contraflow cycle lane. The latter is welcome in itself, but should be matched by a widening of the parallel footways on this section (currently only 1.5-1.55m wide) in order to satisfy the ‘absolute minimum’ of 2m laid down in the SDG. The Convenor of the Council’s Transport & Environment Committee emphasised at the recent launch of the ‘Cut the Pavement Clutter’ project that the SDG ‘must be applied’ to all schemes, and noted the Council’s ‘wall to wall’ approach, ie not just upgrading the road carriageway, but also enhancing the parallel footways.

The creation of a continuous footway along the north side of Newbattle Terrace at the Pitsligo Road junction is very welcome, but pedestrian passage over the continuous footway should be protected by (i) road markings warning southbound (downhill) cyclists to give way to pedestrians, and (ii) tactiles at the edge of the former footway lines (to indicate to people with visual disabilities that vehicles and cycles cross this area – vehicles northbound only, and cyclists in both directions).

We suggest that any vehicle flow displacement on to Clinton Road should be monitored, and, if necessary, further action should be taken to deal with any problems caused by displaced traffic.

 

Cut the Pavement Clutter!

In 2019, we launched a project about the problems caused by pavement clutter – and what we can do about it [ https://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/2019/10/18/tackling-street-clutter-through-locality-working/ ]. We’re now delighted to launch a new video and report about the project. “Cut the Pavement Clutter” looks at a number of questions:

  • what is pavement clutter?
  • why does it matter? and (most importantly)
  • what can we do about it?

We hope that these resources will be used as widely as possible to raise awareness of the problems which cluttered pavements cause, and to raise the bar in making streets better for everyday walking.  Anyone is welcome to use them freely – for example in presentations, conferences, seminars or staff training events.

Of course, we need more fundamental transformation of many of our streets too, but most streets in Edinburgh, Scotland and the UK would be better places almost overnight, if we could ‘cut the clutter’.

 

The video can be found on our YouTube channel here – https://youtu.be/_owjs7clKfk

The full Cut the Clutter report can be found here (PDF, 5.5mb) – Living-Streets-Edinburgh-Cut-The-Clutter

You can watch the launch event here: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/cuttheclutter . There are contributions by Mary Creacgh, Chief Executive of Living Streets, Cllr Lesley Macinness, Convenor of Transport and Environment Committee, City of Edinburgh Council, and Tom Rye, Professor of Transport Policy, University of Molde, Norway. The event includes a wider discussion of how to design streets fit for everyday walking and was chaired by our Convenor, David Hunter, whose blog can also be found at this link.

Thanks to Paths for All for funding from the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places fund, and to Living Streets Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council for their support for the project.

Pedestrian crossing report

In autumn 2020, we carried out some surveys of pedestrian crossings in Edinburgh to see how long people walking had to wait for a ‘green man’ signal, and how long they had to cross the road when the ‘green man’ was on.  We found that, at many busy junctions, people have to wait far too long to cross the road safely and often have only seconds to get to the other side.

We have sent this report to the Council and asked them to introduce more pedestrian priority at signalled junctions as a matter of urgency under the Spaces for People scheme to aid social distancing, and also make longer-term changes to give more priority to pedestrians, rather than motor vehicles.

We have now  expanded and updated this report (March 2021), adding many more pedestrian crossings across the city, and also adding the comments of volunteers who carried out the timings. We will keep pressing for not only for improvements to the worst crossings where the waiting time to cross the road is quite unacceptable, but also to crossings generally across the city. We are looking for a culture change that puts pedestrians before traffic!