Category Archives: Consultation Response

Living Streets Edinburgh Response to Corstorphine Connections Consultation

The City of Edinburgh Council is in the early stages of presenting a plan called Corstorphine Connections to improve walking, wheeling and cycling in the south Corstorphine area. So far, there are no plans to comment on but we would like to submit some key areas for improvement with respect to walking and wheeling around the area. 

LSE has walkability criteria that we have accessed against south Corstorphine and would like the following to be addressed for the scheme delivery. 

The pedestrian conditions in this area are currently very poor on some important streets and the entire area is dominated by traffic, making pedestrian movement difficult and unpleasant. 

Walkability criteria

Convenient pedestrian crossing points

St John’s Road 

Pedestrian crossing points are generally poor. We have timed some key crossing points:

Crossing over SJR near Station road
Green man – 6 seconds 
Waiting time – 1 min 20 seconds
Crossing over Clermiston Road at SJR
Green man – 5 seconds 
Waiting time – 1 min 28 seconds

This means a pedestrian heading along St John’s Road and looking to cross the road will have a waiting time of 2 minutes 40 seconds to get over one junction with 11 seconds to cross 6 lanes of traffic.

Crossing at White lady on SJR

  • Green man – 5 secs 
  • Waiting time – 1min 30 seconds 

This crossing is frequently used by pedestrians yet has a very long wait and mere seconds to get over the road. 

Suggested Action: Improve pedestrian crossing times on St John’s Road.

Saughton Road North

This is a fast and busy road. At the moment there are only two pelican crossings along this entire residential stretch of the south Corstorphine area, with a third (slow) pelican crossing point at the junction with Broomhouse Road.

Suggested Action: Additional pelican crossing point on Sycamore Terrace as a minimum. Improve pelican crossing time at Broomhouse Road.

Corstorphine High Street/Ladywell Road

This is a fast and busy road. There is only one pelican crossing along this entire stretch, which has a range of community amenities including doctors’ surgery, nurseries, primary school, church, greenspace and community hall.

Suggested Action: Upgrade pedestrian refuge to pelican crossing on Ladywell Road.

Meadow Place Road

The crossing treatment for getting over the junction at Meadow Place Road/Ladywell Road is abysmal for pedestrians. If you are heading to Tesco on foot on the south side of Ladywell Road you have to wait to get across five pelican crossings. Any pedestrian looking to cross this junction to/from Ladywell Road has no less than three points to cross.

Suggested Action: Assess this junction for improved pedestrian movement and reduce waiting times.

Traffic-light crossing points along this road are not very frequent. This is a busy and fast road with two high schools and should have better provision. 

Suggested Action: Provide pelican crossing on south-side of the overpass.

Non-traffic light junctions

Junction treatments throughout the area makes crossing the road difficult for pedestrians. Junctions often have wide bellmouths, lots of traffic, narrow pavements, poor road surface and a lack of dropped kerbs. They also sometimes have poor sightlines. 

Problem junctions include:

Ladywell Avenue/Featherhall Avenue
Manse Road/High Street
Kirk Loan/Sycamore Terrace
Dovecot Road/Ladywell Avenue
Drum Brae roundabout
Dovecot Road/Meadowhouse Road
Castle Avenue/Tyler’s Acre Road
Meadowhouse Road/Lamp Acre Road
Ladywell Road/Meadow Place Road
Suggested Action: Tighten junction radii, provide continuous footway across residential junctions feeding onto High Street, Ladywell Road, Saughton Road North, St John’s Road.

Pavements

Pavements throughout the south Corstorphine area are less than minimum width as described by CEC’s Street Design Guidance. 

Some important pedestrian desire lines have incredibly narrow pavements. Problem streets include: 

Manse Road
Station Road
Sycamore Terrace
Corstorphine High Street
Ladywell Road
Ladywell Avenue
Featherhall Avenue
Sections of St Johns Road
Sections of Saughton Road North
Kirk Loan
Meadowhouse Road
Sections of Meadow Place Road

Generally, most residential streets in the whole south Corstorphine area are narrower than 2 metres as a bare minimum as per Street Design Guidance. 

Suggested Action: Widen pavements on key pedestrian thoroughfares and desire lines, especially around schools and retail.

Pavement clutter and barriers are common. Examples include:

  • Residential bins on St Johns Road
  • Much pavement clutter on St Johns Road, which we covered in our pedestrian clutter audit of the area and submitted to CEC
  • Guardrails at north end of Kirk Loan, the south ends of Meadow Place Road and Saughton Road North
  • Guardrails narrowing access points on toucan crossing on Meadow Place Road
  • Barriers on Quiet Route 9 at Ladiebridge, Traquair Alley and the Paddockholm.
  • Steps to access Traquair Alley from Corstorphine Road
  • Bollards at junction between Station Road and Meadowhouse Road
Suggested Action: Remove clutter, barriers and guardrails, replace wheelie bins with communal bins on St John’s Road

Pavement parking and parking across dropped kerbs is another common problem. Hotspots for this behaviour include: 

  • Pavement parking on Corstorphine High Street (so common you can see it on Google Streetview)
  • Pavement parking on north section of Kirk Loan, especially next to the retail units (so common you can see it on Google Streetview)
  • Parking over dropped kerb on Broomhall Avenue (so common you can see it on Google Streetview)
  • Pavement parking throughout much of Carrick Knowe.
Suggested Action: Provide double yellow lines over dropped kerbs to stop inconsiderate parking, widen pavements, if appropriate and not cluttering pavement provide bollarding to stop pavement parking

Quality of footway surface can be poor, due to lack of maintenance and pavement parking. Some examples of this include: 

  • South side of Meadowhouse Road from Saughton Road North junction.
  • Tree roots rendering the off-road path at Pinkhill difficult to negotiate for people who require mobility aids
  • Featherhall Avenue
  • Most of Carrick Knowe residential streets
Suggested Action: Improve footway surfaces

Other points of note

LSE Edinburgh members live in this area and are aware of the following “rat runs”, that make getting about as a pedestrian more difficult. We think it is important these cut throughs are addressed, as they increase traffic in the area and make residential streets less accessible for walking and wheeling. 

  • From Saughton Road North, cutting through Meadowhouse Road, Pinkhill to Corstorphine Road (and the opposite direction).
  • From Saughton Road North, cutting through Castle Avenue, Ladywell Avenue (south) to Meadow Place Road (and the opposite direction).
  • From Saughton Road North, cutting through Dovecot Road, Ladywell Avenue (south) to Meadow Place Road.
  • From Corstorphine High Street, cutting through Manse Road to St John’s Road. 
  • From Corstorphine High Street, cutting through Featherhall Avenue to St John’s Road (and the opposite direction)
  • From St John’s Road, cutting through Kirk Loan to Sycamore Terrace.
  • From Meadow Place Road, cutting through Featherhall Crescent South and Featherhall Avenue onto High Street.
  • From Saughton Road North, cutting through Corstorphine Park Gardens, Station Road onto St John’s Road (and the opposite direction).
  • From Saughton Road North, cutting through Meadowhouse Road, Station Road onto St John’s Road (and the opposite direction).

Some of these driver cut throughs are particularly problematic for families looking to walk to school. Featherhall Avenue, Ladywell Avenue, Kirk Loan and Manse Road are problem streets for families walking to Corstorphine Primary School. Meadowhouse Road is problematic for Carrick Knowe Primary School. 

Suggested Action: Introduce filtered permeability to keep rat-running drivers to main roads.

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.

 

LSEG response to Council review of communal waste bins

CEC COMMUNAL WASTE BINS REVIEW Project: Comments from the Living Streets Edinburgh Group (LSEG)

LSEG welcomes the current review of the location of Communal Waste Bins in the city, and the intention to create bin hubs and rationalise the scattered locations of the various types of bin. Under existing conditions there are far too many such bins that are poorly located or left mislocated on pavements, so creating unnecessary obstacles for pedestrians. In numerous instances they also collect other clutter items around them.  This review is timely in the context of the covid virus with  heightened concern over clutter and the need for more space on pavements to allow social distancing. The reduction of bin clutter is also central to the realisation of the council administration’s objective (27), to tackle clutter and pavement parking.

We have a number of questions and concerns however, about the specifics of the review and how successfully they will be translated into practice.

One particular concern is the intention to go with wheeled communal bins everywhere, rather than the ones with fixed positions that can then be lifted automatically with the lorry correctly alongside. The latter are all in the carriageway of necessity and, unlike wheeled bins, cannot be left out of position on pavements! Given the frequency with which wheeled bins are currently so left as obstacles to pedestrian movement, both on pavements and in the carriageway where blocking crossing points, we would wish to see fixed positions retained wherever this is practicable.

As of now wheeled bins are to be found out of position all over the city. Even when in the carriageway they are often to be seen too close to junctions or where they obstruct dropped kerb crossing points for pedestrians or block cycle lanes. They are left there after emptying by contractors, or they are subsequently moved or sometimes blown there.  Can we please therefore be informed as to what additional measures will be taken to ensure that bins are repositioned within the defined hub positions? Under the current regime, even where there are defined areas for bin location, all too often these are ignored or treated as only approximate indicators.  We are not convinced that the new bin hub settings will be sufficient to ensure that contractors do correctly reposition the bins. So without exception the hubs should be in roadway rather than on pavements. If gradients are a problem for this then regrading of the carriageway is the answer, not putting bins on pavements. Where there is a sufficient excess of pavement space to allow bin hubs to be located there without inconveniencing pedestrians, then it would be acceptable for that space to be used, but it must then be regraded to carriageway level in the process; otherwise there will still be out of position bins rolling around on pavements.

The current review is seen to only be covering communal bins. It does not embrace the residential or trade waste bins that are equally of concern for pedestrians, given that these bins are also frequently left on pavements for periods of time out of all proportion to the needs for collection, and in excess of the times authorised by the CEC.  We call for a complementary review to be undertaken of ways to reduce the problems and clutter associated with these bins also.

There are problems arising from both residents and retailers leaving bins out permanently or semi-permanently in some cases, and for excessively long periods in many others. The situation with trade waste bins does seem to have been improved somewhat over recent years, but the levels of regulatory and enforcement activities are still far from adequate. Woeful conditions for pedestrians are being created on pavements as a result, whereby wheelchair users and other vulnerable pedestrians are at times simply unable to use them. Council policy should make it clear that residential bins must be left on the roadway side of the kerb where the pavement width is less than 1.5m. The council should also seek powers to levy fines on residents who leave bins out permanently.

In many instances residents’ bins are also left blocking pavements after emptying by the contractors, and it is clear that insufficient efforts are being made to encourage compliance with or to enforce the rules. At the very least there surely should be clear instructions that emptied bins must not be left anywhere on pavements narrower than 2m, with penalties introduced for contractors who fail to ensure that their staff follow this in practice. Equally if bins are replaced on pavements where they are wider than 2m, there should be penalties imposed for placing them in obstructive positions.

 

There is also a need for the current review to be followed up with a much wider review aimed at minimising the extent to which bins of all kinds are located on streets in Edinburgh, where space is so often limited and in demand for multiple other uses, and in scarce supply for pedestrians in particular. There is potential for bins to be relocated off street in many places, and for space demands to be reduced by underground storage; as can be seen in a number of the cities with which Edinburgh both competes (e.g. for tourism) and likes to compare itself with. It is accepted that underground storage can be too expensive and will not be an option everywhere, but opportunities to introduce it arise continually in association with development and redevelopment processes, and CEC should initiate a system to take these opportunities.

This wider review should also embrace the waste management objectives set out in the finalised Edinburgh City Centre Transformation report of 12 September 2019, which approved early action to address waste collection through “operating plans for residential, commercial and public waste collection, including operators, vehicle restrictions, time restrictions and consolidation” (para 5.3.5). Potentially these plans will help deliver the aspirations in the ECCT to make a more walkable city, less dominated by traffic, especially heavy vehicles. 26 ton bin lorries have no place in many of Edinburgh’s streets and alternative ways of collecting waste must be explored, as already agreed by the Council.