Smokey Brae is currently at total odds with the transport hierarchy. It feels like a hostile environment for anyone not moving in a car. The current layout puts pedestrians in as an afterthought and is particularly unsuitable for anyone pushing a pram or using a wheelchair. The pavement is too narrow, and traffic moves incredibly quickly and close to those using it. The pavement creates a pinch point that when two adults walk through in opposite directions on foot, they struggle to pass. If a pram or wheelchair is involved, one party must give way. Currently, walkers and wheelers who choose to avoid this junction due to its inadequacies must make a 15-minute detour.
LSEG greatly welcomes the proposals to redesign Smokey Brae and create a space that respects the transport hierarchy more.
We strongly support the introduction of continuous pavement with raised table junctions. We would like you to implement these using pavement materials rather than road material as this will emphasise pedestrian priority.
The designs appear to reduce the overall footway space available for pedestrians by removing the pavement on the eastern side of the road. However, this seems to be a reasonable compromise as there is currently no safe crossing near the railway underpass, and the existing footway is too narrow.
If it’s possible to make the proposed new pavement even wider, LSEG will welcome this. However, we appreciate this may not be easy to do given the overall width available and the welcome introduction of safe infrastructure for cyclists. Perhaps you could achieve this by closing the road from the T-junction to the Meadowbank House entrance to both northbound and southbound traffic, except for emergency vehicles only. This change would allow the fire service quick access to the south and create ample room for walkers, wheelers and cyclists alike.
LSEG members have noted that the Jock’s Lodge crossroads have abysmal pedestrian crossing times. Those who need to cross the road must wait for 2-minutes between signals and only have 7 seconds to cross. People who want to go down Smokey Brae will need to use these crossings. Pedestrians coming from Portobello Road will now have to as the pavement has switched sides. Therefore we think it should be a requirement to adjust the timings of these crossings to give more priority to pedestrians; 7 seconds isn’t enough!
Lastly, we’ve mentioned in our other answers to the survey that we would like the introduction of seating and wildflowers. Due care should be given to the seating positioning so as not to obstruct the natural movement of people through the area.
1. LSEG welcomes the rollout of EV charging for the city.
With the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) passenger vehicles due to be stopped from 2030, we urgently need to develop green alternatives and the necessary infrastructure to support them. This will not in itself reduce congestion or the dominance of streets by motor vehicles, or road safety.
Encouraging a switch from private cars to shared vehicles and improved public transport, cycling and (of course) walking and wheeling, is vital. The ‘Sustainable Travel Hierarchy’ (with walking and wheeling top, and private cars last) must be respected.
2. With regard to proposals for public EV charging, we support a street-by-street zoned approach. Incentives should be available to encourage owners of EVs to charge at home, with standard and fast chargers using off peak electricity when possible.
3. We recognise that many residents in the inner city do not have garages or driveways where they can charge their vehicles. For these users we support on-street carriageway build-outs (i.e. not on the footway) and lighting column EV chargers, where they are adjacent to the kerbside.
4. For commercial vehicles, taxis, LGVs, HGVs (and indeed buses) we believe rapid chargers should be located in special off-street hubs. Rapid and ultra-rapid chargers are large and not suited to either commercial or residential streets.
5. We do not support the siting of EV infrastructure on existing footways. The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) has recognised the problems of pavement clutter, as highlighted in recent years by LSEG and Living Streets nationally; mass installation of EV chargers on footways would run entirely counter to this policy. No EV infrastructure at all should be sited on the city’s most historic streets such as the Royal Mile or George Street.
6. CEC should enforce prohibitions against laying wires between private properties and vehicles on the road.
7. At present, there is considerable uncertainty around many aspects of EV, due to the first units being commissioned before design guidance has been agreed, and the lack of zoning. We need to see that design guidance, after it has been written by CEC, and we need to know more about the processes and entitlements for the EV infrastructure proposals, for objecting to EV charger placement, etc?
8. We look forward to continued engagement with CEC on this topic, which is likely to evolve quickly. We would also welcome public feedback, from ‘everyday walking’ perspectives.
Please see our manifesto for the 2022 council elections. We hope that all parties and all candidates will adopt these policies, to make Edinburgh the wonderfully walkable city it should be. Please help get walking and wheeling given the priority it needs by asking your councillor and candidates for their support!
Living Streets Edinburgh is the local group of the national charity that campaigns for everyday walking and wheeling. Edinburgh is essentially a wonderful city for walking, thanks to its size, history and geography. However, the pedestrian environment is often substandard and overlooked by policy makers. We want everyday walking to be accessible, attractive, convenient and quick.
All parties in the current council agreed in August 2020 that walking is “top of the sustainable movement hierarchy”. But in practice walking is often given inadequate priority and funding, despite it being the greenest and most universal way that people travel. We ask all candidates and political parties standing for election in May 2022 to support the following actions for the next council term:
Reduce motor traffic
Reduce road space for motor vehicles, including supporting low traffic zones and reducing on-street parking spaces;
provide better alternatives for people to travel by walking, cycling and public transport;
adopt a tougher approach to enforcement of antisocial parking – including at bus stops, schools and in bus and cycle lanes;
early and ‘zero tolerance’ enforcement of the pavement parking ban when it is introduced.
Introduce proper wider pavements in all ‘town centre’ locations, replacing the temporary ‘spaces for people’ measures;
make pavements smooth and trip-free with a 20% increase in footway maintenance budgets;
set a new budget to remove pavement clutter, and stop adding to it (for example through EV chargers);
introduce at least 100 dropped kerbs (or continuous pavements) a year where they are missing.
Improve pedestrian crossings
Review every signalled pedestrian crossing to reduce the time people have to wait to cross;
increase the ‘green man time’ for pedestrians to a minimum of 10 seconds;
increase the pedestrian crossing budget by 20% and support the widespread introduction of low cost crossings such as ‘informal zebras’.
Make roads safer
Renew the council’s road safety plan with a vision zero approach – there should be no deaths or serious injuries from traffic collisions by 2030;
increase enforcement of road traffic offences such as speeding and red light jumping, with a big increase in the use of speed cameras;
introduce a safe travel plan for every school in the city which either removes traffic from the school gates or (where not possible) makes the pavement wider.
Use planning controls effectively
Encourage car-free housing on brownfield sites;
reject car-dependent applications including commercial ventures such as ‘drive through’s;
ensure developers pay a fair contribution to improving pedestrian spaces through voluntary or ‘Section 75’ payments.
For our latest street audit, Living Streets activists focussed on the sprawling roundabout where Polwarth Gardens and Polwarth Crescent converge, and on the associated ‘rat run’ along Polwarth Crescent and Yeaman Place.
We identified a wide range of problems faced by pedestrians at a large number of locations (38) along a relatively short length of street corridor. The most frequent problem was narrow pavements which fail to meet the City Council’s own ‘Street Design Guidance’. Overall we found that the general dominance (speed, volume, noise etc) of motor traffic makes this a largely unpleasant place for pedestrians. The biggest concentration of pedestrian-unfriendly features are at and around the roundabout – and we advocate a major reduction in carriageway space here to make this a much more attractive place to live, shop, work, and linger.
We hope that our illustrated report (link) will stimulate discussion among local people and at Merchiston Community Council – and lead on to action by the City of Council to make pedestrian safety and convenience the top priority locally.
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.
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.
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 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
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.