Tag Archives: walkability

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.

West Edinburgh Link: Comments by Living Streets Edinburgh

A. Introduction

Living Streets Edinburgh Group (LSEG) is the local voluntary arm of the national charity, Living Streets, which campaigns for better conditions for ‘everyday walking’. In LSEG our key aim is to promote walking as a safe, enjoyable and easy way of getting around the city.

We welcome this significant investment in active travel. We perceive the principal aim of this scheme as providing safe and attractive cycling routes to the Gyle and Edinburgh Park business areas from the north and south, taking opportunities to enhance the local pedestrian environment. We would like to see these opportunities maximised, which will benefit all people in the residential area, not only those who wish to cycle. A fundamental point is that all proposals and designs must explicitly conform to the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance for the category/categories of street. We have agreed the appended general ’walkability criteria’ to assess street design proposals, and would ask that they are also applied here.

We would suggest that the objectives of the scheme need further clarification; in particular, we note that the project website states “efforts will be made to preserve…the flow of vehicles”. While we certainly agree that the effect on traffic flows needs to be carefully considered, we think that the scheme should try to reduce some motor traffic, especially commuting by private car to the Gyle/Edinburgh Park areas.

B. General observations.

Positive aspects

We welcome many aspects of the proposed design, such as new pedestrian crossings (eg Glasgow Road, Maybury Drive, Wester Hailes Road, Clovenstone Road) and the bridge over the railway line at Gyle Park. We welcome exploiting all opportunities for pedestrian ‘short cuts’ for example potentially from S Gyle Access to S Gyle Crescent via Flasshes Yard, and Dell Road to the Water of Leith. We would like particular attention to be given to enhancing walking links (in terms of safety, accessibility and convenience) to the schools in the vicinity of the project.  However, we would like to see a number of walking improvements included, as set out below:

Footway widths

The current and proposed width of footways on the many streets included in this scheme is not generally shown on the maps provided but many are too narrow. We wish to see any footway which is currently below the minimum width as specified in the Street Design Guidance widened to meet the “absolute minimum” standard – and of course, the aim should be to exceed absolute minimum standards. As a flagship ‘walking and cycling scheme’ meeting agreed minimum standards should be an absolutely fundamental requirement the scheme.

Junction radii

The residential areas in the scheme area were designed before the ‘Designing Streets’ 2010 guidance and thinking, and long before 20mph became the norm for local streets. They often feature wide junction splays and long corner radii. These make it more difficult and unsafe for pedestrians to cross side streets, as there is further to travel and the geometry encourages higher vehicle speeds.  There are probably dozens of such junctions in the scheme area and we would like to see the maximum possible improvements to these, including at the junctions where raised tables are proposed.

Dropped kerbs

Similarly many road junctions in residential areas lack dropped kerbs (eg N Gyle Drive at N Gyle Road). These should be installed as a matter of course as part of the scheme. We understand that the Council has a full database of ‘missing’ dropped kerbs which should be used to address this. Tactile paving should be installed where required.

Traffic calming

We note (and welcome) the proposed use of raised tables at several junctions (for example Craigmount Grove). We would support wider use of traffic calming measures on streets where local communities perceive speeding and rat-running as a significant problem.

Shared Use pavements

There are several places where it is proposed to share the footway between pedestrians and cyclists (eg Westburn Avenue, S Gyle Access). We are opposed to this design in principle, which we believe builds in conflict between the two modes, although we accept that this is viable in some park/footpath settings (as opposed to pavements). We note that Sustrans has now also adopted this policy position.

Public transport interchange

Measures should be taken to improve the routes to the bus and tram stops (particularly Bankhead which has a complicated multi stage crossing to Edinburgh college / Napier campus). This needs to be simplified with more frequent and generous pedestrians phases. Ideally these should coincide with tram arrival times – an opportunity to use ‘smart’ signal technology? technology.

We have long had concerns that ‘floating bus stops’ pose a risk to pedestrians – particularly bus passengers alighting who will not expect the possibility of encountering cyclists. We agreed to support their installation on Leith Walk in 2016, on the understanding that a full and objective evaluation of this perceived risk is carried out. As this has still not been published we therefore continue to oppose the installation of further floating bus stops, including as part of this scheme.

Seats

We would like to see seats installed at suitable locations throughout the area, which will encourage less mobile pedestrians to use the streets, knowing that there are opportunities to rest at suitable locations, especially where it is hilly or there are steps. One such location would be the proposed Gyle Park bridge.

Pavement clutter

We assume that a full de-cluttering exercise will be carried out on all streets included within the scheme, removing unnecessary signage poles, inappropriately-sited cycle racks and redundant guardrail, for example.

C. Conclusion

We welcome the proposed improvements to the pedestrian environment throughout the route; however, we note that there are very many other opportunities to improve walking in local areas from Wester Hailes to East Craigs. Although this scheme has a significant budget, we appreciate that it will not be possible to fund all the walking and cycling improvements which are desirable. The extensive new development in west Edinburgh is also an opportunity to ensure that more  investment for improving pedestrian infrastructures achieved through the planning process and consents. We would ask that the prioritisation of spending between measures which principally benefit walking on the one hand and cycling on the other is done transparently and takes account of the number of people likely to benefit. There should be no presumption that ‘walking measures’ – such as widening pavements and dropping kerbs – are necessarily secondary to ‘cycling measures’.

***

Appendix: Living Streets Edinburgh ‘Walkability Criteria’

Living Streets Edinburgh Group (LSEG) is keen to ensure that all types of transport and public realm schemes – whether routine maintenance or new initiatives – improve the walking environment. We would like to see each scheme satisfy the following fundamental aims:

  1. compliance with the Council’s Street Design Guidance [http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/download/550/edinburgh_street_design_guidance] – at the very least, its minimum standards, eg on footway width and frequency of pedestrian crossings, and,
  2. compliance with the transport hierarchy set out in Scottish Planning Policy (2014) – https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-planning-policy/pages/8/including ‘Plans should identify active travel networks and promote opportunities for travel by more sustainable modes in the following order of priority: walking, cycling, public transport, cars’.

LSEG does not have the resources to examine and comment in detail on every transport and public realm proposal; our view on whether a scheme design has satisfied these fundamental aims will be determined by Council answers to the following questions on ‘walkability’ criteria:

  1. How does the design contribute to the Council’s strategic objective to promote walking [as set out in the Active Travel Plan http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20087/cycling_and_walking/1791/cycling_and_walking_projects/1]?
  2. Does the scheme comply in detail with the Council’s Street Design Guidance, for example with regard to footway widths, frequency of pedestrian crossing points, decluttering, continuous footways over side street junctions, and junction corner radii (amongst many other issues)? Where does it fail to comply?
  3. Are pedestrian crossing points convenient in terms of proximity, waiting times, directness and time to cross, especially for less able users?
  4. Does the scheme as a whole improve road safety, especially in terms of vehicle speeds at junctions and crossing points?
  5. Has an Equality Impact Assessment been carried out? If so, what are the chief impacts on disabled or elderly pedestrians?
  6. Which walking elements of the scheme represent a quantitative / qualitative enhancement or deterioration of current walking facilities, eg footway widths?
  7. In what ways does it avoid pedestrian conflicts with other road users (including motor vehicles and cyclists), eg by providing dedicated and well-defined space for pedestrians and avoiding ‘shared spaces’?