Bid to tackle Portobello’s rat run

Portobello streets where a one way system may be introduced
Portobello streets where a one way system may be introduced
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A NEW one-way system has been proposed to alleviate congestion in a notorious city rat run.

New parking restrictions, pavement extensions and a one-way system in Portobello’s Marlborough Street, Regent Street and Straiton Place look set to be introduced following a consultation with residents, which concluded last week.

In response to concerns about congestion, pedestrian safety and access problems for emergency vehicles, two variations of a one-way system were drawn up and, at next month’s Portobello and Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership meeting, it will be decided whether to choose one of these or retain the existing set-up.

New parking restrictions have already been passed by the city council and could be introduced early this year.

Congestion problems in the narrow streets have led to the creation of the Facebook page “Portobello Traffic Nightmares”. Locals complain that the narrow roads are frequently used by lorries and HGVs, with heavy vehicles often becoming stuck on tight corners, and mothers with buggies and wheelchair users often forced into the road because there is not enough room on the pavement.

Portobello Community Council chairman John Stewart said he was pleased the issues were being examined and said the group supported a one-way system. He said: “The safety of pedestrians and children has to be paramount. We’ve been trying to support residents for many years in getting something like this in place.

“There are some fears introducing a one-way system will move the problem to another area, but I think most people are in favour of the proposals.”

But Portobello councillor Maureen Child said she was “perplexed” that the proposals will not address access problems for emergency vehicles.

Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service produced a video which shows a crew having difficulties getting down Marlborough Street.

Cllr Child said: “None of the options presented seems to deal with the problem.”

Other ideas being examined include relocation of street trade waste bins in Bath Street and removal of redundant street furniture.

Any changes proposed at the partnership meeting will then be implemented by the city council.

The council’s transport convenor Councillor Gordon Mackenzie said: “I look forward to seeing the revised proposals when they come to the transport, infrastructure and environment committee.”