Bus lane and cameras add up to a left turn for worse

The junction at Willowbrae Avenue comes immediately after the bus lane
The junction at Willowbrae Avenue comes immediately after the bus lane
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FAMILIES in an east Edinburgh street have complained of being landed with £60 fines every day as they must drive through a bus lane to get home.

Residents of Willowbrae Avenue have received regualr fines since the new camera system was introduced.

Fiona Patterson with her penalty notices for entering bus lane

Fiona Patterson with her penalty notices for entering bus lane

Due to the current backlog they fear they may face hundreds of pounds more in fines if they were snapped every time they entered.

Local councillor Stefan Tymkewycz, a member of the city’s new coalition administration, has joined residents’ calls for the camera to be moved to avoid penalising families and said he would meet with the council’s head of transport to discuss a review.

Prior to the local government elections earlier this month outgoing transport leader Gordon Mackenzie had insisted transport chiefs were focusing on a “hard core” of motorists who unashamedly flout Greenways regulations.

However, residents of the street say they support the scheme and attempt to abide by the rules but are being caught out unfairly.

Willowbrae Avenue is a quiet residential street but a bus lane stands at its entrance on the busy Willowbrae Road and is covered by cameras.

It can technically be accessed from Willowbrae Road without crossing the bus lane but it requires a “hard left” turn which they believe to be unsafe.

As the Evening News has reported recently, motoring groups such as the AA have warned drivers to stick “blindly to the rules” to avoid falling foul of tough regulations.

Cllr Tymkewycz, a former police officer with the Met in London who has experience of patrolling bus lanes, said in his opinion a driver could not safely turn into Willowbrae Avenue and remain outside the bus lane lines.

He said: “Obviously I support traffic management throughout the city but this camera is too close to Willowbrae Avenue and drivers are not able to make a safe left turn without encroaching into the bus lane on their approach.

“As a former police officer in London I issued many tickets for driving in a bus lane but I don’t believe you could avoid this one safely.”

One resident of Willowbrae Avenue, who asked not to be named, said she received a fine from the first day of operation on April 23 and fears she may have racked up many more.

The 46-year-old mum of one told the Evening News: “We’re left with the possibility we could have been fined for every day since it started but because of this big backlog in getting the letters sent out we just don’t know.”

The woman said she had attempted to take a sharp left hand turn to avoid the edges of the bus lane but that it was unsafe especially with a child in the back. She added: “You think someone at the council would have noticed the number of fines going out to this street and that there’s a camera trained on the entrance.”

One of the woman’s neighbours received five fines in the same number of days. On Monday Fiona Patterson, who lives on the same street, told how she received the fines 17 days after being caught entering Willowbrae Avenue in the first days of the scheme.

Enforcement of the lanes has been decriminalised and the council immediately brought in cameras to monitor the ten hotspots last month.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh City Council said: “This particular bus lane has been in place for over a decade and it has never been legal to drive in it. However, we are aware of the concerns of residents and are looking in to this issue.

“Any driver who feels that they have been given a ticket incorrectly is encouraged to appeal.”