TRANSPORT chiefs have urged Historic Scotland to lower the speed limit in Holyrood Park to put drivers off using the road as a “freeway”.
Speed limits currently vary between 20mph and 30mph zones, with campaigners calling for permanent 20mph restrictions throughout.
Cycling groups and residents on the edge of the park have been pushing for the reduction for several years and say it would improve safety and fit in with a wider push to cut driving speeds across the city.
Monitoring of the route has found that the average vehicle’s speed is nearly 40mph.
Historic Scotland – which operates the park and controls speed limits – has indicated its management plan is outdated and council transport officials said it was clear that regulations needed to be reviewed.
This is the first time the city council has backed calls for lower restrictions along the whole route, with transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds offering to help put plans in place.
At present, the stretch running from Meadowbank to the Scottish Parliament roundabout is 20mph before increasing to 30mph, and back to 20mph outside Duddingston Village.
Lindsay Crofts, secretary of the Duddingston Village Conservation Society, said the situation was confusing.
She said: “We strongly believe 20mph would put people off thinking it’s the fastest way out of the city centre.”
She explained that with bus lane cameras on Willowbrae Road and heavy congestion in the main arterial routes through the Old Town, Holyrood Park was an obvious shortcut for drivers.
Mrs Crofts said: “There are speed limits but they are not enforced and people tear through Holyrood Park – like it’s a freeway. People should be able to drive through it but we don’t believe it should be seen as a prime route between the city centre and east Edinburgh.”
Transport officials at the city council are currently carrying out a 20mph trial in south Edinburgh.
In a letter sent this week to Historic Scotland’s acting chief executive, Ian Walford, transport leader Cllr Hinds wrote: “Staff at Services for Communities would be happy to support Historic Scotland in the development for proposals for a 20mph speed limit throughout Holyrood Park.”
New speed bumps are also to be installed in Duddingston Village – through which around 7000 vehicles pass each day – in an attempt to end congestion problems in the narrow Old Church Lane.
Mrs Crofts said: “There is often complete standstill. The drivers get out their cars and scream at each other.”
A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: “We will be reviewing Holyrood Park’s management plan and will take into consideration the results of the council’s pilot study.”