Edinburgh road is the ‘worst commute in Britain’

Congestion on Saint John's Road. Picture: Joey Kelly
Congestion on Saint John's Road. Picture: Joey Kelly
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TRAFFIC snarl-ups on the busy A8 through Corstorphine are only going to get worse, politicians warned today, after the road was named the most congested in the UK outside London.

A study claimed that drivers using a 5.3-mile stretch of the road between Princes Street and Maybury Road were wasting 43 hours a year in gridlock.

Adding more development out to the west is only going to make congestion worse.

Paul Edie

The annual “scorecard” produced by global traffic analyst Inrix, using satellite and GPS tracking, identified the afternoon rush hour as the worst time for traffic on the route as motorists headed home after work.

And Tuesday at 5pm was specified as the peak of the congestion.

Corstorphine Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Edie said controversial plans for major housing developments in the west of the city would mean yet more commuter traffic pouring on to the A8 – which comprises Corstorphine Road, St John’s Road and Glasgow Road.

Cllr Edie said: “About a quarter of the city’s workforce comes from West Lothian and Fife and they pile in along the Glasgow Road and Queensferry Road.

“Adding more development out to the west is only going to make congestion worse.

“We’ve got a green belt for a reason and we give it up at our peril.”

Leader comment: We must build close to tram and rail lines

He said development would be better focused to the south-east of the Capital which did not have the same problems.

And he warned plans for a cycle lane between Roseburn and Haymarket could also worsen congestion.

Cllr Edie said: “I have a concern the proposed two-lane cycle route, where they want to rip out the bus lane, is not going to help.

“Buses guarantee easy access into the city centre along what is a very congested route.

“This is one of the most important bus routes in and out of the city.

“Removing the bus lane would be a retrograde step and I don’t know what transport officials are thinking about in suggesting that.”

Transport convener Cllr Lesley Hinds said: “We are committed to reducing congestion in Edinburgh and are constantly looking into ways of reducing the number of cars on our roads. Our excellent public transport network plays a key role in doing this, and both Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams services, which serve the area in question, continue to see passenger numbers increase.

“Our approach to active travel also aims to promote cycling and walking as alternative modes of transport, with an annual one per cent increase in spending on cycling infrastructure.

“We are in the process of designing a European-style off-road cycle lane from the east to the west of the city, which would open this route up to new and less confident cyclists. In addition, we fully support car sharing and car club schemes, and will carry on working with promoters to expand these.”

In response to criticism over the proposed removal of the bus lane at Roseburn, Cllr Hinds said it was still out to consultation but questions about sharing road space were a key issue.

And she also challenged the Inrix findings.

She said: “In Edinburgh, an increasing number of people are using sustainable methods of transport to get to work and around the city, so I would question the reliability of these figures and would be interested to see the evidence behind them published.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com