Spaces for People: Edinburgh's Braid Road to reopen southbound from Monday

One of the most controversial road closures ordered under the Spaces for People programme will be partially reversed when Braid Road in Morningside reopens southbound next week – but critics say it does not go far enough and want the traffic ban removed completely.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 7:00 am

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Braid Road was one of the first Spaces for People schemes to be implemented in May 2020 to help cyclists and pedestrians get safely to and from the Hermitage of Braid while physically distancing.

But residents claimed it led to frequent traffic jams on Comiston Road and increased pollution outside Morningside Primary School from stationary cars with their engines idling, as well as more vehicles diverting along residential streets.

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Braid Road was one of the first roads to be closed under the Spaces for People programme Pic: Lisa Ferguson

Now, as part of a redesigned layout, the council says it will reopen one-way for southbound traffic on Monday and segregated cycleways will be installed following approval by the transport and environment committee in January.There will also be traffic calming measures around Midmar Drive to protect the Meadows to Greenbank Quiet Route, including no entry onto Braid Crescent from Comiston Road and “diagonal filters” at the junction of Braid Road and Hermitage Drive, the junction of Hermitage Gardens and Cluny Drive and the junction of Braid Avenue and Cluny Drive, intended to remove through-traffic from the affected streets.

Transport vice-convener Karen Doran said: “We first introduced the closure of Braid Road to help people exercise and travel safely by foot, bike or wheelchair back in the early days of lockdown, when walking and cycling surged.

“We’ve had some great feedback from the many families and individuals who have enjoyed using the route since then, but we’re also aware that, as traffic levels begin to rise, there has been an impact on neighbouring streets.

“Thanks to our ‘try then modify’ approach, we’ve been able to tweak the design, as well as introducing traffic-calming measures on nearby streets, helping to alleviate pressure on surrounding areas while also continuing to provide a protected space for all those walking, cycling and wheeling here.”

The council said workshops with local stakeholders, involving ward councillors, community councils, the emergency services and others had resulted in further tweaks to the scheme.

Additional changes include retaining two-way traffic on Braid Road between Braid Hills Drive and the main entrance to the Braid Hills Hotel, closing the southbound slip road between Braid Road and Hermitage Drive to discourage southbound journeys from the Morningside clock, and pavement-widening at the south-east side of the junction of Braid Road and Hermitage Drive.

And it said once implemented, the changes would be closely monitored and amendments made where necessary.

But Tory councillor Jason Rust said the new scheme did not go far enough.

He said: “There was no justification for the continued closure of Braid Road. However, I remain of the view that it should be fully re-opened in both directions, which would offer significant relief from the morning congestion on Comiston Road and mean less need for side streets to be used and avoid unnecessary turns for traffic at the foot of Braid Hills Road and Drive.

"I fear that the current plan will result in continuedcongestion, confusion, more street clutter and impact on residential streets. The Council should also have fully consulted with local residents who need to live with the impact of the council decision.”

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