Edinburgh Council consider traffic ban on busy Viewforth Bridge

A busy route past the city's newest high school could be closed to traffic over fears pupils are not being kept safe.

Thursday, 20th September 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 20th September 2018, 9:36 am

This Monday the city council’s South East Locality Committee will discuss safety concerns at Viewforth Bridge, a busy approach to Boroughmuir High School.

Council officers, councillors and members of the school’s parent council visited the bridge last month during the early morning rush hour. Those on the site visit saw “cyclists mounting the 
foot-way to bypass the red phase of signals” as well as a “small proportion of vehicles jumping the red lights”and a “small proportion of students cross the road not using controlled or designated crossing points”.

A report to councillors adds: “Although not observed, it was raised that vehicles accelerate so they are able to get through the green phase at the bridge signals.”

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Hundreds of cars travel over the busy bridge every day. Picture: Neil Hanna

The committee will consider measures to investigate the concerns which could see additional signage put up or traffic calming measures put in place following surveys. In the long-term, the council could consider shutting the bridge to traffic during the school rush hours or permanently.

The report adds: “For either of these options a traffic modelling exercise would be required to be carried out by external parties to determine the impact on the surrounding network.

“This is estimated to cost in the region of £20,000 to £40,000. Any closures are likely to require accommodation works on either side of the road to improve turning areas.”

Opposition councillors have welcomed measures to improve safety along Viewforth Bridge.

Green Cllr Melanie Main said: “Many families connected to the school and residents at the bottom end of Viewforth signed the original petition because they could see, and literally do see from their windows daily, the problems caused by having a narrow through road with a blind humped bridge, and over a thousand young people 
crossing the bridge to come to and from school.

“That is why I believe that closing the bridge to through traffic should remain very much on the table. The short term measures outlined in the report may help but with the school roll predicted to grow by about a quarter, the basic problem remains.

“That is why it is also right to do the detailed modelling of the impact on nearby streets coupled with real efforts to reduce overall traffic volumes seeking to use residential streets as through routes.”

Conservative transport spokesman and ward Cllr Nick Cook, said any overhaul would need the support of residents.

He said: “The safety of kids is paramount on their way to school.

“It’s right that the council consider measures for safety along this route. However, it is essential that any future measures, including a potential ban on traffic, has the authority and consideration of the local community.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The South East Locality Committee will consider a report on this issue on Monday and decide whether or not to approve the recommendation for traffic counts and speed surveys to be carried out at this location.”