Edinburgh roads: Parents at Davidson's Mains Primary School want speedier action to improve safety

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Parents are calling for road improvements near an Edinburgh primary school to be speeded up amid concern over their children's safety.

It comes after a child from Davidson's Mains Primary School was hit by a car and taken to hospital on the same day that 11-year-old Thomas Wong was killed in a collision with a bin lorry as he cycled to Cramond Primary School.  

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The Davidson's Mains parents held a public meeting, attended by council transport convener Scott Arthur along with a senior official, on Thursday evening, and voiced frustration at the slow pace of progress on planned action.

Kim Pratt, vice chair of the school's parent council, said: “Parents are deeply concerned that our children are forced to navigate dangerous roads to and from school every day because Edinburgh Council are dragging their feet to improve road safety. At the rate that Edinburgh council is acting, our children are growing up and leaving school before the surrounding roads are made safe. 

“The council has the power to make our roads safer and they must act faster and more decisively to protect our children travelling to and from school, not just in Davidson’s Mains, but across all of Edinburgh.” 

She said a survey of parents had established three priorities for action - changes to the roundabout at the west end of Main Street where there was a fatal accident in 2017; action over a crossing with narrow pavements which is used by hundreds of children every day; and lights or flashing signs outside the school to alert motorists to the fact it is there.

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Ms Pratt said: “We're just off Queensferry Road, which is a 40mph limit at the moment, so cars come tearing down the road and they don't even notice there is a school.”

Felicity Neyme, of the Davidson’s Mains School road safety team said: "As a parent, seeing Edinburgh strive for net zero by 2030 fills me with hope. But that future can't be achieved without clean air and safe streets for our children. That's why it is important that parent councils collaborate with local leaders. 

“Together, we can work to deliver tangible goals like improved pedestrian crossings and a reduction in car dependency around schools. This is about protecting our kids on their journey to school but it's also about creating a healthier, more sustainable future for all of Edinburgh, aligned with the city's inspiring net zero vision.”

And Rod Alexander, of the Davidson’s Mains and Silverknowes Association, said the association was fully behind the parents. He said: “We are concerned that the planned upgrade to the roundabout and crossings have still not been completed a full seven years after a fatal accident on one of the crossings, and believe that priority should also be given to upgrading the crossing on Main Street at Silverknowes Road.

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“We want to ensure priority is given to these and other projects to improve pupil safety, particularly recognising that children are being encouraged to walk and cycle to school to reduce car use.”

Cllr Arthur said the council had already improved the lighting and paths through the Barnton Park estate, a key route to the school; it was looking at increasing parking enforcement around the school; and it had agreed to look again at the changes planned for the roundabout. A widened footpath outside the school was due to be made permanent; the junction of Corbiehill Road with Main Street had been narrowed; more double yellow lines and loading restrictions were being added in the area; permanent closure of Silverknowes Road South was being considered; and the speed limit on Queensferry Road would be cut to 30mph by the end of the year.

He said: “The parents at Davidson's Mains are showing amazing leadership in promoting road safety for the children attending the school.  In parallel to the changes the council has already agreed for the area, which will improve road safety, we're absolutely open to looking at what ame forward from the parents at the meeting. 

“This will include hopefully progressing easy options sooner rather than later, so looking at further widening footpaths, improving signage. I think its right we look carefully at the Davidson's Mains roundabout design to make sure it meets the needs of the local community and reflects the concerns raised at the meeting."

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