Fall in satisfaction levels on Edinburgh’s road maintenance

THE state of Edinburgh’s roads has been given a clear thumbs down in the latest survey of residents’ views with a definite dip in satisfaction levels.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 6:00 am

After bumping along between 48 and 51 per cent for the previous four years, satisfaction with road maintenance has now fallen to 42 per cent across the city as a whole.

And satisfaction with pavement maintenance, after three years at 53 per cent, has now dropped to 47 per cent city-wide, according to the city council’s Edinburgh People Survey (EPS).

But views were uneven in different parts of the Capital, with Corstorphine/Murrayfield emerging as the area with the lowest satisfaction rate for both roads and pavements. Just 24 per cent were happy with the state of the roads and 31 per cent with the pavements.

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Almond ward, which includes South Queensferry and Kirkliston, and Drumbrae/Gyle had the next lowest satisfaction levels.

Steve Kerr, chair of Corstorphine Community Council, said people were “desperately frustrated” about road maintenance in the area.

He said: “There has been a lot of activity in terms of road works and replacement of water pipes - and it tends to be done in the classic unco-ordinated fashion so the street is dug up on a fairly regular basis and the level of repair means people are coming back again.

“The general level of satisfaction with road repairs and traffic management is very poor.”

And Corstorphine/Murrayfield Tory councillor Scott Douglas said he was not surprised there was so much dissatisfaction with the state of roads and pavements.

“For years they have been deteriorating with little or no action taken to deliver long lasting repairs,” he said.

“It’s frankly an embarrassment that a city such as Edinburgh should have infrastructure in this poor state.”

However, Portobello/Craigmillar ward recorded 56 per cent satisfaction with road maintenance and 65 per cent with the pavements. Leith and City Centre wards were also more impressed than other parts of the city.

Satisfaction with street lighting was much higher, averaging 83 per cent city-wide with Leith Walk (91 per cent) and Colinton/Fairmilehead (90 per cent) the top two wards while Pentland Hills (72 per cent and Sighthill/Gorgie (75 per cent) were least happy.

Buses emerged from the survey as Edinburgh’s most popular mode of transport with 72 per cent saying they had used the bus to get around the city in the past month. Some 53 per cent said the same of walking, 41 per cent said they had driven a car or van, another 18 per cent said they had been a car or van passenger while 15 per cent had taken a taxi, 10 per cent a train and nine per cent each the tram or cycled.

Bus use was highest amongst retired people (83 per cent), the oldest and youngest age groups (79 per cent of over-65s and 81 per cent of 16-24s), students (81 per cent), unemployed people (80 per cent), people with a health problem or disability (78 per cent), ethnic minorities and non-UK citizens (78 per cent) and women (77 per cent).

Thirty per cent said they used public transport to travel to the city centre most days and another 28 per cent at least once a week.

Use of public transport for travel to the city centre was higher for students (38 per cent), those aged 16-24 (37 per cent) and women (33 per cent).

An impressive 88 per cent of people across the city were satisfied with public transport. Leith was the most satisfied at 94 per cent, with Morningside, City Centre, Leith Walk and Southside/Newington all on 92 per cent.

Least satisfied was Almond where just 69 per cent were happy.

Almond Lib Dem councillor Kevin Lang said people felt they were not getting a fair deal when it came to transport.”

“Two years ago the administration gave a commitment to improve public transport in rural west Edinburgh, but in parts of my ward it has got worse. We’ve lost a connection fromQueensferry to St John’s Hospital, buses that went through Newbridge village no longer do so and we still don’t have a Lothian Buses service from Kirkliston to the city centre.”

Terry Airlie, secretary of Queensferry and District Community Council, said he thought most gripes about public transport were focused on the trains rather than the buses. “There are more issues with the trains - the problem is by the time they get to Dalmeny people can’t get on because they’re so full.”

Asked about public transport to and within the city centre, some 93 per cent of people across the city said they were satisfied.

But the level of satisfaction varied according to where people lived. Those in the south-west or north-west of the city were less likely to be satisfied (91 per cent) than those in the north-east (94 per cent) and south-east (96 per cent).

The survey also found 51 per cent of cyclists felt safe using roads in Edinburgh - up from 47 per cent in 2017, but not as high as the 53 per cent recorded in 2016. Some 48 per cent said they felt unsafe.

The 16-24 age group were the most likely to say they felt safe - 68 per cent compared to 38 per cent for those aged 45-64.

Men were also more likely to say they felt safe (58 per cent) than women (38 per cent).

And 64 per cent of cyclists said they were satisfied with maintenance of off-road cycle paths, while 18 per cent were dissatisfied.

Those most likely to be satisfied with the maintenance of cycle paths were those in full time employment (68 per cent). The 45-64 age group had higher than average rates of dissatisfaction with cycle path maintenance (23 per cent), compared to 10 per cent dissatisfaction for those aged 16-24.

TOMORROW: Views on bin collections, recycling and dog fouling.