Councillor demands crackdown on ‘appalling and dangerous’ parking in Portobello
A councillor has demanded a crackdown on ‘appalling and dangerous’ parking in Portobello, after streets and pavements near the beach were ‘overrun’ with cars during the heatwave.
Local residents were left fuming at the weekend after back-to-back queues of cars were parked on yellow lines, blocking pavements and front doors of homes on Straiton Place.
Crowds flocked to the popular beauty spot during the heatwave on Monday causing a surge in demand for parking near the promenade which has sparked safety fears.
Councillor Kate Campbell said parking got so bad that vehicles were forced to drive around each other on pavements.
Cars were crammed in all the way down streets near the beach and right to the bottom of Kings Road with worried locals posting photos on social media warning that it was impossible for vehicles to turn.
Lorries were spotted reversing all the way up the road and emergency vehicles were struggling to gain access, it was claimed.
The problems continued on Tuesday afternoon as local group Spokes Porty urged visitors not to come by car and warning the area is ‘overrun by illegally parked vehicles causing a danger to life.’
Portobello is one of the capital’s busiest spots during the summer with locals and tourists.
Since the start of the pandemic and restrictions on travel during lockdowns, visitor numbers have soared at weekends and on hot days.
But parking problems spiralled over the weekend and continued into Tuesday with reports of coaches parked on streets blocking off front doors to homes.
Councillor Campbell requested additional parking enforcement last week, ahead of the heatwave forecast and was assured this would be arranged.
Now the SNP councillor has written to transport convener Scott Arthur describing the current situation as ‘unacceptable’ and a blight on the lives of residents.
Ms Campbell said: “The parking on streets near the beach is horrendous. It has always been an issue but since lockdown visitors have gone up significantly and no infrastructure is in place to cope with it. I’ve been contacted by people fed up with cars parking along pavements and forcing pedestrians onto roads. Streets near the shore have been mobbed with cars as drivers want to park near the beach. It gets so bad cars end up driving round each other on pavements.
"Some people told me they won’t let their kids leave the tenement stair. It’s very dangerous.
"I was assured enforcement would be increased. But this morning I had to call a coach company after a bus parked right up on the pavement cutting off many people’s access to their tenement flats.
"We need to see people being fined to make them think twice. But to properly deal with this problem in the long run, the council needs to work with the local community to look at options whether it’s one way streets or controlled parking zones. I hope we will also see more intervention from the police, where cars or other vehicles are parked dangerously.
"It has been going on a while now and has to be addressed. It is making travelling on these streets by walking or wheeling dangerous, and it is now impacting on residents’ safety in their homes."
Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said: “There is no doubt the sunny weather we’ve seen this week leads to lots of people flocking to our parks, and beauty spots like the Pentland Hills and Portobello. It’s great that so many people want to enjoy all that’s on offer, but the influx of visitors can, of course, put pressure on areas like this.
“I want to minimize disruption to residents and keep our roads and pavements safe. In Portobello specifically, I have asked the Council to undertake extra visits to deter inconsiderate and dangerous parking. Unfortunately, many of the streets there are unrestricted so the Council can’t carry out enforcement, but I would urge people to report any irresponsible driving to the police. The case for the much-awaited pavement parking ban has never been stronger.
“This weather, and the boost in people out enjoying the sun, can put an extra strain on our services which are delivered within limited resources, and we also must rely on the public to take responsibility by disposing of litter at the next available bin, taking care with BBQs and, of course, parking and driving safely – or ideally consider taking the bus, walking or cycling to the park or beach if possible. That way we can all enjoy our summer together.
“Lastly, I would like to thank the waste, parks and traffic teams for all the work they are doing to keep us safe throughout the heatwave. Their job is difficult all year round, but this heat makes it far more difficult. In the coming months I hope to consider carefully any mismatch between the resources available to these teams, and public expectations of service delivery. This must, however, be done within the anticipated Scottish Government cut to Edinburgh’s budget.”