Edinburgh traffic jams: TV commentator Dougie Donnelly calls offside on traffic hold-ups

Veteran broadcaster Dougie Donnelly has slammed extra time on capital’s roads, amid mounting frustrations about congestion.

By Jolene Campbell
Monday, 6th December 2021, 7:31 am

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The well-known sports broadcaster vented his frustration over the state of traffic in a tweet:

"Always enjoy presenting HibsTV but I’ll never complain about Glasgow traffic again! How do drivers in #Edinburgh ever get anywhere?

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Sports broadcasting legend Dougie Donnelly was caught in Edinburgh's worsening congestion.

Motorists backed the concerns over traffic levels branding blocks a “nightmare” with some reporting journeys that should take 15 minutes instead dragging out to an hour or more.

In the city centre, traffic on North Bridge has been reduced to one lane southbound from 13 November for up to nine months to to allow for essential works as part of the North Bridge refurbishment project.

It comes after the Evening News reported anger and frustration at delays and congestion across Edinburgh as traffic returned to pre pandemic levels.

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Edinburgh City Council blame two ongoing projects for all the city centre traffic delays.

Roadworks, cycle lanes and other Spaces for People measures are all cited by motorists as causing reduced road space and bottlenecks.

It’s understood the situation has also been worsened by more commuters choosing to bring their car into the city because they are reluctant to use public transport due to covid.

One motorist said: “It's an absolute nightmare. I have to allow about an hour to make a journey that should take fifteen minutes by car. And at that it's touch and go. The city centre and around the top of Leith Walk are especially bad. You can be sitting at those temporary traffic lights top of the Walk for 20 minutes or more with just one or two vehicles getting through when the lights change. It’s incredibly stressful when you need to be somewhere on time, like picking up the kids from school. And getting a bus takes even longer, so what's the point.”

A bus driver told the Evening News: “I am fed up and I know a lot of the drivers are exhausted because of delays. Public transport doesn't seem to be considered in all the decisions about works and road closures. Most of the time I’m running about 45 minutes late. I have never seen traffic in this state, buses are seriously hampered. It’s clear the council wants to make the city centre car free but this is just not on.”

Lothians MSP Miles Briggs said: “Increasingly the Capital is grinding to a halt with motorists and cyclists having to nagivate all the tram-works, roadworks, gas works, blocks and restrictions. The city council don’t seem to have any joined up traffic management system in place with regards to when works will take place with what seems to be a free for all to dig up the roads.

"Anyone who drives in the city will be acutely aware of the growing levels of congestion. In other parts of the UK, councils have taken action to speed up projects with councils and utilities working together to get roads reopened earlier.”

Recent figures from Transport Scotland showed car journeys back at pre-pandemic levels, and both rail journeys and concessionary bus journeys down.

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “We currently have two very large scale transport infrastructure projects ongoing on North Bridge and the Trams to Newhaven project which are causing delays in the city centre.

“We are doing everything we can to mitigate their impact with one example being the redeployment of traffic signalling staff to the Lothian control centre in Annandale Street so they can take immediate actions where there is a build up of traffic at busy junctions.

“We would urge everyone to use our excellent public transport links, which provide alternatives to people using their vehicles and increasing congestion in the city, or travel actively by walking or cycling if they possibly can. This will not only alleviate congestion but deliver on our environmental priorities of improving air quality and driving down carbon emissions.

“Our City Mobility Plan focuses on significantly improving public transport choices and active travel infrastructure over the next ten years. We want to encourage a change in public behaviour towards the use of sustainable transport, the expansion of the tram and mass rapid transit network, improvements to bus routes, creating ‘mobility hubs’ in existing communities and new developments and introducing a city operations centre to monitor traffic. Additionally, the Plan pledges to create more liveable places less dominated by motor traffic and to build on the city’s network of walking, wheeling and cycling routes.

“Our vision is for a truly integrated, accessible and reliable public transport system fit for a growing population, and we’re committed to delivering a range of measures to achieve this.”

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