Edinburgh could trial low-cost zebra crossings in city side streets to improve pedestrian safety

Low-cost zebra crossings could be trialled in Edinburgh side streets to help improve safety for pedestrians.

By Ian Swanson
Monday, 29th November 2021, 4:55 am

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The crossings, which involve zebra markings but no Belisha beacons, have been tested in a pilot study in Greater Manchester which found with the crossings 70 per cent of drivers stopped for people waiting to cross the road, compared with 40 per cent who stopped without them.

And they are said typically to cost around £1,000 each compared to the £40,000 bill for a crossing with Belisha beacons.

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Zebra markings without Belisha beacons are already used on protected cycle tracks as well as at airports and supermarket car parks. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

The proposal was put to the full council by Lib Dem councillor Neil Ross, who said such crossings were backed by a wide range of organisations including Living Streets, British Cycling, Guide Dogs, the Campaign for Better Transport, The Ramblers, Sustrans and Playing Out as well as motoring body the AA.

He said they were common overseas and at airports and supermarket car parks and were are already authorised for use on protected cycle tracks

"Side-road zebras could make crossing safer – they could slow traffic down, encourage more walking and they come at a fraction of the price of a whole zebra crossing.

"The prospect of safer walking to school could encourage more parents to switch from the car to walking their children to school.”

Strong support for the move was expressed in written submissions from parents at three city primary schools.

Bruntsfield Parent Council and Forum said: “Feedback from our parents and carers makes clear that prioritising pedestrians is an essential element in enabling our school community to feel safe in walking to and from school and being able to participate fully in our bustling neighbourhood. This initiative could make a real difference, so we urge the council to proceed with a trial as soon as possible.”

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South Morningside Parent Council said it also believed the crossings would make a real difference.

“A large proportion of our pupils already walk, scoot or cycle to school but sadly we frequently hear stories of near misses and parents report that they constantly have to be on high alert at side streets to ensure that accidents are avoided as many drivers are unwilling to give way even when they’re already crossing.

“While not a solution to all the issues we see, we believe that painted zebra markings would be an excellent addition to the measures that allow safe travel to school.”

And Stockbridge Primary Parent Council said it was a cost-effective initiative which would “go some way to improving the safety of our pupils”.

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes welcomed the proposal but said it would need permission from Transport Scotland, which would take time.

A further report is expected to be presented to the transport committee in March.

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