‘It's very dangerous..an accident waiting to happen’ - locals criticise new Edinburgh road layout
New traffic measures in Longstone, including a floating parking bay that forced traffic into the middle of the road, have been decried as an ‘accident waiting to happen’ by concerned residents.
Edinburgh City Council has recently installed new Spaces for People traffic measures on Longstone Road, between Kingsknowe Road north and the Murrayburn Road roundabout, which includes a new cycle lane heading east and parking bays which jut out into the carriageway.
Traffic islands are situated near the floating parking bays, causing vehicles to chichane as they travel along Longstone Road.
Local resident Thomas Porteous, 72, of Redhall, has been driving professionally since he was 17 years old - he says he has ‘never seen anything like this… even in third world countries’.
Mr Porteous said: “All of a sudden, there’s a car parked in the middle of the road, so you have to swerve right, to avoid it, and basically, if there’s a bus parked at the bus stop, you’re coming into the flow of traffic coming from the other direction - it’s very dangerous.
“I’ve been a professional driver all my days, in the Army and on the roads - and how they are getting away with this, I have no idea.
“I’ve driven all over the world, even in third world countries I’ve never seen anything like this.
“It’s unbelievable - it’s an accident waiting to happen.”
The road is also home to Lothian Buses’ Longstone Depot, which many bus drivers must travel to in order to begin their shift.
Pentland Hills councillor Susan Webber, and transport spokesperson for the council’s Conservative group, said: “I made it quite clear to the council that I have concerns regarding these measures and the proximity of the Lothian Bus Depot at Longstone, for a number of reasons.
“Firstly, you have the challenges it’s going to place for the Lothian buses getting in, and two, getting along Longstone Road to access the depot.
“The road layout is just shocking. Further, they’re narrowing the roundabout to one lane, which will also make it a challenge for buses getting in and out of the depot, and they’ve also removed parking on the streets.
“This is the parking our bus drivers would use to park their cars before getting in their buses to serve the city. You cannot expect them to get public transport to their work, when early on the services aren’t in place yet.
“I was assured that all of these stakeholders would be contacted, but this appears to have come as quite a surprise to the bus drivers.
“With the pressure on Lothians Buses right now, the stresses their drivers are facing right now with the antisocial behaviour, and the anxiety it is causing them and their families - for them to go to work and have to deal with this on top of that - we need to support our public transport provider.”
In response, City Centre councillor and Labour vice convener of the council’s transport committee, Karen Doran, said: “We are still in the process of installing this scheme, and as part of this will be moving the central line to allow more space for cars passing the parking bay.
“We’ll also be reducing the speed limit here to 20mph to create an even safer, calmer environment.
“As part of the development of this measure we’ve followed the notification process approved by committee, as we have with every intervention, and have subsequently worked with local stakeholders to make further amendments to designs based on feedback.
“These changes will create an improved route for pedestrians and cyclists, and the 40% of Edinburgh households who don’t own a car, plus an alternative to the congested Union Canal towpath and Water of Leith walkway, particularly as restrictions are lifted.
“Of course, floating parking spaces may feel unfamiliar to some road users, but they provide more options for the use of space on our streets and are regularly used successfully in many other cities.
“We will continue to monitor the new layout, though, and will tweak this should any issues arise.”
Councillor Webber added: “We’re 12 months on from the initial lockdown, we’re reaching the end of the lockdown phase, and yet we’re continuing to put in measures which are supposed to aid social distancing, when we’ve had 12 months without them.
“This is not the time to be laying down more measures which will ultimately cripple the businesses along there.
“All we’re doing is putting more and more barriers in their way.”
Edinburgh City Council altered part of the new layout before this story was published.