Edinburgh campaigners say pedestrian lives at risk as '50 selfish drivers per day' flout new Leith Walk rule
Newly installed CCTV on Leith Walk has revealed Edinburgh motorists continue to ignore new rules on the road
Recent traffic monitoring on the busy junction of Leith Walk and London Road reveals around 50 drivers per day disobey controversial new rules that were imposed last year.
Turning left from Leith Walk onto London Road was banned on November 12 as part of the newly designed junction following ‘significant traffic monitoring’ that indicated the change would reduce congestion and prevent disruption to timetabling for buses and trams later in the year.
The new layout means motorists must drive past the Playhouse, around the Picardy Place roundabout and back down to turn right onto London road – but many drivers are opting to make an illegal shortcut and drive through a green man to save time.
Following concerns from Leith residents, Councillor Scott Arthur said offenders caught on camera will be reported to the police. Cllr Arthur said: “Pedestrian safety is of utmost importance to us and we’re continuing to work with the police on ways to improve the way this junction operates.
"This includes the installation of CCTV cameras in December to monitor traffic. These cameras show that around 50 selfish drivers per day break the ban. The ban on left-hand turns is clearly signed and we’re in the process of producing additional signage guiding people along the alternative route and highlighting the installation of the CCTV camera.”
‘It’s very selfish’
Local residents and campaigners say drivers continue to flaunt the rule, driving through a green man to make the illegal manoeuvre, reporting numerous near misses and some incidents where pedestrians have been struck by vehicles. Leith resident, Edward Tissiman, who has highlighted the issue to the council for two months, said: “I think there is quite a high chance someone will get hit there eventually.
“Lorries in particular pose a danger because they find it much harder to see people and you’re in the vehicle’s blind spot when you step out. The other thing to bear in mind is that it’s quite a high-speed corner, it’s really wide so cars can take quite a lot of speed when approaching the junction. I appreciate that it is really frustrating for drivers to [use a longer route] but I don’t think that’s an excuse for driving through a green man.”
“I’m quite shocked that despite the fact there’s loads of signs saying no left turn that people are still doing it – it’s very selfish. Regardless of the rationale behind [the new design], the first thing the council need to do is very urgently make sure that pedestrians are safe.”
Mr Tissiman has also pressured the council to replace bollards that were knocked over by cars last year.
Taking to Twitter this week the 28-year old posted: “55 days…No sign of those bollards.” He told the Evening News: “The council promised that permanent bollards would be put in before Christmas on December 22 – but we’re now in January and there’s still nothing there.”
‘I’m scared to cross there now’
Other Twitter users expressed their concerns at the junction that was meant to ‘deliver an improved environment’ for pedestrians and cyclists. One person said ‘A pedestrian is going to get badly injured’ and another added ‘I’m scared to cross there now.’
The council advised ‘more robust’ bollards were put in place but these have also been hit by cars or vandalised. New bollards to deter motorists making the turn onto London Road are expected to be installed by the end of the week.
Cllr Arthur said: “Before Christmas we temporarily built out the pavement to the left of citybound traffic at the London Road junction to deter left-hand turns. We will soon be replacing bollards which have been knocked down with fixed rubber kerbs and will keep monitoring the situation.”
Cllr Arthur added: “Ultimately it’s up to drivers to take responsibility and heed the ban, which is in place to improve public transport efficiency and protect pedestrians and cyclists.”