Edinburgh roads: Campaigners form human shield against drivers flouting rules at 'lawless' Leith Walk junction
People form human chain in a protest against “staggering entitlement” of drivers breaching no-left turn at Edinburgh junction
Edinburgh residents and councillors formed a human shield at the “lawless” junction of Leith Walk and London Road to stop cars breaching the no-left turn signs and driving illegally into pedestrian crossing. In shocking video footage one driver is caught on camera blaring the horn and pushing at the group before reversing and driving around them.
Responding to the video one local said: “The sense of motorists' entitlement on this illegal left turn is staggering and a danger to the public.”
It comes after a man was struck by a car in a hit and run on Monday evening (December 19) at the junction. Despite nine no left-turn signs, vehicles have been filmed illegally travelling through a pedestrian crossing.
Edward Tissiman who has nearly been hit at the junction gathered on Wednesday along with Councillor Susan Rae and locals. The 28-year-old previously shared footage of cars flouting the rules, which has had more than 317,000 views. He has been pushing the council for a month to make the junction safe.
Campaigners estimate hundreds of motorists have flouted the law by turning left at the junction since the rules were changed over a month ago. TV and radio host Jeremy Vine, who is a keen cyclist, has backed concerns about the junction branding the situation as "completely lawless and ridiculous".
Mr Tissiman said: “There has already been at least two collisions. All the council has done so far is put up three bollards. One has already been hit and knocked away by a driver. I think they'll need to reintroduce the left turn and compensate with really long pedestrian phases. I walk to work every day and it takes forever to get a green man anyway, even with this system. You have pedestrians queuing up.”
He has reinstated one of three bollards put up by the council, after it was hit and knocked down by a car.
‘We are being asked to play Russian roulette’
The council is under mounting pressure to rethink the road design and reopen the left-turn. Officials said following an emergency meeting they are making changes at the junction. A pavement will be built up temporarily to the left of citybound traffic at the London Road junction in a bid to deter left-hand turns.
But some campaigners have said the development should be halted and an independent safety audit carried out.
Sandy Taylor, chairman of National Federation of the Blind UK (Scotland) told the Evening News: "I use a long cane so if I want to cross the road there should be a tactile tail from a controlled crossing over to buildings. But at this junction we are being asked to play Russian roulette by crossing a two-way cycle lane.
"There’s no delineation between pavement and cycle lane. It’s impossible for people with visual impairment andmany other disabilities to cross here. And the floating bus stops are no good, in other countries they have been deemed a breach of equality and human rights. The layout makes it difficult for the majority of pedestrians. The development should be stopped until a proper, independent survey can be carried out to make this junction safe and accessible for the majority and pedestrians with disabilities.”
Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “The changes to the road layout at the London Road junction are designed to improve public transport efficiency and protect pedestrians. These improvements are clearly signed, with seven signs in place on approach. Anyone contravening the rules is breaking the law, as well as endangering the safety of themselves and other road users. Ignoring the ban on left hand turns is extremely selfish, and I would urge drivers to take heed of the changes and follow alternative routes.
“I visited the junction on Sunday to observe driver behaviour, and yesterday the Police, the Council and the Trams to Newhaven team considered the issue. They continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis and are in the process of installing changes to the junction to make breaking the ban harder. They will also optimise the operation of the traffic lights at Picardy Place so that the time to get around the junction and turn right into London Road is as efficient as possible. We will continue dialogue with Police Scotland.”