Edinburgh roads: Junction improvements at Portobello accident blackspot will mean longer rush hour journeys
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Safety improvements at a Portobello accident blackspot will add an average two to three minutes’ delay for traffic at peak times.
Two cyclists have died in crashes involving HGVs at the junction of Portobello High Street, Inchview Terrace and Sir Harry Lauder Road in 2019 and 2020. Temporary measures, including a ban on lorries turning left, were put in place in 2022. But now roads chiefs say too many lorries are going past the Royal High Primary School on Northfield Broadway and they want to move to a longer-term arrangement.
They propose a segregated cycle route between Portobello High Street and Inchview Terrace, with single-stage pedestrian crossings to make the junction safer for pedestrians and cyclists. But that means reducing the number of traffic lanes from five to four, with a consequent increase in the time taken for vehicles to get through the junction.
Transport convener Scott Arthur said: “The feeling is that In the past the junction has been designed to maximise traffic capacity at the expense of pedestrian access and cyclist safety. We're rebalancing pedestrian and cycle safety against capacity, so we expect it will take longer to get through the junction. A few minutes’ delay at the junction is the price we have to pay for additional safety – and it’s not just the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, it’s also the safety of people in cars and other vehicles because they're involved in accidents there too.”
He said the changes were a “more permanent but not final” solution to the situation at the junction. “The interim measures have resulted in more HGVs than we would like passing the Royal High Primary School, so it's important we move on from those interim measures to further improve safety and stop the HGVs going past the school. We’re trying to bake in some of the safety improvements we've got already and take them further.
“Fundamentally we’re looking at single-stage crossings for all arms of the junction, which means pedestrians will be able to cross in one green man rather than two – that should improve the safety of pedestrians and also cyclists because they go with the pedestrian phases, by and large. The downside is it will take longer to get through the junction – it will mean two to three minutes extra at peak times.”
He said buses would be having to wait longer along with other traffic. But he said: “Officers will look at this again to see what we can do, close to the junction, to give more priority to public transport so they’re not faced with the same delays as other vehicles.”