Edinburgh's Dalmahoy junction: Go-ahead for major upgrade at notorious accident blackspot
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The move by the city council's transport committee reverses a decision last year to scale back promised improvements by installing pedestrian crossing instead of a fully signalised junction. The junction on the A71 includes the turning into the Dalmahoy hotel and country club where US president Joe Biden stayed during at year's COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
The community have been calling for traffic lights at the notorious accident blackspot for 36 years. The committee gave the go-ahead for the £1.55 million project – but they haven't yet decided where the money is coming from. A report by officials said £750,000 could come from the 2023/24 Scottish Government Cycling Walking Safer Routes fund, but the SNP and the Greens argued money should not be taken from a budget set aside for active travel and it was agreed further consideration would be given to the source of the funding without holding up the project.
Stephen Jenkinson, Labour councillor for Pentland Hills, which includes Dalmahoy, pointed out there were important active travel elements to the scheme. "It's creating pavements and a proper bus stop and a way for pedestrians to cross a dangerous and busy road." And he welcomed the full upgrade for the junction. There have been an incredible number of near misses, continual accidents and there's a general sense of unease as you approach."
After the meeting, Judy Wightman, chair of Ratho and District Community Council, said: "We're delighted they're going to do it. It's great. It will be a huge help. Now traffic is coming back to normal after Covid the road is being used a lot more. We have letters from the community council asking for traffic lights at this junction going back to 1986. We'll be so pleased when the work finally starts."
And Graeme Bruce, Tory councillor for the area, said: "I’ve been campaigning for this since I was first elected back in 2017. I was extremely disappointed last year when the SNP-led administration decided to stick their fingers in their ears and reject the improvements required to make this junction safer for all pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic and instead implement the most expensive pedestrian crossing you’re ever likely to see.
"However, I bided my time and when I discovered that the SNP had failed to even act on their own woefully inadequate plan, the opportunity arose to contact my newly elected ward colleague Cllr Jenkinson to explain the merits of a fully signalised junction, take the common-sense approach and reverse the decision of the previous year. Safety is key for all road users including pedestrians. After all, we don’t have the resources and clout of a US President to stop all traffic while we try and negotiate this intersection safely."