Edinburgh's most dangerous road junctions named as council plans major safety upgrades
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Edinburgh’s ten most dangerous road junctions have been named by the city council as it plans major safety improvements.
Top of the list is the West End of Princes Street where it meets Lothian Road – the spot where cyclist Zhi Min Soh, a 23-year-old medical student, died after her wheel became stuck in the tracks and she was hit by a minibus in June 2017.
Tollcross is the second most dangerous and Haymarket junction the third, according to the council’s calculations, which took into account not just casualties but also traffic volumes, pedestrian and cyclist numbers, traffic speed, pedestrian waiting times and proximity to schools, among other criteria.
Other junctions which made the top ten include the East End of Princes Street, the Milton Link junction in Portobello, Holy Corner in Morningside, Crewe Toll roundabout, St Mary’s Street and the Royal Mile, King’s Road in Portobello and the Maybury junction.
A report to the council’s transport committee on the Capital’s “major junctions review” sets out a prioritised list of 40 junctions across the city where short-term early measures could be introduced to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists. But it also identifies the ten mos dangerous junctions for more substantive, longer-term upgrades.
Transport convener Scott Arthur said: “It's quite incredible that the most dangerous junction is right at the heart of the city centre. It makes you realise this work is long overdue, that we've found this acceptable for so long. So it's right we revisit it.” He said that despite the tragic 2017 accident there was little for the public to see that had been done to improve safety at the West End. “This report shows we're going to start seeing change here in the coming years.”
Work is already under way to design upgrades at some of the top ten junctions in need of safety improvements, including the King’s Road junction in Portobello and the Maybury junction.
Cllr Arthur said: “The junctions review looks right across the city at major junctions and then we ranked them in terms of the ones we perceive to be the most dangerous. The top ten will get taken forward for further design work, but for all the junctions we've got a list of easy interventions we can make, which are low-cost and relatively easy to implement.” These include reviewing signal phasing at pedestrian crossings, widening footways and improving road markings.
Cllr Arthur said: “A lot of the challenges with these junctions is that in the past they have been designed to maximise vehicle movement through them. You don’t have to spend long at the West End of Princes Street to realise that junction is perhaps not designed for pedestrians in what is probably a pedestrian-dominated area. So this is about making sure pedestrians and also cyclists are better protected as they go through these junctions, creating more space and time for them.”
Asked what it would mean for motorists, he said: “The aim is to make it safer for everyone. And baked into our plans now is this notion that by 2030 we are going to reduce traffic volumes by 30 per cent. A lot of these junctions are in central Edinburgh, where we want to reduce the number of vehicles generally. Hopefully it's not going to mean increased delays for traffic because some of these drivers will use other modes of transport in the future.
“We have to stop pretending that we can do everything at a junction and focus on maximising the performance of the junction in terms of the number of people, goods and services we can get through it – but that has to include people on public transport and people who are walking as well. It's not just about maximising the number of cars, it's about getting the balance right between it all.” Cllr Arthur said all the projects would be subject to consultation.
The next stage is for the council to apply for funding for design and development work, but the Scottish Government is expected to announce significant new funding for active travel projects soon, so officials are optimistic the council will receive a share of that.
Edinburgh’s ten most dangerous road junctions
- West End – Princes Street, Lothian Road, South Charlotte Street, Shandwick Place, Queensferry Street and Hope Street
Tollcross – Earl Grey Street, Lauriston Place, Brougham Street, Home Street and West Tollcross.
Haymarket Junction – Morrison Street, Dalry Road, Haymarket Terrace and West Maitland Street.
East End – Princes Street , North Bridge, Waterloo Place and Leith Street.
Milton Link Junction – Milton Road, Sir Harry Lauder Road, Milton Road East and the Milton Link.
Holy Corner – Morningside Road, Colinton Road, Bruntsfield Place and Chamberlain Road.
Crewe Toll Roundabout – Ferry Road, Crewe Road North and South and Telford Road.
St Mary's Street – Pleasance, Cowgate, St Mary's Street and Holyrood Road.
King's Road Junction – King’s Road, Sir Harry Lauder Road, Seafield Road East, Portobello High Street and Inchview Terrace.
Maybury Junction – Glasgow Road, Maybury Road and Turnhouse Road.