Edinburgh's Spaces for People: Braid Road will reopen in both directions in November - a year after it was agreed by council

A section of road at the heart of one of Edinburgh’s most controversial Spaces for People schemes is to reopen – a year after councillors agreed to the move.

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

The closure of Braid Road in Morningside has been blamed for an increase in congestion on the parallel Comiston Road and queuing traffic outside South Morningside Primary School, sparking fears about air pollution.

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In November 2021, the council’s transport committee voted to reopen the road in both directions as far as the junction with Hermitage Drive and Braidburn Terrace, while keeping it closed north of there to all except cycles. But they also agreed a toucan crossing should be installed first.

Now transport convener Scott Arthur has revealed the road – currently one-way between the Braid Hills Hotel and the Hermitage Drive/Braidburn Terrace junction – will reopen in both directions from next month.

He tweeted: “Council officers have confirmed that the one-way section of Braid Road will re-open to two-way traffic on 18 November 2022. This should reduce public transport delays on Comiston Road. This follows the decision made on 11 November 2021!”

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The section of Braid Road north of the Hermitage Drive/Braidburn Terrace junction will remain cycles-only.

Other Twitter users wanted to know what was happening about the toucan crossing. And Cllr Arthur said a temporary crossing would be installed before the road reopened.

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The Broad Road closure has been one of the city's most controversial Spaces for People schemes. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

The council came under fire last year over the decision to go for partial reopening of the road because a consultation found a large majority in favour of a full reopening of the whole road in both directions. Officials recommended retaining the closure north of Braidburn Terrace as “a reasonable compromise position” and the committee agreed.

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Paul Bailey, who lives on Braid Road, said the whole process surrounding the closure and the delayed reopening had been “a shambles”.

He welcomed the restoration of two-way traffic. "The current closure causes enormous queues on Comiston Road at rush hour in the mornings, which have recently stretched as far as Buckstone. There is a considerable number of cars at the moment who have to use Comiston Road but will now be able to use Braid Road.”

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But he said there should be traffic calming measures on the downhill section. “Cars do go too fast,” he said. “It’s a 20mph area and most of them go at 30mph at least.”

Jason Rust, Tory councillor for Colinton/Fairmilehead, also welcomed the reopening. He said: “Although it was only a short stretch that was one way it had a big impact on the wider area in terms of residents getting around and it was very inconvenient. Initially Braid Road was just randomly closed in isolation along with about seven others in the city and they then linked it up into a wider project and it just seems there has been a lack of clarity all along, but ultimately it’s positive news if it’s being reopened.”

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Cllr Arthur said: “The decision to reopen the one-way section of Braid Road to two-way traffic was made by the last administration in November 2021, and I know the lack of progress has been a source of frustration to those concerned about the impact this Spaces for People scheme is having on public transport.

“I am hopeful that improvements can be made via the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order process once the changes are made to Braid Road next month.”

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