Edinburgh's Spaces for People: residents face months of waiting for partial reopening of Braid Road

Residents in a Morningside street at the heart of one of Edinburgh's most controversial Spaces for People schemes may have to wait months for the council to implement a partial reopening it agreed in November.

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The city’s transport and environment committee voted to allow cars to return to part of Braid Road once a toucan crossing was installed, but Colinton/Fairmilehead Tory councillor Jason Rust says no-one has heard any more about it since.

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And he is calling for answers on when the road will reopen.

Residents in a Morningside street at the heart of one of Edinburgh's most controversial Spaces for People schemes may have to wait months for the council to implement a partial reopening it agreed in November. COVID 19, CORONA VIRUS - Braid Road with cones out and closed sign, etc.

The closure of Braid Road as part of the Capital's temporary measures, funded by the Scottish Government under Spaces for People, to make it easier for people to walk and cycle with physical distancing during the early part of the pandemic was controversial from the start.

The move was blamed for long traffic queues and delays on the parallel Comiston Road, which sparked fears over increased air pollution affecting children at South Morningside Primary School.

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Residents were consulted ahead of November's transport committee meeting on options for the future and there was a huge majority in favour of a full reopening in both directions.

However, the committee accepted the officers' recommendation for a different plan, reopening the road in both directions as far as the junction with Braidburn Terrace, but keeping it closed north of there to all except cycles.

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The committee also accepted a call from the Greens for the toucan crossing to be installed before the partial reopening went ahead.

Councillor Rust said locals were disappointed that it was taking so long for what had always been a temporary closure to be removed.

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He said: "Given this was decided in November, people are wanting a firmer idea as to when we're going to see the decision of council implemented.

"The council went out and consulted, they then went against the clear preferred choice, but at least it was going to be a vast improvement on the existing situation. But now we're just in a no man's land of not knowing when it's going to be implemented.

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"It has caused a lot of inconvenience to residents and there is a feeling a lot of the congestion in Comiston Road has been at least partly a result of Braid Road being closed.

"The committee said it would go ahead with the reopening once the toucan crossing was in operation, but nothing has been heard about it since. It sounds like it could be months yet before the road reopens."

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The city council said it was preparing the experimental traffic regulation order needed for the toucan crossing and expected to advertise it soon. That will pave the way for potential objections, which would then take time to be dealt with.

Transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes said: “As agreed by the transport and environment committee in November, we are planning to reopen Braid Road northbound, once a new pedestrian crossing is installed. We’re currently progressing the necessary legal orders to change the road layout and create a new junction.”

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