Watch as ambulance is caught in Edinburgh Spaces for People traffic hold-up

Part of the controversial Spaces for People scheme is being altered after an ambulance on a blue light emergency call was delayed by a traffic snarl-up.

By Hamish Morrison
Friday, 12th November 2021, 8:00 pm

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The ambulance was held-up after a motorist attempting to manoeuvre out of its way became trapped in bollards on Cannonmills.

The incident follows months of complaints that the SfP scheme had caused a number of delays for blue-light emergency services in the city.

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Nuisance cycle lane on Cannonmills where the ambulance was held up.

The cycle lanes on Cannonmills in Edinburgh was installed as part of the Edinburgh City Council SfP scheme during the pandemic to give people more space.

It has plastic rods installed along it - which caused a "pantomime" when the well-meaning motorist got trapped as he tried to give way.

Interior designer Johnny Bacigalupo, 45, has had a business there for 17 years and said the road design has caused a "permanent pantomime" on the street and has caused congestion which was never an issue before.

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes has defended the controversial SfP scheme.

He said: "If you think about it, the difference in one minute is somebody's life.

"It's like a circus with this 15-metre long stretch of cycle lane they installed by sheer surprise outside our business.

"We must contact the council every ten days with another damaged plastic rod, another rubber platform that has been ripped out the street.

"We've been here for 17 years, they struggle to maintain Cannonmills anyway, without them having to perpetually come back and deal with broken rods and rubber platforms, chaos outside and ambulances that can't get past. It's one drama after another.

"It's just one tiny little stretch of cycle lane, with no lane before or after it.

"It's constantly sirens outside that are stuck there, I'm surprised the emergency services aren't doing something about it with the council.

"Where do people go, how do they move out the way?

"This is exacerbating the problems around Cannonmills, not making it a safer place for cyclists.

"I've been here for 17 years, I've never really seen an accident there, I've not heard of anyone been killed crossing the road, there has been no drama.

"We never used to have congestion, it wasn't a problem.

"Since Spaces for People, now we have constant pollution outside, engines running.

"We reported to the council that we were finding it hard to breathe in the summer, because of the pollution that was coming through the front door, because you have all these running engines."

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Council chiefs have agreed to move the Cannonmills bollards to make the tight turn on the corner easier for buses to get past.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: "We have engaged with the emergency services, Lothian Buses and other affected parties on the introduction of every temporary measure introduced over the last year and a half, and have responded to any concerns.

"In this case we have had no complaints from the emergency services, but since the implementation of the scheme, some issues with congestion and ease of turning for buses have been raised by Lothian Buses.

"As a result Transport and Environment Committee agreed to amend the scheme, with work on this planned for next week.”

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