Councillors call for Barnton junction overhaul to ease ‘congestion crisis’

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Demands have been made for an action plan to bring a “congestion crisis” at a notorious city interchange to a halt.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Kevin Lang has called on the coalition leadership at Edinburgh City Council to bring forward a plan over the next eight weeks to both improve traffic flow and reduce levels of pollution at Barnton junction.

There have been calls to reduce the congestion at Barnton Junction

There have been calls to reduce the congestion at Barnton Junction

The link connects Queensferry Road with Maybury Road in the north west of the city.

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The junction is often clogged up with vehicles entering and leaving the Scottish capital, as well as acting as a key junction for airport traffic and those heading towards the Forth bridges.

Cllr Lang put forward a motion at Wednesday’s meeting of the North West Locality Committee calling for a report highlighting a range of measures to tackle traffic build-up at the junction.

SNP Cllr Frank Ross said the issue was “of grave concern”, but attempted to throw out the motion, claiming the locality committee did not have enough power to make demands of a “city-wide traffic plan”.

Cllr Lang said: “The Barnton junction is a critical access route in and out of the city, but is already gridlocked at peak periods. We also know Queensferry Road is one of the most congested and polluted streets, not just in Edinburgh, but in the whole of Scotland.

“With proposals to build thousands of new homes within just a couple of miles of the junction, we desperately need an action plan to avert what could soon become a congestion crisis in the north west of the city.”

Conservative councillors have also called for improvements to the junction.

Cllr Nick Cook, Conservative transport and environment spokesman, said: “The Barnton junction is a well-known pinch point for traffic entering and exiting the city. It therefore seems sensible for the council to look at how traffic flow of such a key thoroughfare could be improved.

“While there are implications for both local people and commuters, I see no reason why the relevant locality committee shouldn’t consider such a matter in the first instance, with referrals made to the citywide transport committee as appropriate.”

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Green politicians argue more needs to be done to reduce the amount of traffic. A study found 63,300 commuters travel to Edinburgh by private

car.

Green transport spokesperson Cllr Chas Booth said: “The Barnton roundabout is one of a number of notorious bottlenecks in and around the city, which increase pollution, slow down buses and impact on the city economy, so efforts to ease congestion here are welcome.

“New road or roundabout capacity will only offer short term respite, but quickly get congested again. The only long-term solution to reducing pressure on roads is investing in high-quality walking and cycling routes, public transport and park-and-ride facilities.

“With quick, reliable, pleasant alternatives to the car, we can shift journeys to more sustainable modes and cut congestion at the same time. And it’s also vital that we ask searching questions about where homes and jobs are located in the first place, which too often drive such unsustainable levels of car use.”

Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “We are well aware of issues surrounding congestion in this area and as such are working with public transport providers to explore ways of improving traffic flow, which will now be shared with the North West Locality Committee.

“In addition, improvements to the junction are intended under the Local Development Plan Action Programme.”