Leith Street works: new one-way system causes traffic chaos

A new one way traffic flow system at Abbeyhill.
A new one way traffic flow system at Abbeyhill.
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Road users have slammed the new one-way system in the East End for inadequate signage after a number of drivers were spotted driving the wrong way.

A diversion route was brought into force on Easter Road, Regent Road, London Road and Montrose Terrace, which aims to keep traffic flowing ahead of and during the closure of Leith Street for works on the new St James Centre.

Approved by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee in March, the Leith Street works programme is supported by the Council’s City Wide Traffic Management Group and will be managed throughout the 44-week closure by developers TH Real Estate.

But concerns have been raised in the wake of the initial roll-out on Sunday that drivers, confused by the new system, have been driving onto oncoming traffic.

Online reaction highlighted poor sign posting as one of the main problems.

Danni Harrold commented on Facebook: “Signage for this is absolutely shocking.

“So easy to go straight up from Easter Road and find yourself head on with incoming traffic.

Ann Miller added: “Disaster area at peak times as no one can make head or tail of it.

“Long queues. Best avoided if possible I think.”

Gary Archibald said: “I was there twice last night once at 9.30pm and again at 12.30am, both times I saw cars coming head on down the wrong way.

“Poor signage and lack of driver awareness of the no entry signs and road markings.

Bus driver Helen Barrie also met with difficulties when driving her route on Sunday.

She commented on Twitter: “Driving my bus yesterday (Sunday) was met with numerous cars heading wrong way up Easter Rd to Abbeymount. Signage inadequate?”

A spokeswoman for Lothian said: “We have worked closely with City of Edinburgh Council during the planning and implementation process of these changes to ensure that the City keeps moving.

“Our focus is to ensure that our customers are fully informed as to how the road closure will affect their journeys and our advice to all road users around the Leith Street area would be to make sure they are familiar with the proposed diversions during this vital stage of redevelopment in the City.”

Martin Perry, director of development for Edinburgh St James, said the route had been planned for nearly a year. “The design has been tested using the Council’s traffic model to maximise capacity and minimise delays and to ensure diverted traffic will be effectively accommodated throughout the closure period. Traffic levels will be monitored over the period of the closure and adjustments made as necessary to reduce inconvenience as much as possible.”

The diversion has been brought in ahead of the Leith Street closure on September 2

Cllr Macinnes said: “Traffic conditions and driver behaviour are being closely monitored around the Leith Street closure and the contractor employed by the Edinburgh St James developer will take action to help mitigate issues that might arise.”