By Councillor Aston - Responding to Conflicts as Leith Walk Reopens to Vehicles
1) Notes with concern the conflict caused by car drivers making prohibited turns into junctions and the danger that brings to pedestrians and cyclists and cars mounting raised table junctions and that both of these are occurring at most junctions on Leith Walk which provide a through route from and to Easter Road.
2) Accepts that the current period where partial reopening has resulted in some but not all routes between Easter Road and Leith Walk providing vehicular access is concentrating conflicts in a smaller number of locations and that full reopening will likely dilute this;
3) Notes however that this means still a substantial period of time in which these significant risks will continue and that some of the conflicts are caused by design issues.
4) Notes that the Brunswick Road junction in particular has generated huge numbers of incidents over the last few days, well documented on social media and elsewhere with drivers not adhering to the instructions on signage prohibiting right and left turns from Leith Walk and into Brunswick Street, leading to a number of near misses by car drivers which have risked injury to crossing pedestrians and cyclists.
5) Welcomes that Police Scotland have been active in providing enforcement at the Brunswick Street junction in recent days but accepts that this cannot and must not represent the entirety of the response to these problems and that a preventative approach is required.
6) Notes that the raised table junction at Dalmeny Street is generating conflict between cars on the one hand and pedestrians and cyclists on the other, with many drivers apparently either unaware of or deliberately ignoring the fact that pedestrians and cyclists have priority at these.
7) Further notes that the similar problems noted at the Brunswick Street raised table junction resulted in the junction being temporarily closed shortly after it was reopened to vehicular access and that it has remained closed since because a solution to these problems has not yet been implemented.
8) Notes that these conflicts are only becoming apparent when each junction reopens to vehicles as the Trams to Newhaven works progress to completion.
9) Therefore calls upon the Trams to Newhaven project team and the relevant council transport teams urgently to:
a) Take a proactive approach to identifying where there is potential for conflicts, prior to junctions reopening to vehicular access;
b) Improve signage at the relevant junctions to ensure that drivers know what the layout is and which road users have priority;
c) Work with the Council’s media team and with Police Scotland urgently to implement a campaign to promote awareness among drivers of the new layout of junctions and of the requirements on them when approaching raised tables where pedestrians and cyclists have priority;
d) Write to all businesses in the area of Leith Walk requesting that they alert their suppliers to the new arrangements;
e) Return to elected members with a briefing note of actions taken and planned within one cycle.”