Spaces for People Proposal to Close Braid Hills Drive

Normally Councillors get (confidential) sight of Council reports a couple of weeks before they go in the public domain. This gives us a chance to seek clarification or perhaps even raise concerns.I received the (incomplete) 49 page Spaces for People report yesterday at 9:41am and it went in the public domain at 2:38pm.

I knew it would possibly contain a plan for cycle lanes on Braid Hills Drive (not my Ward). Inspection of the report, however, reveals that the Council is considering closing the road. It was argued that it was an “important safe link to areas of exercise in the Hermitage of Braid and Braid Hill area“.

Four options are presented:
Option 1 – Braid Hills Road / Drive remain open to vehicular traffic and segregated cycle lanes are provided. The segregated cycle lanes would be provided from the junction of Braid Road / Braid Hills Road to the junction of Liberton Road / Liberton Brae.

Option 2 (pictured above) – Provision of segregated cycle lanes from the junction of Braid Road / Braid Hills Road to a closure point just east of the junction with Braid Hills Avenue. A closure point will also exist at the junction of Braid Farm Road and Braid Hills Road. From here Braid Hills Road / Drive would remain closed until the junction with Liberton Tower Lane. East of this closure point a segregated cycle lane will be provided on the southern edge of the carriageway until the junction with Alnwickhill Road and east of this, segregated cycle lanes will be provided until the junction with Liberton Brae.

Option 3 – A closure point will be situated on Braid Hills Road just east of the junction with Braid Hills Avenue. A closure point will also exist at the junction of Braid Farm Road and Braid Hills Road. From here Braid Hills Road / Drive will remain closed until the junction with Liberton Tower Lane. East of this closure point a segregated cycle lane will be provided on the southern edge of the carriageway until the junction with Alnwickhill Road where the scheme will terminate.

Option 4 – As above closure points will be created at Braid Hills Road east of the junction with Braid Hills Avenue. A closure point will also exist at the junction of Braid Farm Road and Braid Hills Road. From here Braid Hills Road / Drive will remain closed until the junction with Liberton Tower Lane.

Personally, I feel Options 2-4 are so significant that they should be subject to meaningful consultation with the community around this road. Instead, the report simply says: “A decision needs to be taken internally on the preferred alignment / extent of the scheme”. Once this happens, only “key stakeholders” will be consulted.

Personally, I find it unlikely that the emergency services will agree to the closure of Braid Hills Drive.

14 thoughts on “Spaces for People Proposal to Close Braid Hills Drive

  1. Greetings Scott

    I’ve just received and skimmed this.

    I am really fed up with the way roads are being closed to vehicular traffic around here. Both Braid Road and Braid hills Road proved excellent relief roads for traffic on busy, frequently congested roads betweipen M’side and Buckstone and east-west between Greenbank and Liberton. Both of these roads are ones I value and have used a lot, precisely to avoid otherwise congested roads (eg to and from work when I was at the Observatory, or from home to the tip or RIE). A city needs not only radial roads, bur also levels of ‘inner ring’ roads to facilitate connection between suburbs, thereby saving miles (and fumes) that would be created by the necessity to drive into then out of town instead of taking shorter, more direct and ‘cleaner’ routes (eg Greenbank to Liberton /RIE for example).

    I am now in my mid+ 70s, with dodgy knees (and a blue badge). I depend on having a car to eg get to the tip with any recycling, or to RIE (sometimes ferrying friends to appointments there). I support a reasonable ‘green’ agenda. I changed my car last year to one which though not electric (can’t afford that) is so low on the emissions scale that it does not require payment of road tax. So I do what I can towards the green agenda, but some of the recent road changes I believe are costing folks like me too much in accessibility etc.

    I recognise that some of this is driven not only by keen (mostly fit and young) cyclists, and also aiming to clean up emissions towards a greener city. While these are noble ambitions, they have significant impact on those of us who are no longer young (or fit), and only force more congestion onto eg Comiston Road.

    With the closure of Braid Road and the proposed closure of Braid Hills Road I (and many others) will have to make the equivalent journeys by longer, probably more congested routes, thereby putting more car exhaust into the atmosphere than if we could use the shorter, less congested direct routes

    Twice recently I had cause to be in Morningside with the car. Even within the restrictions of current times, it was very noticeable that the congestion on Comiston Road was far greater than ‘normal’; Comiston Road has to accommodate traffic that would otherwise have travelled up Braid Road. From Morningside lights to Greenbank and beyond there was a long slow queue of vehicles driving or crawling stop-start – and taking 20 minutes or more to make that section of journey. If the objective is to reduce pollution form motor vehicles, then the current system is failing badly; each vehicle in that queue must have caused at least 4 times as much pollution as it would have done if the traffic was not so congested. Any car travelling slowly, stop-start, in lower gears will surely exhale more exhaust than the same vehicle travelling the same distance in a higher gear closer to the upper limit,’ be that 20 or 30mph.

    If they must tinker with Braid Hills Road, then there is enough width (but some blind bends) to accommodate a minimal cycle lane. If it must be done, then go for the minimalist version.

    Part of the reason for congestion in Morningside is also the restriction of the roadway to offer wider ‘pedestrian’ space. That becomes cycle space further up Comiston Road. There are some crazy consequences: blue badge disabled spaces pushed out into the carriageway away from the kerb. Post markers near corners which could cause accidents. The many changes to Comiston Road – white lines and posts, reduced junctions, etc – create distractions which I believe are very likely to cause accidents. Have any collisions with posts been recorded?

    Has anyone done (or are there plans for) a survey of how much vehicle traffic there is? how many cars/busses travel up Comiston Road now (having in mind stay-at-home restrictions)? Does the cycle usage justify the vehicle congestion and pollution from that congestion?

    Given current budget constraints I’m surprised that CEC can justify spending money on these inconveniences. Can it really be justified? How much is it all costing ?

    Enough. Edinburgh to me and several friends of similar vintage (and limitations) is becoming increasingly unfriendly.

    Best wishes

    liz

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    • Oh for goodness sake! Stop and have a think for a minute!

      Firstly, you can still drive everywhere, can’t you? Yes, it might take a bit longer, but you are still able to drive from A to B relatively easily. There are some people in this country who are old, disabled, can’t drive, have no family, and rely on public transport to get about. Be grateful you’ve got a licence and can get from A to B in relative ease.

      Secondly, air quality on Comiston Road has not worsened since the closure of Braid Road. In fact, it’s actually improved. This is what studies have showed, not my own opinion!

      Thirdly, the closure of Braid Road has made cycling in our capital safer, as have the Comiston Road Cycle Lanes, George IV Bridge cycle lanes, and other Spaces for People schemes (with the exception of the Morningside extended pavements), Now, why does that matter you may ask. I’ll tell you why. Too many cyclists have died on our roads recently. Young cyclists with kids, a lifetime ahead of them, dead from a lack of cycling infrastructure. Do you worry about getting killed when you get into your car to go for a drive? Likely not. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for many cyclists, which is why infrastructure is so important!

      Finally, you say you are surprised that the CEC can justify spending money on these ‘inconveniences’. Well the Council was handed £5million by the Scottish Government to spend on these ‘inconveniences’. This money could be spent on these ‘inconveniences’ only. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Hope you’re doing well during these difficult times. I appreciate, especially for older people things are a lot more difficult, but thankfully the vaccine program has given us some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. But just to end things off, I want you to think about the excruciating grief many families will have went through after losing a loved one who was sadly killed by a motor vehicle on our roads last year. This is why we need safe cycling infrastructure. We cannot have any more people, human beings, dying in Edinburgh after being hit whilst on their bike on our roads.

      Best Wishes

      Peter

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      • simmer down pal. has anyone been killed on Braid Hills Drive? Like, ever? Totally unnecessary to close this road. Have you seen the new cycle lanes in the last few days? filled with ice & snow & too dangerous to use. Ill conceived plans and a waste of time & money. and yes I am a keen cyclist & also drive a car. g

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      • Gary, the council were given £5million to spend on cycle lanes, road closures and extended pavements as part of the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People scheme. This money must be spent on Spaces for People measures, and cannot be used for other things such as opening a new swimming pool in Edinburgh or upgrading ICT in schools.
        As for the new cycle lanes, I walked past the Comiston Road cycle lanes on Saturday and they were completely clear of snow and ice and I saw several cyclists using them. I have also walked up and down Braid Road recently and the road (excluding the pavements) was completely clear of snow too. If you could please inform me of the cycle lanes in Edinburgh that are covered in snow and ice I’d be grateful. Thanks.
        You are correct in saying nobody has ever been killed on Braid Hills Drive, but there’s a first time for everything.
        As for being a keen cyclist, how often and whereabouts do you go cycling? I’m intrigued.
        Hope you’re doing okay during these difficult times Gary.

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  2. Will this dictatorial insanity stop –we have 20 mph limits everywhere –we now have some good bike lanes and mostly ridiculous street planning for bikes and a handful of folk that allegedly walk into the town /shopping areas -I would like to see all these folk –Especially Morningside requires wider streets so people ,delivery folk and trade services can park and deliver their service—–
    Stop ruining EDINBURGH with this SPACES for PEOPLE plan –iot is poor.

    DH

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  3. I think this space is dominated by one voice. The tone is rude and aggressive.
    Drscottarthur. This is your space, please ensure people use it respectfully.
    For those of us who live here and have need to regularly get to the hospital, this is a vital link Road.
    For safety reasons it needs to remain open to cars for people to quickly get to the hospital in emergencies.
    If cycle lanes can be added as well, then so be it.
    Best Regards
    G ( name withheld due to aggressive tone of other users)

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    • If anyone’s been disrespectful it is Scott Arthur because he has refused to tell me if he is for or against the Comiston Road Cycle Lanes and if he is for or against the Braid Road Closure, despite me asking him repeatedly. He just sits on the fence all day long wearing a chunky pair of noise cancelling headphones over his ears.

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  4. Dear Scott,

    I think you are correct to focus on the undemocratic manner in which these proposals are being advanced across Edinburgh. The use of emergency regulations to avoid consultation is not sensible in the long run. It simply sets those who are concerned to use their cars as presently against those in the cycling lobby. Your blog shows the unhelpful and unpleasant nature of this. Worse it invites a negative tit for tat era of council politics. Speaking as one those who voted for you last time out, I was delighted to see you standing up for proper consultation, and disappointed to learn that you had been censured for this. The Labour Party should not assist in the suppression of the people’s views at any cost.

    Can we assume that you will stand by your principles when the Council votes tomorrow (28 January), ask for a proper consultation, and vote accordingly?

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