Following a recent site meeting the City of Edinburgh Council Officer responsible for the works issued the following update:
Thank you for those who attended the site meeting on Friday 29th July 2019 at the former Leith Academy to discuss the main concerns regarding the proposed changes to the junction of Easter Road / Duke Street.
As promised see below a list of the issues raised at both the site meeting and during the June 2019 Leith Links Community Council meeting. I have provided the current response to the concerns with any actions. Some of these were discussed at the site meeting, and some responses have been provided to me today while others we never got round to discussing on site due to time constraints.
Serious concern about both entering and exiting from former Leith Academy building (No. 89b Duke Street) carpark. (this also covers all sub points);
Residents will access/egress from the car park across a section of the new footway which will be constructed from a different material and work in the same way as someone exiting from their private driveway across a footway. Drivers should give way to pedestrians (which should already happen at present when exiting from the car park) and proceed to the edge of the carriageway. At this point they will give-way to vehicles on the main carriageway (again similar to how they would at present) and proceed when safe to do so. Upon entering the main carriageway they will be faced with traffic signals to both the left and right directions and these should be treated as normal. Each stop line will have multiple traffic signal heads and most of these will be visible when first exiting the car park and so drivers will have an idea of which traffic is moving before they enter the carriageway. To confirm, it will be possible to access and egress in all directions.
Residents that live in the former Lochend School House building (No. 4 Lochend Road) have similar concerns to above about access;
A yellow box junction is proposed to deter vehicles from queueing over the access into 4 Lochend Road and multiple traffic signal heads will help ensure the traffic signals will be visible from the exit. Again, vehicles exiting the car park will give-way to vehicles on the main carriageway and manoeuvre when safe to do so. Finally, it should be noted that the existing traffic island on Lochend Road will be removed and we will also consider changing the parking restrictions to No Waiting / No Loading (Double Yellow Lines) in front of the car park access (as requested) to ensure waiting vehicles do not hinder access which residents have said is currently a problem.
Residents of Burns Road, Industrial Road and ‘the Colonies’ are concerned about additional traffic due to the proposed banned right turn from Lochend Road into Vanburgh Place;
The right turn from Lochend Road into Vanburgh Place is currently proposed to be restricted for safety reasons given the required traffic signal staging. During the site meeting a resident proposed to permit the right turn by introducing a right turn filter whereby traffic from Duke Street would stop and allow traffic to exit from Lochend Road and turn right. I passed this suggestion onto the Network Planning manager who in turn introduced the suggested filter into the traffic model however it resulted in the junction capacity being reduced considerably and therefore extra queueing on Duke Street in particular. While it is on average only 1 car every 5 minutes, there is a minimum time the filter light would come on for and Duke Street traffic would need to be stopped both before and after this to allow all traffic to clear for the filter traffic. Ultimately with the results it produced it wouldn’t be viable to include the right turn filter.
As such it is still proposed to ban the right turn from Lochend Road into Vanburgh Place for the proposed traffic signal staging to operate as efficiently as possible. Following completion of the works, we will assess the number of vehicles using the above mentioned streets to travel from Lochend Road to Vanburgh Place / East Hermitage Place (and vice versa) and consider what measures would be appropriate although we do note that some residents of The Colonies prefer to use Burns Street for access. For clarity, traffic calming measures could refer to no entry, one way streets, dead ends, priority systems or speed bumps along with a number of other things however I couldn’t say at this moment what is appropriate.
It was confirmed on site that the 161 vehicles over a 14 hour period filmed travelling from Lochend Road to Vanburgh Place includes people using the roundabout to double back. This equated to 1 vehicle every 5 minutes. Restalrig Road and Easter Road are the nearest obvious alternative routes for local residents and other drivers to use (where feasible) and could both handle 1 extra car per 5 minutes.
We don’t want to make things any more difficult for local residents and so any changes would be best left until the junction works are complete and we can make an assessment based on actual traffic changes; residents already note (as per LLCC meeting notes) that its awkward for drivers to exit from Fingzies Place or Somerset Street onto East Hermitage Place and therefore it’s unclear why people would choose to use that route.
Comments on Measures Under Consideration
- As above traffic calming measures could mean anything as appropriate, not just speed bumps.
- It is currently proposed to retain the eastbound bus stop on Vanburgh Place by creating a lay-by for the bus to pull into. The car club bay at the same location would also remain.
- The widening of the access road into the car park is designed to allow vehicles to keep left when exiting so that they can make the right turn manoeuvre easier. It will also allow 2 vehicles to pass when entering the car park area.
- It was noted at the LLCC meeting that the toucan crossing on Vanburgh Place would probably be helpful but there were a couple of concerns. To be clear it would form part of the signal controlled junction – the pedestrian crossing would be changed to a toucan crossing to allow cyclists to cross and head up Lochend Road or onto Vanburgh Place towards Easter Road.
- Appropriate road markings to protect side access typically means KEEP CLEAR or a yellow box junction.
Residents have requested that the bus stops on Duke Street by Tesco and Academy Street are looked at as they seem to cause congestion whenever both bus stops are serviced at the same time. At a glance moving the westbound stop further west towards Tesco entrance will create a greater gap between the stops to allow traffic to pass waiting bus services. The traffic island may need to be relocated but this is something we could do but it will be important to find the correct position to ensure the island doesn’t stop traffic from passing bus services. Vehicles accessing and exiting Academy street further complicate the issue but its certainly worth investigating further.
In addition Lothian Buses have pointed out that the westbound stop on Duke Street at the shops is only 130m away from the next stop at Tesco and doesn’t have an opposite partner. As such they plan to investigate its current use, especially if we are to consider the positioning of the bus stops on Duke Street by Tesco. That space might be better used for loading and parking but its not clear if the school children currently use that stop or the stop previous on Vanburgh Place. Again some investigation work to be undertaken.
A review of the whole area would possibly be best carried out once tram works are complete to allow for any further changes following completion of the tram extension. There are some issues listed which might already be alleviated by the tram works such as the proposed new traffic signals at the end of Manderston Street which might make it less of an attractive route. And so I will pass all of these comments on to the North East Locality for consideration and ask them to provide comment which I can then pass back to LLCC.
The suggestions put forward are on the whole very sensible but unfortunately I’m not able to simply include all of these suggestions as part of my work. I have noted them however and where feasible I will.
Residents asked – why widen the pavement so massively outside the Former Leith Academy building.
As before the footway widening outside the former Leith Academy is a result of reshaping the junction so that the propose traffic signal staging will work and the layout is coherent for drivers. Specifically we needed to separate Duke Street and Lochend Road to create a stagger as currently they are slightly offset which leave a vast junction area with no instruction for drivers. The footway outside the shops on Duke Street will also be widened to almost 4m wide
From Residents concerned about the loss of plants on the roundabout
Please can there be assurances that these will not just be dug up and thrown away, but will be preserved and replanted nearby somewhere locally, as appropriate?
Having discussed the request with our arborists, they have responded as follows;
The Palms (Cordylines) would not transplant well this time of year and would be out of place on the Links given there aren’t any others there. Furthermore it is unlikely they will survive on the Links at Vanburgh Place due to a number of ongoing issues at that location. There are some Cordylines at the entrance to Lochend Park and they could try and replant them alongside those although I note that’s not exactly close by and they still might not survive without regular irrigation, which they are unlikely to get. They offered them to local residents for private gardens if desired but again they state the root system is not strong and ideally the new home should be prepared first but in this case there wouldn’t be enough time.
Phormium tenax (Flax) would also be difficult to transplant and wouldn’t be in keeping with the Leith Links landscape. Again it could be donated to a resident if desired.
Planters from Leith Walk can be relocated to the junction but they aren’t maintained or irrigated by CEC and as such they advised against this unless residents would like to maintain them. Also, they don’t expect the Maple trees in the planters to grow to maturity, purely due to species choice (they weren’t involved in the procurement of these), and suggest they need regular maintenance which they don’t get a present.
Alternatively they have suggested creating 4 new tree pits as part of the footway widening outside the former Leith Academy to introduce more greenery. And a planter on the footway could be provided although again CEC do not have the resources to continually maintain these so it would need to be filled with something low maintenance. Residents could of course be involved in maintenance and ownership if desired as happens in other parts of the city.
Other Comments Raised at Meeting
How will bin collections in the car park of the former Leith Academy (89 Duke Street) be managed following the changes to the junction.
I have asked Waste & Cleansing for comment however they are still considering this at present. It was noted on site that Waste & Cleansing Department can gain access to the car park area if loading from the main road is no longer suitable.
Works were put on hold to allow time for final details to be confirmed following any further comments from residents and as such the work will not now start until 29th July 2019
I will issue a copy of the final drawing once outstanding matters have been concluded. I hope this has covered everything but if anything has been missed or requires further detail, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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