BLINK AND YOU’RE SPLATTED

This was originally going to be a short article about Broughton’s grain basket on East Claremont Street. 

There was to be a bad joke about parking wheaters, then a suggestion that the Council’s occasionally ineffective use of herbicide has attractive benefits. 

Instead, it is going to be about pedestrian safety.

Cyclists on pavements

This cyclist in particular, who on Tuesday afternoon narrowly missed the photographer whilst simultaneously pedalling and checking his mobile for messages.

He approached without warning, passed at speed, and continued without slowing or appearing to notice anything untoward had happened.

As Edinburgh’s population grows, and the proportion of active travellers increases with it, so too grows a minority of selfish, inattentive, and downright reckless cyclists putting pedestrians at risk.

They’re a menace. And at present, there seems to be no prospect of them being stopped or chastened.

Blink and you’re splatted

Below is a letter sent yesterday by a local resident to the Council’s Transport Department. We reprint it with permission. (The two photographs below show the locations but not the incidents described.)

Hello, 

I am reporting safety issues for pedestrians crossing two roads at their junction with Bellevue B901.

Today while halfway across East Claremont Street, which was clear of traffic, two vehicles entered without indicating (from the northbound lane of B901).

The first was a cyclist, who I was able to stop in time for. The second was a commercial van from a local roofing company. The van swept into the road at speed without indicating a right turn, failed to stop, and passed no more than 2 feet in front of me, midway across the road.

The driver stopped a few yards further on to verbally abuse me, but failed to do the same to allow me to cross safely!

The last day on which  I crossed East Claremont Street the same thing happened – vehicles entering at speed and failing to give way to pedestrians crossing.

Crossing Bellevue Place, a van stopped short of the raised pedestrian crossing point but, while I was crossing, moved off and almost struck me. He eyes were down looking at a mobile phone and he had moved off without looking up.

An hour later, crossing in the opposite direction, a courier van drove at speed as I was almost across. When I heard the engine revving I turned to ensure I had eye contact with the driver. He maintained his speed and made an obscene gesture.

These events occurred on the last two occasions when I used this walking route, so I do not believe they are isolated incidents.

It occurs to me that there are a number of safety issues at these two road crossings points that endanger pedestrians.

1. All three incidents involved commercial vans, driven carelessly, two at excessive speed.
2. The neck of East Claremont Street is too wide to reach the pedestrian refuge in the middle safely.
3. East Claremont Street appears to be a rat run, with vehicles speeding at the junction with B901. It is too wide for pedestrians to cross safely and there are no effective traffic-calming measures at the crossing.
4. Bellevue Place does have traffic-calming measures, but vehicles speed up immmediately after the last raised section before the pedestrian crossing point.
5. Drummond Community High School is in the immediate vicinity.

Please advise.

I would like to hear from your department what measures you are prepared to undertake to improve pedestrian safety in this vicinity.

Hugh McAlinden
Hart Street

Action needed

We suspect Mr McAlinden’s experiences will chime with many local residents’ across Broughton and neighbouring parts. As with cyclists on pavements, they reflect problems which are likely to worsen as more east–west traffic seeks alternative routes before and during the Leith Walk tramworks.

Spurtle urges Police and Council officials to respond promptly to the issues and keep them under review over the months to come. 

Got a view? Tell us at spurtle@hotmail.co.uk and @theSpurtle and Facebook

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Increasingly ill-natured social-media debate probably continued ad infinitum at this point, but Spurtle had bicycle bell to polish.

6 East Claremont Street