Changes proposed to ease congestion around Picardy Place

Plans to re-introduce the left turn from Leith Walk onto London Road in Edinburgh will be considered by the Transport and Environment Committee next week (Thursday 23 May).

After the completion and opening of the new Trams to Newhaven line the project team has continued to monitor a number of issues raised along the route including the lack of left turns and accessibility from Leith Walk heading east which has resulted in increased congestion in and around the Picardy Place area causing delays to public transport.

Following the period of monitoring and public feedback the report to the Committee next week proposes re-introducing the left turn which will include these measures:

  • A minimum of 10 seconds for traffic to use it
  • When the left turn goes off the ahead signal will remain on allowing pedestrian and cyclists to come over from London Road and
  • The overall time for the two stages would be the same as currently operating for the ahead only and pedestrian stage

The proposed changes are not anticipated to have any impact on Elm Row bus stops and will benefit the overall traffic flow around Picardy Place, Leith Street and Broughton Street.

Cllr Scott Arthur, Transport Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

It was important for us to give the successful new tram line to Newhaven time to bed in, and, as with any major transport infrastructure project we continued to review the traffic management arrangements in the area. 

After this monitoring process, and in response to public feedback and discussions with Lothian Buses, we’re proposing to re-introduce the left hand turn from Leith Walk onto London Road. Importantly thanks to the plans we’re also maintaining single phase crossing for both pedestrians and cyclists crossing over from London Road.

The overall positive impact of these changes will support Lothian Buses and their operations while also easing congestion in and around Picardy Place and associated streets.

The previous Transport and Environment Committee made the decision to close the turn in good faith some time ago, but it is now clear the prohibition has been detrimental to the flow of public transport through the area.

If the plans are approved next week then the statutory process will begin under the Trams to Newhaven Temporary Traffic Regulation Order.

Published: May 17th 2024