Lorry crossing the centre of Polwarth roundabout

Roundabout Polwarth — Latest News

Lorry crossing the centre of Polwarth roundabout

Since our last post, we have been getting to grips with the huge amount of useful material in your written responses to the survey on the Polwarth Roundabout.  We have some 800-900 comments on specific matters and are close to finishing our analysis of these.  This report gives you a quick peek at our initial analysis of the survey responses.

Using the Place Standard

In line with best practice, we have been mapping them against features of the Place Standard.  This is a digital tool, widely used by communities and town planners across Scotland, which helps us to interpret how residents think and feel about their environment.  It uses key themes — such as ‘moving around’, ‘traffic and parking’, ‘feeling safe’ and ‘care and maintenance’ — to build up a picture of the features that communities value, what they want to change, and why.   

You can see in the accompanying image the themes against which we are plotting your comments.

Example of using the Place Standard

Doing this analysis is our way of respecting your comments. Once it’s complete, we will have a comprehensive and accurate record of what has been said; and a clear picture of the weight of opinion on each issue.  

Using the Place Standard will also, we hope, give the results greater credibility — so far as the City of Edinburgh Council and (possibly) future funders are concerned.  

We also very recently received the data from the traffic counts we commissioned.  We will examine those data too and report back here on the main results. 

First Analysis of Survey Results

In the meantime, here are some quick impressions from the survey, giving further details on the answers to the ‘tick box’ questions. 

Where you live

First, the question about where respondents live: as shown below, some 91% live close to the roundabout. 

How you use the roundabout

Next, we asked you how you used the roundabout.  Here’s what you said:

Main concerns

After the questions about the size and composition of your households, we asked you if the roundabout caused you concern, for pavement users or (separately) for cyclists.  Here’s what you said.

So, more than two-thirds of respondents are ‘very concerned’ about provision for pedestrians at the roundabout; and 94.5% are either ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’.  Slightly more than half of respondents are ‘very concerned’ about provision for cyclists; and some 82% are either concerned or very concerned.  It’s not only those who regularly or sometimes cycle at the roundabout who recognise the hazards for cyclists: those who are predominantly drivers or pedestrians also see the risks.

What you also said  

Here’s how some of you expressed your concerns:

  • This terrible roundabout results in pedestrian and cyclists avoiding it completely and crossing at random places creating hazards in the wider area
  • Crossing at the bottom of the main stretch of Merchiston Avenue to Piece Box, where the recycling bins are, is particularly demanding & hazardous. Pedestrians have to look for vehicles racing from Granville Terrace, Merchiston Avenue and both sections of the roundabout. At peak times you can literally be waiting up to 5 mins to cross!
  • Driver behaviour is terrible, unwillingness to pause for even seconds to allow pedestrians to safely cross. Also parking at crossing at end of Yeaman Place, blocked sight lines.
  • As a mother of 2 young children crossing the roundabout is extremely difficult; cars do not stop, park on double yellows to ‘pop’ to the shops, bins are obstruction to line of sight. Speed of traffic is too fast, heavy usage of the street at all times of day. No reduction of speed as cars approach the roundabout. 
  • Street clutter prevents easy access for wheelchair users…the curbs are not dropped low enough for wheelchair users [at the foot of Merchiston Avenue]
  • Too many parked cars on approach from certain directions. Speed bumps push cars into middle of road effectively ‘narrowing the channel’ into the roundabout.
  • Rat-run at peak times. Pedestrians wait for a gap and hope!
  • Over-parking. Hard to cross when cars are parked so densely. Also impedes deliveries.

We also asked about issues for other users — businesses, disabled drivers and general amenity.  Here is the detailed breakdown of answers to this: 

The number of respondents pointing to insufficient delivery and loading bays is larger than the number of businesses at the roundabout — indicating that this issue too is seen as problematic by more people than those with a direct commercial interest.  Nearly one in four respondents are concerned about the lack of a disabled parking place near the shops.  And nearly 84% of respondents are not happy at all with the state of the pavements.  We are feeding these messages back to our Ward 10 councillors now, even before they receive our full report.  

Amenity and appearance

On the topic of amenity and the appearance of the area, what about the unlovely phone booth outside Margiotta:

Or the broken railings:

Time to improve these things too, perhaps?  Views welcome!

Pedestrians’ problems

The next question tried to get to the heart of the problems for pedestrians, asking about the key issues.  Here’s what you said: 

Concern about speeding comes top, but only by a slim margin.  There is also widespread concern about poor sightlines for pedestrians, insufficient pedestrian crossings, and heavy traffic at peak hours.  More than half of respondents were critical of obstructive street furniture — the bins at the south-east end of Polwarth Crescent have come in for a lot of criticism because they interfere with sightlines for those crossing over to Margiotta. 

The news on this is that the new ‘bin hubs’ which the Council are introducing will be sited well away from the roundabout and its crossing points.  Below is a map showing where the new bin hubs will be on Polwarth Crescent.

Map of the location of new bin hubs on Polwarth Crescent

This should be an improvement on the current layout, but attention will also need to be given to parking issues close to the roundabout if pedestrian sightlines are to be improved.

Only 8 respondents out of 165 told us there were no problems at all with the roundabout and only 3 saw no need for improvement.

Proposed improvements

You gave us lots of material in answer to the question about how things could be improved: 

Clearly, residents (and others too, possibly) feel strongly about the need to slow traffic down, on approach to the roundabout.  A very close second in terms of improvements is the creation of improved or additional zebra crossings.  And on this you’ve given us copious written comments. 

Photo of very degraded zebra crossing by Polwarth Roundabout

Some 79% of the 126 respondents who offered suggestions for improvements for cyclists saw lane segregation on approach to the roundabout as important.  Some 38% of the same respondent group saw shortage of cycle hangars as an area for improvement.

  Next steps

We will continue to feed back on the survey responses and on other data, including the traffic counts.  Meanwhile, thank you again for taking the time and trouble to take part in this project.  Obviously, we could not do it without you.  

+ posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top