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Danger That Is: The A701 (1/3)

This is the first in a series of posts detailing changes that urgently need to happen in Penicuik. They have been chosen as they are either detrimental to public safety or are detrimental to Penicuik’s future.

We Believe That – Should Something Not Be Done – The A701 (Edinburgh Road) is soon going to cause a serious accident or fatality.

Everyday this is the road of choice for commuters to get to Edinburgh. Unfortunately it also the route of choice for pedestrians (mostly young children) to get to school. Whilst fencing is sufficient and law abiding along both sides of the road between Mauricewood and Beeslack, due to a lack of strict enforcement of a set speed limit along this section, it is becoming increasingly hazardous for young generations within the community to get to school without being injured.

But where have things gone wrong? That is where that question stops. We do not know. Midlothian council have lowered the speed limit to 30mph – albeit there are few signs showing this – but where are the flashing signs and road markings mentioned here? Are they still in production? Have works elsewhere in Midlothian, cough… Dalkeith… cough, compromised the safety of children by using our road maintenance budget? We do not know. However would these help anyway? They (MC) aren’t implementing any speed enforcement cameras so if there are no law enforcing bodies around, drivers will likely resort to whatever speed they want to go at. Yes you could argue that drivers are aware that there is a school with nearly 1000 pupils just off that road but the current evidence points towards the fact that, a lot of drivers do not care. There are some very careful drivers though, and you should be praised. Get to the point… Even though what MC is doing will be doing is great we believe they just do not go far enough. We believe that an average speed check system should be implemented from the Penicuik Boundary through to the old Penicuik Boundary. This could be variable and through the use of flashing signs the limit could be lowered to twenty or other speeds during peak school times or periods of extreme traffic build up. Not only would traffic be smoother moving but drivers would be forced to abide – regardless of the time – to the speed limit set. In our eyes there is no other option (apart from maybe a standard camera but this only covers a small area).

Have A Break… We’re About to speak about the Mauricewood Road Junction.

In a conversation with James Cassidy (Headteacher of BCHS) recently, when questioned he told us that:

It is atrocious that the Mauricewood Junction exists without a pelican crossing.

We agree with him though. There are three primary crossing points on the A701 between Tesco and Glencorse. A pelican crossing at Tesco, a traffic island at Mauricewood and a pedestrian underpass at BCHS. Let’s break this down. The Queesway fourway junction understandably has traffic lights to control traffic and due to the volume of traffic it has four pelican crossings. The underpass at BCHS is there because that is a four lane wide stretch of road and any other crossing point would have been unviable and dangerous. This crossing serves the far east of Penicuik (Glencorse and Greenlaw Mains 2). That brings me to the Mauricewood crossing. This is a one and half metre wide traffic island approximately one metre away from a busy junction. This is a three armed T-Junction and copes with a similar volume of Traffic as the Queensway junction. So why does it not have a pelican crossing/ traffic control lights? It could be conceived that the road is in fact to narrow and that current pavements would not allow for lights to be placed. However this is easily rectified as once the current island is removed pavements could easily be expanded to have sufficient room for lights to be placed. If all three arms of the junction where controlled by traffic lights this would allow for three safe crossing points (three more than previously). Accidents are becoming more frequent with the traffic island being a key player in the previous two. One of which was during lunch and a child could have easily been at the island.

This needs changed and it needs changed now* before the council has to issue an apology for an unnecessary fatality.

Thank you for reading and as always your comments are welcomed below.

*Should the “Greenlaw Mill by TaylorWimpey” planning application be granted, the junction would have to be signalised to cope with the extra traffic originating from the increased amount of houses.