ELC proposes traffic calming measures for Pencaitland

Traffic plays a big part in the concerns of many locals. In an effort to have a number of issues addressed the Community Council sought the recommendations of East Lothian Council’s Transport department. Here’s the suggestions it came up with in response to this request.

Beech Terrace - moving speed sign and adding rumblestrips - click to view full PDF plan1. Easter Pencaitland Roundabout: Entering Pencaitland from the Haddington road ELC is proposing a roundabout with a proper central island. The current recommendation would necessitate relocating the war memorial and seating to a different corner. Additionally speed restrictions would be extended so that the 30mph limit would not cease until after leaving the village and would come into force before entering.

2. Pencaitland village road (Easter): After entering the village ELC is proposing traffic calming measures which are a combination of road narrowing and forming parking bays to the south side of the road in two locations.

3. Wester Pencaitland: Entering Wester Pencaitland ELC is proposing to move the speed restriction signs further west so that they come into force before vehicles arrive at houses. Additionally, in the run-up to the 30mph speed sign there would be 3 sets of rumble strips.

Community Comments to date

Looking at the proposed plans the Community Council (see the Proposed Traffic Calming Pencaitland PDF) is keen to get community input and feedback which can then be shared with ELC’s Transport department.

For example, some locals have already questioned whether the War Memorial could remain roughly where it is, only being moved slightly further back in it’s current locale, in order to accommodate the necessary space required for a full-blown roundabout.

Below we are presenting the logic behind each of the recommendations from ELC so that the community can then give meaningful feedback to the proposals.

Why a roundabout at Easter Pencaitland village entrance?

Proposed roundabout at entrance to Easter Pencaitland - click for full PDFIn ELC proposing a roundabout your Community Council asked the question, ‘Why this rather than lights?’ Here’s the arguments we received:

Why not Traffic Signals?

  • Poor junction intervisibility (visibility between drivers at each stop line)
  • Tight corner radii, swept vehicular path requires stop line to be set back which has a detrimental effect on junction intervisibility
  • Inefficient due to low volume of traffic
  • Queue lengths may lead to non-compliance with the desired minimum stopping sight distance, this will be particularly prevalent on the A6093 approach from Haddington
  • Potential emission increase due to queuing vehicular traffic
  • Aesthetics, clutter of poles and signal heads
  • The main flow of traffic on the A6093 may result in through traffic not having to stop due to low demand from the B6355

Why a Roundabout?

  • Minimal delays to vehicular traffic
  • Emphasise transition from rural to urban Speed Reduction
  • Attractive entrance to the village – Landscaping possibilities
  • Improved vehicular safety
  • Improved vehicular turning movements

Why narrowing of the Easter Pencaitland village road?

In ELC proposing road narrowing your Community Council asked the question, ‘How will this improve over the status quo or some other measure?’ Here’s the arguments we received:

Road narrowing inside Pencaitland Village - click to view a full PDF of the plan

Central Refuge Islands discounted for the following reasons:

  • Insufficient road width at appropriate locations.
  • Reduction in on street parking.
  • Would affect the movement of large agricultural vehicles.
  • Impact on cyclists

Priority Traffic System discounted for the following reasons:

  • Reduction in on-street parking.
  • Does not work well with low traffic flows and good forward visibility.

Speed tables/bumps (and other forms of vertical deflection) discounted for the following reasons:

  • Increased vehicle noise and vibration.
  • Would affect bus services.
  • Not suitable for an A Class district distributor road.

Carriageway Narrowing (as shown on PDF)

  • Allows footways to be widened.
  • Reduces pedestrian crossing width.
  • Allows on street parking areas to be formed.
  • Does not restrict agricultural vehicle movements.
  • No adverse affect on cyclists

More detailed cross-section views of the effects of the road narrowing/footpath widening can be viewed on this PDF File.

Next Steps… have your say

So now it’s over to the community. What do you think of the recommendations being made by East Lothian Council’s transport team? What do you like or dislike and please give us your reasons too.

You can either leave comments below or on our Facebook page where we will collate them and provide feedback to ELC. If you would rather not leave a public comment then send your private views via email to website@pencaitland.org.

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378 thoughts on “ELC proposes traffic calming measures for Pencaitland

  1. pencaitland Post author

    From Fiona Tennick 1st June 2013

    “A very close shave at the crossroads yesterday. I live next to the crossroads at the eastern entrance to Pencaitland. While cutting the side grass, I watched a bright yellow motorbike approach at speed from Haddington, indicating to turn right up to Tranent, past my house. Instead of turning right up the correct second lane, he swept AT SPEED up the WRONG LANE, (i.e. the down – lane) and into the path of a car coming down the hill to the crossroads. There was a mighty screeching of brakes and both vehicles swerved. How the motorbike didn’t hit the car I will never know. That near-accident could not have happened if there had been a roundabout.”

  2. Colin Henderson

    I agree with the general concensus that traffic coming through the village goes too fast. I also feel though that radically changing the landscape of a traditional village like Pencaitland is extreme and would spoil the look of the village permanently.

    The traffic that needs to be slowed is the traffic coming into the village in a straight line on the A6093 (i.e the War Memorial end and the Maltings end). Therefore, would a simple set of speed bumps on the approach to the village not suffice, in warning traffic of the pending reduced speed restriction. Also, the speedometer (currently at the War Memorial) worked well at the Maltings end of the village but it’s too close to the junction where it is at present to be effective.

    I just feel that we accept that we live in a wee village and it wasn’t designed for the scale of traffic going through it but, we should explore and test alternatives before making radical alterations. After all, we could go to all this effort and sure as fate, some numbskull will simply plough straight across the new round about in a few months time!

  3. Ralph Averbuch

    Comment emailed to the CC:

    Regarding the plans to control traffic in the village I wanted to give my opinion.

    I do think that controlling the traffic in the village is a good idea and I would like it to be taken a step further – I would like to see the introduction of a 20 mph limit throughout the whole village including the main road and also the B6355 – the speed of traffic on this road is bad with a lot of overtaking.

    I think the pavements at various points in the village are too narrow for pedestrians especially those with children. I would very much like the pavements to be made wider but I would be concerned that this would lead to more pavement parking or that lorries would have to drive on the pavements to get past each other.

    I have concerns with putting a roundabout at the village entrance as I think it would put pedestrians at risk – the pavement at that corner is used by people/familes walking back from the winton estate and is narrow right the way along past the bus stop. I would have concerns that lorries and large vehicles would be driving very close to the pavement and not notice a pedestrian or cyclist.

    Thanks for sharing the information – I’m pleased that pedestrian safety is being considered.


  4. Stella

    Very pleased with the idea of moving the 30 mph signs away from the village, and hope this can be actioned.

    They are currently at the far end of my front garden and I have a two year old and a four year old. Traffic absolutely hammers past our garden. I think a lot of cars etc., believe once they are past the Spar they are out of the village.

    Can we pass on thanks to the staff in Transportation who have clearly spent a lot of time on these proposals? Thanks

  5. mari

    Although I agree the speed of traffic exiting and entering Easter Pencaitland is travelling too fast making the junction more dangerous by basically cutting the line of site for traffic coming from Tranent, I do also think that a large roundabout is not in the best interests for the type of traffic using the road. Specifically large HGVs and cyclists.

  6. Ralph Averbuch

    Comment emailed to the CC:

    In general, I agree with the ELC objectives – to make people walking more important than people in vehicles (the old joke of dyed-in-the-wool highway engineers that a pedestrian is really a motorist who has found somewhere to park.) (Although I hope that ELC are prepared to make their objectives explicit – declaring why, rather than describing what they are proposing and leaving people to presume their motives?). It seems they have assumed the problem is speed and I think they are probably correct, particularly at the war memorial junction, but I’d like to see data.

    I don’t know what the accident record is at the War Memorial although some loon I believe had a a pop at the memorial itself. That MAY have been because the ‘Stop Ahead’ sign on the road from Tranent is badly sighted and overgrown. I think the idea of moving the 30 mile/h sign to the east of the junction, towards Haddington, is right but that must imply that the B6355 to Saltoun will have to be flagged with a derestriction sign somewhere to the south of the Memorial (no bad thing, given the pedestrian traffic as far as Vinefields) and a restriction/derestriction somewhere around the ‘Stop Ahead’ sign on the Tranent Road. Re-siting the 30’s should reduce speeds and hazards at the memorial junction.

    That raises the question of whether a roundabout is necessary as well? I’m no fan of roundabouts – they have a horrendous accident rate for cyclists and, to a lessor extent, for pedestrians as well. This is particualrly important at the memorial since a high proportion of vehicles passing through are artics. When artics turn, their rear wheels track off and this is a major cause of accidents involving cyclists. Making artics pirouette through 270 degrees is NOT a good idea. The other problem with roundabouts is that they destroy motorists’ sense of direction, a problem that then has to be corrected by more direction signs than on priority junctions.

  7. Ralph Averbuch

    Comment emailed to the CC:

    Although I agree that the roundabout is a necessary improvement to the entrance to the village, I fail to see the need for the proposed pavement widening, surely by narrowing the road through the village it will make it more dangerous by the sheer number of HGVs, buses, tractors etc., that use the road, and also by preventing cars from parking on Park View and Main Street it will encourage cars to speed up toward the exit of the village by giving them a ‘clear run’.

    I have discussed the plans with many of the residents of the village and many of them are stating that they don’t know anything of the plans and are concerned about the effect they will have on the image of the village.

    I have also witnessed first hand the effect a simple set of temporary traffic lights had on the village a few weeks ago, and chaos was the main word used by many.

  8. Ralph Averbuch

    Comment emailed to the CC:

    The proposals seem quite reasonable and should improve the environment all round with regard to traffic.

    There is an opportunity here to improve access to the war memorial, which is effectively isolated from the village by the road system and the volume of traffic. The memorial is accessed by a significant number of residents (the church congregation and guides for example) every year on the 11th of November. This creates difficulties for traffic (which can be held up) and is potentially hazardous for residents accessing the memorial. Could the memorial be re-sited to the corner at the playing fields?

  9. Ralph Averbuch

    Comment emailed to the CC:

    I’d like to ask some questions and get some answers first:
    * What is the speed profile now?
    * Why is there a problem? What is the problem you’re trying to solve?
    * Who sees it as a problem? Elected members? Police? Community council?
    * What is the evidence of it being a problem? Accident record? Complaints? Prosecutions for speeding? Conflict analysis?
    * To what extent will the problem be relieved by the ELC proposals.
    * How much will the scheme cost?
    * What is the estimated value for money?

    In general I don’t think Councils should spend money on whim: they should have some objective and some means of assessing, before and after, if that objective has been achieved. In this case the speed profile before and after the money is spent. Nonetheless, having asked them to declare their objectives, if they then said that speed was not only a potential hazard but was eroding the village environment, I would accept that but would still ask what they thought the desirable speed profile should be (bit of a googly ‘cos it could (and should) then be used as a standard for all villages). (Wrapped up in all that there’s some technical stuff about the nature of speed profiles).

    At the end of all that, in general, I am in favour of civilising traffic – of making drivers behave in un-threatening ways. I think the most cost- effect, self-enforcing, way is to use a combination of peninsulas (like those on the approach to East Soltoun) protecting parking spaces. The ELC scheme spends too much money changing road-space into pavements without that much benefit to pedestrians (although that is what they should be doing on the bridge approach because there is a demonstrable pedestrian benefit.

  10. Ralph Averbuch

    Further comments emailed to the CC:

    “We think the proposals are good and agree with the roundabout plans. I think the council need to give greater consideration to factoring in cycle lanes into this. In 2012, it is essential that any new road developments should have dedicated cycle lanes, especially at roundabouts, where separate priority cycle lanes are not only in the interests of safety, but act further as a traffic calming measure. Cycle lane development also makes towns more attractive to live in. I notice in Fife, there are large stretches of shared pedestrian and cycle pavements and perhaps this could be considered for stretches of widened pavement.

    It is unclear how much the pavement will be widened between the entrance to Scholars Court and Granny’s Shop. This stretch is difficult for people with prams and the lesser-abled. It is already very narrow, but frequently cars park up on the pavement – presumably they do this to avoid obstructing the carriageway but we have often had to cross the road when taking the kids to school, and cross back again, to avoid these cars. As well as this, on a monday the binmen leave the wheelie bins out and the path is again completely blocked. Although we agree that narrowing the road here would be good, we think that measures would be needed to prevent even more cars parking up on the kerb. As well as this, cars often park off the main road right in front of the wee metal gate which gives access to the park. This creates an obstruction at the junction, and presumably blocks access for the council when they need to bring vehicles into the park. Perhaps double yellows would be helpful here.

    On the subject of the Scholars Court junction more generally, it is not really clear at present whether it is truly a junction or a pavement, and therefore, who gets priority. Presumably this will be clearer when the changes happen, but I think is an important point given the position of the park gate and the risk of children running out of here.

    On the whole, very encouraging and forward-thinking.

  11. Ralph Averbuch

    Hi Joanne

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. The Community Council had asked after two car accidents in quick succession at the junction, whether lights would be a viable option? In proposing the traffic measures across a number of areas for Pencaitland ELC’s Transport team recommended a roundabout over lights for the reasons listed in the article above.

    However, as you point out, if a roundabout is ultimately decided to be the best approach, it would be better if there was a plan which did not require relocating the memorial.

    All the best

    Pencaitland Community Council

  12. joanne sutherland

    Great idea for one end of the village (Broomrigg end) but maybe not so great for the other end.

    Taking into consideration the small shop near the football park (Grannys Old Shop), surely any reduction of parking near the shop would have a detrimental effect on this business? “Passing trade” would be unable to stop without the provision of parking bays, or similar, and I’m sure in time this would have a severe effect on this business, which is a much needed village service.

    The roundabout seems to be a lot of work and disruption (moving of a war memorial) which I would have hoped would only be considered as a last resort. Have any other proposals been received and reviewed regarding this?

    Thanks for reading, hope my points can be considered.

    Joanne Sutherland

  13. Ralph Averbuch

    Thanks Jim

    Please pass on word of the proposals to any others who may have a view on all, or just some, of what’s being put forward in the above article…



  14. Jim Fraser

    Great idea!

    Will comment in detail later, but just wanted to say we’d very much like something that might lower speed at Broomrigg Farm road end (western end of Pencaitland on A6093).

    Even a sign saying watch your speed or a speed indicator.

    But an all round good idea, I think.

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