Bernard Terrace Zebra Crossing

September 23rd 2021 - another week's delay

The Council say:

August 31st 2021 - Good News

We have just heard from the Council that the crossing installation will begin in October.
In a letter, a Council official said:

Update, August 27th 2021 - Delayed again!

After a request for an update in June, and a reminder earlier this month, we have now received the following reply from the Active Travel Team:

Again, we are very disappointed and frustrated by this further delay, and hope that we do see a crossing on Bernard Terrace in 2021.

Update, April 17th 2021

We are very disappointed and frustrated that this project is further delayed. The actions log from the Transport and Environment Committee of the City Council reveals that:

In a further email, this one from Andrew Easson, Road Safety & Active Travel Manager, some more details were revealed:

Update March 8th 2021

Alan Dunlop, the officer in charge of this project, has emailed a report:

Update February 19th 2021

Alan Dunlop, the officer in charge of this project, has emailed a report:

Update February 12th 2021

Councillor Cameron Rose raised the subject of the crossing at the recent Transport and Environment Committee to keep the pressure up. It looks as if progress is being made, but we suspect dates have slipped a bit. We understand that the Safety Audit is complete, but we don't know if the job has been put out to tender. We continue to be frustrated by the lack of response from officials to our requests for progress reports.

Update December 4th 2020

When we asked if the crossing would be in place by April 2021, Alan Dunlop replied:

Update November 30th 2020

On 30th November 2020, Alan Dunlop sent this further update:

November 2020

On 6th November Alan Dunlop sent this further update:

October 2020

We asked Alan Dunlop for a further update, and this is what he says:

We wonder why it is all taking so long. Why is it so complicated to design a zebra crossing?

News 23rd March 2020

Despite what we were told earlier this month (see below), it seems we are to have a zebra crossing after all.

City of Edinburgh Senior Transport Team Leader Alan Dunlop says:

Itís been some time since my last update in August and Iíd hoped to have provided further information before now. I havenít been party to the Freedom of Information correspondence in relation to the earlier Road Safety proposal to provide a controlled Toucan crossing in Bernard Terrace and itís difficult to provide further comment on the apparent disparity. However, the plans for the NEP funded zebra crossing have progressed and after considering various designs, I attach details of the preferred option for a crossing that prioritises pedestrian movements over the necessity to maintain a wider carriageway and is consistent with the principles of the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance.

Youíll note that the crossing is as near to the North-South pedestrian desire line as possible and itís hoped will encourage use by those who may not otherwise have crossed at a site set further back from the junction with St Leonardís Street. This can be viewed as quite radical, but the approach sightlines are good, and St Leonardís Street is sufficiently wide to accommodate turning vehicles if they have to wait for those on the crossing.

This is being progressed at detailed design stage by our external designers and will be prepared for tender issue in due course. As you may be aware, the majority of Council officers are now working from home, where possible, and although weíll continue to maintain all the services we can, there will be an inevitable impact as the situation develops. However, itís hoped that progress on this scheme will continue as planned.

Still no firm timescales, but we do have a drawing which you can download:
Bernard Terrace Proposed Zebra Crossing General Arrangement

Here is how we think it might look:

Photomontage with zebra crossing

What a long time it takes to get a zebra crossing!

The need for a safe way for pedestrians to cross Bernard Terrace at St Leonards Street was first raised in the Souhside Community Council in 2007. A pavement bulge was installed at that time with the promise that further measures would be taken if necessary.

We stated at the time that we didn't think a pavement bulge would solve the problem. What we asked for then was a pedestrian refuge.

Each year for the past few years the South Central Neighbourhood Partnership, the arm of the City Council that looks after our area, have alocated some money and asked us what we would like it spent on. There is usually some for roads capital projects, and we are asked to suggest schemes that are needed in the area, and they are then voted on, most recently by the "Participatory Budgeting" method. In the last round of this process we suggested a pedestrian crossing of Bernard Terrace near the junction with St Leonards Street. In the voting it came top of the poll, so it should have been completely funded, but it hasn't appeared yet.

The voting took place in January 2018, and we understood this was in the 17/18 budget, so it should have happened quite quickly. Now we hear that there is a discussion within the Council as to what kind of crossing it should be. There is a list, apparently, of all the places that pedestrian crossings with traffic lights are needed, and these are prioritised by how urgent they are, and it seems Bernard Terrace is some way down that list. However, we didn't ask for a signalised crossing - a zebra crossing would be just fine, and quite a bit cheaper. So why the delay?

We are now calling on the Council to get this crossing in place as quickly as possible. This is a busy place, with lots of school pupils and university students crossing here. We hope no-one will be hurt here before the Council gets round to putting in the crossing they have promised.

If you feel as we do that this crossing is badly needed, and soon, please write to your Councillors and ask them keep the pressure on officials to make progress with this crossing.

Update, June 2019

In an email to the SCC, a Council official says:

After clarifying that weíd progress the zebra proposal on Bernard Terrace rather than deferring until Road Safety could consider a signal controlled crossing, it had been the intention to have our Transport Design & Delivery or Active Travel team design and implement the crossing in accordance with the Councilís Street Design Guidance. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, resources are not currently available to take on the scheme, but I have had preliminary discussions with external design consultants, Capita, to design the crossing and progress through tendering to the construction stage.

I will update once I have further information and hopefully will be able to give an idea on the programme timescale.


We are disappointed that there is as yet no firm timetable for the installation of this much needed crossing.

Update March 2020

Our sister organisation, the Southside Association, put in a Freedom of Information request asking when we are going to get the Zebra Crossing.

The reply was most unsatisfactory, and didn't really answer the questions asked. It talked about a signalised crossing, saying "It is currently anticipated that the proposed crossing facility on Bernard Terrace will be delivered during the 2021/22 financial year."

Our concerns are that in this extra delay there is a strong chance of somebody being injured crossing the road, and also that a signalised crossing will be posistioned further from the junction than a zebra crossing, making a big detour for pedestrians. This means people won't use it, and will continue to cross in a dangerous way.

It would appear that the Council officials have decided to ignore our request for a zebra crossing, and plan, eventually, to put in a signalised crossing. This makes a complete mockery of local democracy and the participatory budgeting process. However the latest news indicates this is not true. See top of page.

Here is what we wrote to our ward Councillors and Mr Dunlop:

Dear Ward Councillors and Mr Dunlop

The Southside Community Council are very disappointed that the zebra crossing we had been promised for Bernard Terrace, near the junction with St Leonards Street, has apparently been abandoned.

We have been told over the years about the benefits of local democracy and local decision making, and I think the Roads Capital Programme, and the Participatory Budgeting exercises have been an attempt to bring this into being. How frustrating, then, for those of us who joined in this local decision making, came up with projects asked for by local people, and put in the effort required to let the City Council and its officials know exactly what we wanted, to have our suggestions abandoned in this way. We are given the impression that our opinions have no value. The arguments for local democracy say that local knowledge is valuable, and the insights of the residents of an area are valuable in decision making about that area. The impression we are now given is that local knowledge and insights have no value. Not only that, but also we donít need to know what is planned. In June 2019 we were told ďAfter clarifying that weíd progress the zebra proposal on Bernard Terrace rather than deferring until Road Safety could consider a signal controlled crossing,ÖĒ. Now, in March 2020 we find out through an FOI that ďA pedestrian crossing assessment was undertaken on Bernard Terrace, at St Leonardís Street in October 2017, and this location met the criteria for a signalised pedestrian crossing facilityÖIt is currently anticipated that the proposed crossing facility on Bernard Terrace will be delivered during the 2021/22 financial yearĒ

Either the separate parts of the Council do not communicate effectively with one another, or there has been a deliberate attempt to mislead the local community into believing they were getting what they asked for.

As you can tell, we are far from happy with this state of affairs, and we would ask your advice as to how we can take things forward to improve the situation. How can we get Council officials to communicate with us in a way that promotes transparency of decision making? Has local democracy been completely abandoned? If so, why are people still paying lip-service to it?