Almost half a million pounds will be spent upgrading a fleet of crossings considered to be at the top of the council’s pedestrian priority list, with traffic islands and lights due to be installed by March next year.
Outdated traffic lights throughout Edinburgh will be refurbished, with a £150,000 government windfall leaving enough cash in the city’s budget to fund two or three major upgrades from April.
But pedestrian campaigners insisted “even more resources” needed to be pumped into the Capital’s traffic infrastructure to encourage residents to ditch their cars and take to the streets.
David Spaven, chairman of pedestrian campaign group Living Streets, said: “Living Streets welcome any investment in improving conditions for pedestrians. But we would like to see even more resources being devoted to the needs of pedestrians.
“At the end of the day almost everybody is a pedestrian – it’s as natural as breathing.
“There is a strong interest across the board in seeing much better conditions. We should be expanding the number of people that are walking, rather than making life more difficult for them.”
The raft of new pedestrian crossings will cost around £455,000 to construct, with eight of the planned upgrades expected to set the council back £40,000 each.
Henderson Street, Ocean Drive, Telford Road, Dalry Road, Corstorphine Road, London Street, Ferniehill Drive and Colinton Road will all see fully signalled crossings installed under the proposals.
The report submitted to the council’s transport and environment committee also highlighted that 74 of the Capital’s 554 traffic lights were more than 20 years old, exceeding their design life and making many of them a high priority for refurbishment.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, insisted road safety was a top council priority.
She said: “Road safety is incredibly important to the council, and as such we recognise the necessity for adequate pedestrian crossing facilities.
“Our robust assessment process leads to investment in facilities at locations considered as having the greatest demand in consultation with the local community.
“In addition to constructing new crossings, the council has committed to an ongoing refurbishment programme, ensuring the efficiency of existing traffic lights.”
The new pedestrian crossings come on the back of a city-wide drive to open up the Capital’s streets to walkers and cyclists, with a new 20mph speed limit set to be imposed on cars throughout the city under plans given the go-ahead at a council meeting on Tuesday.