Traffic in Portobello

On 25th May, a traffic consultation community meeting was held in Portobello to discuss the traffic issues and difficulties affecting Malborough Street, Bellfield Street, Regent Street, Straiton Place and Bath Street, which run between the High Street and the prom. The problems with access, parking blocking pavements, traffic, finding parking spaces, traffic jams, commuter short cuts through residential areas, wheelie bins blocking routes and large vehicles damaging property as they turn tight corners, are all very familiar problems for local residents and businesses.


I know I have to wheel up the middle of the road if using Malborough Street as cars are parked up on the pavements, and I’ve narrowly avoided collisions with random large trucks and lost coaches on Bath Street. If they try to squeeze round the corner of Straiton Place to get back to the High Street, it’s not always successful, as the damage to houses on both sides of the road testifies.

These are not new problems. None of these old streets were designed to accommodate high levels of car ownership, through-traffic, rush hour congestion, delivery vehicles, recycling and wheelie bins. The streets are mostly residential, though Bath Street was traditionally shared by both businesses and residential properties.

Some of the smaller and cul de sac lanes between the High Street and the prom can’t be accessed by anything larger than a taxi – if they agree to risk the unsurfaced roads. This results in major difficulties when moving house! But the small lanes weren’t part of this particular consultation as priority right now has to go to the larger streets with the most traffic difficulties and dangers.

On 11 April 2011, the East Neighbourhood Team organised a demonstration with Lothian & Borders Fire & Rescue Service and local resident to show the current difficulties caused by traffic and parking in the Portobello area.

This video was first shown on 25 May 2011 at a Public Event for local people to discuss the problems and possible suggestions with Council Officers.


Access for emergency vehicles is a valid concern. Only recently a (false) fire alarm at the Towerbank annexe on Bath Street resulted in a road block while the fire engine parked outside.

The video was accompanied by the following presentation to those attending the meeting:

Why was this event held?

This event was held because residents of Portobello have been telling us of problems they see daily with traffic and parking and ask that these be looked at. Some examples are vehicles being parked on pavements, access problems for emergency vehicles and heavy vehicles becoming stuck on corners or unable to pass.

What has been done so far?

We have surveyed the area and also tested access for emergency vehicles. We have looked at a range of options in outline and have prepared drawings to allow you to highlight areas of concern and see what some suggestions would look like, for example, one way streets or new parking spaces.

Are there detailed plans to make changes to parking?

Not at this stage. We want to get a picture of what the biggest issues for residents may be and the impacts you see of any possible changes.

What do we want from you?

We would like you to tell us if you think there are issues or problems. If you think there are how do you think these are best resolved? Equally, if you think there is no need to do anything please tell us. We are keen to hear all viewpoints to see if action is required and what the priorities should be.

What happens next?

We will collate all the information from this event and present it to the Portobello and Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership for discussion. If action is thought to be necessary we would prepare detailed proposals for further consultation with affected residents and the wider community.

Contact us:

For further information: … raigmillar

It’s uncertain how fast the reports will be compiled, let alone what kind of action will follow, if any, but for now the residents have at least had the chance to prove that there is a serious problem with traffic and pedestrian safety around these streets. Unfortunately there is no measure that can solve all the problems, but there is room for improvement.

The sunshine today will bring even larger crowds of visitors to the beach, many arriving by car. Please use the bowling centre car park at the West end of the promenade. For specific information, ask on

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