Braid estate and Whitehouse Loan

Update March 2024

The good, the bad, the ugly…

The good – a new filter

For the Whitehouse Loan modal filter at Strathearn Rd, council officers recommended the “revised option 2” and this was voted through at the council’s Transport & Environment Committee (TEC) meeting of 7th March 2024. This preserves the full filter on Whitehouse Loan, while introducing a new one on Clinton Rd to prevent rat running traffic there. The precise location of the filter on Clinton Rd is still to be decided by officers.

Unfortunately the council also agreed to look at an expensive and overengineered “alternative design”, so the filter on Whitehouse Loan remains under threat.

The bad – the Braid estate

Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories voted for option 3 for the Braid estate – to remove all the modal filters that form a part low-traffic-neighbourhood and replace them with a segregated cycle lanes. Our deputation to TEC details the reasons why this was a terrible decision.

Unfortunately, the SNP and Greens were out-voted in their motions to keep and enhance the existing filters and add new ones. This would have brought the estate close to being a full low-traffic-neighbourhood. What we could have had is shown below as option 1, which was also the option recommended by the council officers who were sadly overruled.

The ugly – uncomfortable councillors

The Transport Convenor and Labour councillor, Scott Arthur, was visibly uncomfortable during the discussion, taking an unusually long time to sum up his motion to remove the filters. He also resorted to arguments over semantics when challenged by other councillors.

When challenged on the costs of the proposed segregated cycle lanes on Braid Ave, a circular discussion with officers ensued. Councillors soon discovered they had no money available for the lanes and that cheaper rubber kerbs were “not an option”.

Lib Dem councillor Sanne Dijkstra-Downie appeared unwilling to vote against the filters and left the meeting, substituting ward councillor Neil Ross to “do the dirty”.

Later we heard a deputation from Newington ward councillor Pauline Flannery (Lib Dems) who referenced an earlier conversation about “no one is looking to reverse the smoking ban or seat belt laws”. She stated that “we should not impose traffic changes on people” – the (inadvertent?) implication being that we should not have imposed a smoking ban or seatbelt laws on people!

In summing up, the Transport Convenor Scott Arthur said, “I’ll make a prediction – if we do go for this option [ripping out the modal filters], people in the Braid estate, many of whom support this option, are going to be contacting us, possibly asking for some of these filters to come back. And as a committee, given the nature of this debate, I think we have to be open to those requests.” He is essentially admitting that removing the filters is a mistake. And yet they still voted to make that mistake!

Finally, in a last-ditch desperate plea, councillor Findlay McFarlane (SNP) appealed to the Convenor, “come on Labour, don’t do it [don’t rip out filters that keep kids safe]”

The vote to remove the filters, that keep kids safe, came mere hours after an emotional motion at the same committee, discussing the death of a child on Edinburgh’s roads.

Further reading:

The existing filter at Whitehouse Loan and Strathearn is shown below.

Previous consultation

The council are consulting on options for the area around Whitehouse Loan and Clinton Rd as well as the Braid estate (or “the Clunys”). Three options for each area are given. Below we give an appraisal for each.

Thank you to all who have taken part in the previous consultations – you are amazing and the reason we still have these measures to date! It’s important you do so again to show that the safety of our kids is a priority. To do that, head to the Council’s survey via this link. The survey closes on 22 October 2023.


Children’s safety should not be up for debate. Only the options which include additional modal filters and don’t weaken existing ones, will keep children safe. Such interventions are proven to reduce by 50% the chance of injury or death to your child.

Whitehouse Loan and Clinton Rd area

We support option 2 for Whitehouse Loan, to keep the existing filter on Whitehouse Loan and to add a new one on Clinton Rd. This will protect and enhance the multiple benefits of this small low traffic neighbourhood.

Braid estate (the Clunys)

We support option 1 for the Braid estate, to keep the existing measures in the Braid estate and to add a new filter at Braid Crescent. This option will protect the Quiet Route and also offers the best value for money. We estimate the cost of the alternative proposals (segregated cycle lane) to be around £500,000, compared to the cost of an additional modal filter at around £10,000. A survey conducted by a resident showed that 75% of 32 households on Braid Ave would like to keep the filter on their street.

We are disappointed that none of the options for the Braid estate offer a full low-traffic neighbourhood, i.e., by removing through-traffic from Hermitage Drive and Midmar Drive. The reason given by the council for not doing this is delays to public transport on Comiston Road. We agree that delays to public transport are unacceptable, however opening up residential streets to through-traffic does not solve these delays and has a negative impact on people living in those streets.

Reasons why the other options should be rejected:

The consultation will ask you to rank the various options, with no option to say you disagree with any of the options. Please use the free-comments box to make clear you only support the safest options.

Allowing southbound traffic to enter Whitehouse Loan would bring a return to speeding and intrusive traffic on a key route for children walking and cycling to school. Speeding is especially made worse by the width and downhill slope of the street. A new through-route from Strathearn Rd via Hope Terrace to Kilgraston Road is also opened up, presenting a new risk to pedestrians and children on bikes, particularly at the junctions. Traffic on Strathearn Rd would see additional delays at the junction due to new turns into Whitehouse Loan blocking or slowing following traffic (often these are not residents but car drivers attempting to shave a few seconds off a journey and inadvertently slowing down the whole system for all users).

Adding segregated cycle lanes to Braid Avenue does not bring the wider benefits of a low-traffic neighbourhood to the resident community, and are very expensive and time-consuming to implement. It also sets an unsustainable precedent for all residential streets in the city to have segregated lanes. The segregated cycle lanes are only offered to allow drivers to continue to speed and rat-run through residential streets, diverting funds and resources from where segregated lanes are really required, which is on main roads.

The options presented have not been costed, yet the costs between them will vary enormously. This makes it impossible for residents to take a fully informed decision. As stated above, we estimate the cost of the segregated cycle lane to be around £500,000, compared to the cost of an additional modal filter at around £10,000.

From a social justice point of view, it’s hard to justify £500,000 being spent on one of the most affluent areas in the city, to the detriment of other areas, simply to reintroduce through-traffic for cars.

The council voted in June’s Transport Environment Committee meeting that “changes would not dilute the aims of the Greenbank to Meadows Quiet Route scheme”. Allowing intrusive traffic by removing filters does dilute those aims.

Consultation document

On this page, we haven’t replicated the council’s detailed information on each of the options.

For easy reference, and to preview the consultation before filling out the online form, you may download a “paper” version of the survey document: