I have observed with some interest recent workings of the East Lothian Council roads department as they seek to improve the welfare and convenience of pedestrians negotiating the county’s increasingly busy roads. I struggle to identify consistent themes that might indicate their strategy in this very welcome effort.

The development last year in Longniddry is the most obvious recent example. A walkway was constructed under the railway bridge at the Coal Road to permit residents of the new development to walk safely into the village. This required the insertion of traffic lights at the junction of the Coal Road with the A198. This has a very welcome calming effect on traffic speeds coming into the village. In addition, another pedestrian-controlled crossing of the (very busy) A198 was installed in the middle of the village. Whilst such crossings are always to be welcomed on busy roads, it is not clear to me why a second one was needed, or what benefit is gained locating it less than 100 yards from the existing crossing.

The Burnell Park development on the A6137 in Haddington was another example that interested Aberlady residents. Traffic lights were installed to ease the flow of vehicles into and out of Phillips Avenue. I have no data to support this, but I doubt that the A6137 is as busy as the A198 through Aberlady.

When the Meadowside development in Aberlady was in proposal, we suggested that a similar traffic light arrangement located at the junction of The Pleasance with the A198 would be appropriate. It would have the advantage of slowing traffic coming into the village.

Traffic speeding into the village from the west has always been a concern, not least because the west end of Aberlady has three very public spaces which give rise to increased pedestrian traffic. These are the parish church, the primary school and the SOC bird centre. A pedestrian-controlled crossing at this junction would also enable the children catching the school bus to North Berwick to cross the main road safely. It appears that this suggestion lacked merit.

I suppose the residents of Aberlady should count their blessings. Those of Drem have absolutely no crossing at all. Practically every one of them lives the opposite side of the B1377 from the railway station, a road that is surely as busy as the A198, in spite of its ‘B’ status. To get to the station, they must take their life in their hands without benefit of a 20mph speed limit; or, indeed, of a 30mph limit. The phrase ‘an accident waiting to happen’ seems apt, here and in Aberlady’s circumstances. A cynic might wonder if perhaps an accident is a necessary criterion for the roads department to consider installation of pedestrian/traffic management measures?

I wonder if a representative of the department might use your pages to provide some insights into the criteria they use in these matters.

Angus McCallum

Main Street


A council spokesperson said: “Proposals are put forward with any new development which are assessed by planning officers. In many cases, these will include road improvements including controlled crossing. With regards to Longniddry, these crossings were funded by the developer. These developer-funded controlled crossing points provide a link between the dedicated pedestrian/cycle route from Longniddry South development onto A198 Main Street via the Argyll Bridge tunnel to the primary school, bus stops and local amenities. These will be well used and are very much welcomed. In response to the Phillips Avenue site, the need for signals was due to the reduced visibility at the junction and on the approach coupled with the topography of the ground on the approaches. It was therefore the only safe means of access. In Aberlady, junction works are still to be approved through planning but this will still be a simple priority junction as the visibility is good (as is the flat alignment). It should also be noted that Aberlady now has a reduced speed limit of 20mph with additional parking restrictions being introduced at the bend near the Indian restaurant following representation from the community council. We continue to engage with local members and the community council regarding road-related matters, which are very important for East Lothian Council and our communities.”