Fury over junction reopening

Photo Emma Mitchell 31.10.16
Shared space, Kirkintilloch
Photo Emma Mitchell 31.10.16 Shared space, Kirkintilloch

A Kirkintilloch high street is to be fully reopened to traffic in two weeks time – with all four arms of a busy junction operating without traffic lights.

East Dunbartonshire Council Leader Rhondda Geekie said on Monday the current phase of works on the controversial shared space scheme at Cowgate will be “substantially completed” before Saturday, November 26.

Local MSP Rona Mackay, has slammed the decision to reopen the junction as 
“irresponsible”.

The news comes as Transport Minister Humza Yousaf is due to give evidence on shared spaces at Holyrood tomorrow (Thursday).

Councillor Rhondda Geekie, Leader of the Council, said: “The current phase of works on Cowgate – from Catherine Street to just before the Auld Kirk Museum – is due to be substantially completed before the Christmas lights switch-on which takes place on Saturday, November 26.

“Cowgate will then be fully reopened to traffic, with all four arms of the Catherine Street/Kerr Street junction in operation.

“Works on the final phase will take place at the top end of Cowgate at William Patrick Library, with West High Street closed to vehicles, from January 9.”

But Ms Mackay hit out at the move to reopen the junction without reinstating the traffic lights.

The MSP, who says the shared space “puts visually impaired and vulnerable people at serious risk”, added: “Council Leader Rhondda Geekie has ignored my request – and more importantly hundreds of Kirkintilloch residents – to have traffic lights re-instated at the correct place to ensure the safety of pedestrians and road users.

“To have four arms of this junction functioning without lights is simply irresponsible and disrespectful to those who have been campaigning for equal access to their town centre, such as East Dunbartonshire Visually Impaired People’s Forum, the elderly and less able residents.

“Transport Minister Humza Yousaf will be giving evidence on Shared Spaces on Thursday to the Petitions Committee at Holyrood, of which I am a member. Campaigner Sandy Taylor brought the petition forward and I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response on the matter.”

On Monday, Mr Taylor said: “Members of EDVIP will continue to campaign for the re-instatement of traffic lights and controlled crossings,”