Bus gate camera 'sliced in two' in protest over traffic surveillance

The vandalism followed recent incidents including paint being thrown on the signs and graffiti in the street.

A camera pole at a controversial trial bus gate in Edinburgh has been sliced in two in a protest over new traffic calming measures.

The new layout at the busy junction of Manse Road and St John’s Road in Corstorphine has prompted anger from city motorists since it was introduced in May, with the road being closed to cars between 8am and 10am and 2.45pm to 6.45pm.

Cameras have been introduced as part of the trial bus gate scheme, named Corstorphine Connections, to catch motorists using the junction at these times, with fines issued for doing so.

Over the weekend between July 22 and July 23, the pole supporting the bus gate cameras was cut in two in an act of vandalism, which follows recent incidents including paint being thrown on the signs and graffiti in the street.

City of Edinburgh Council’s transport and environment convener, councillor Scott Arthur, responded to the incident and said: “There’s no excuse for dangerous criminal behaviour like this. We are lucky a member of the public reported it to us early on Sunday morning so that our crews could quickly attend and make the column safe, and I’d like to thank them for this.

“The trial road safety measures in Corstorphine aim to address the fact that the majority of local residents feel there is an issue with vehicles in the area. Given that context, this type of reckless criminal behaviour is shameful, and I know that local people both for and against the scheme are concerned about what’s happened. The damage to council property and the graffiti is completely unacceptable and all it achieves is disruption, expense and a damaging effect on the reputation of a great local community.

“We’ll be reviewing CCTV footage and speaking to police this week, and I’d urge anyone who knows who may be responsible for this senseless criminal act to reach out to the police too. Given the risk the damage posed to the people in the adjacent retirement housing, I hope those responsible are promptly brought to justice.”

A pole with bus lane camera was vandalised over the weekend.Twitter

The road design was approved by the Transport and Environment Committee in August 2021 following engagement with the local community, with independent market research showing that 67 per cent of people living in the area thought vehicle traffic was a problem.

Cllr Arthur added: “I know already that many parents have enjoyed being able to walk and cycle more easily with their children in the area since the council started implementing the scheme, particularly during the recent warmer weather.

“The council retained access for all residents travelling by car too. Ultimately, however, improving safety in the street does have some impact on vehicle use – primarily for delivery drivers etc cutting through on the way to somewhere else.

“There are plenty of safe and sensible ways to share your views on this trial which we are keen to listen to. I have now attended the local community council twice to listen to residents, and I’ve made sure a council officer attended every time it met over the past year to answer questions and collect feedback. I have also said I will return whenever they want.

“Additionally, I have done the school run with a local parent, met with a second resident and have a further meeting with a local resident in the pipeline.”

Jackie Conner, of local community group Accessible Corstorphine for Everyone, said: “We are against something being implemented that the community didn’t want. We strongly condemn the vandalism and we’ve put, myself and one of the other admins, have put up a couple of posts on Facebook just reminding people that this isn’t going to solve anything. I’m not saying it was anybody that was part of the group. I don’t know who it was, but we need to remain respectful. 

“The council is not going to take anything seriously if they think we’re involved with vandalism and we would urge anybody considering anything similar to just pause and think, ‘what is it going to achieve?’ It’s definitely not the way to go.”

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