24th February 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

POLL: Lerwick traffic calming ‘nightmare’

The zebra crossing on the Esplanade. Traffic calming measures have been described as a ‘nightmare’. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Lerwick’s controversial traffic calming measures have come under fresh criticism from the SIC’s political leader.

Shetland Islands Council leader Cecil Smith says the Lerwick traffic calming scheme is a ‘nightmare’.

Cecil Smith says the new layout is causing confusion among a number of motorists.

He has described the new system as a “nightmare”, adding several people have reported to him being involved in near misses since the new measures were implemented.

Mr Smith raised the matter at last night’s meeting of the town’s community council.

However, a police officer attending the meeting said he was unaware of any increase in complaints to Police Scotland.

“Since the Esplanade works have been done a number of residents have contacted me and said how many near misses they had had with cars and buses and lorries, because nobody seems to know what’s doing what,” Mr Smith said.

“I wonder what observations you’ve had since it came to pass,” he asked police officer George Owen, who was attending the meeting to give an update on the force’s policing report for August.

“To me, driving through occasionally, it is a nightmare,” Mr Smith added. “You don’t know where people are going to jump from.”

Mr Owen said the issue may well be worth highlighting to the council’s roads department, although he urged Mr Smith to contact the police if he himself should be involved in a near-miss.

“I haven’t been aware of that many complaints about the issue you are mentioning to me, but it would be something worth highlighting to the roads department of the council,” Mr Owen said.

“If you have a near miss yourself you can always contact us directly. If the layout of the road itself is causing confusion then that is something that needs to be highlighted with the roads department.”

Community councillor Arwed Wenger said he had experienced “a funny situation” when he wanted to cross at what just happened to be a raised section of road. To his surprise, a car stopped to give way to him.

“I didn’t expect that,” he said.

• More from the community council meeting in Friday’s Shetland Times

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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  1. Gillian ramsay

    I don’t understand some of the comments. The speed bumps are fine if you drive over them slowly . If a piece of road is unknown’ you drive slowly. If you think folk might jump out. Drive slowly. If you can’t see round the bend, drive slowly. Personally as a former shop owner and granny to a toddler who loves walking on the street, I am far more concerned about the cars that blatantly ignores the no access sign. I f police manned that at 11.30 and 5 pm each day , for 30 minutes it would soon be sorted. They would need to get out of their cars though…..

  2. Jill Whitfield

    Traffic calming???? What traffic is there to calm please

    • John Tay

      If there is no traffic to clam they there is no problem. So why so many question mark???????

  3. Colin Wiseman

    Just ruined the centre of Lerwick as a bonny place to be, so in your face. Almost got a couple of elderly people below the Clydesdale bank, as I presume, they thought the marked road was some sort of crossing and walked boldly over the road in front of me. I avoid the street now as much as possible.

  4. James Paton

    Perhaps drivers, including Cllr Smith, should re-read their Highway Code re pedestrians.
    Interesting that he has got on his high horse about this, when their are some pending ward neighbourhood amenity matters I raised on behalf of my elderly parents, when home back in July, that still remain unaddressed some 3 months later!

  5. Brian Smith

    The more zebra crossings there are in Lerwick, the better. Shetland drivers do not understand the brake.

    • Rosa Steppanova

      As a pedestrian I have always found Shetland drivers to be polite and considerate. They invariably stop or slow down to allow me to cross a road. If they fail to use their brakes for Brian, he should perhaps ask himself why.

      • Ali Inkster


      • Brian Smith

        Whit a pair!

  6. Kharis Leggate

    I wouldn’t say it’s a nightmare but there are odd placements of things and markings for which the purpose is not clear – The zebra crossings at Westside Pine and LHD are fine and I don’t find the speed bumps a major issue. What is confusing is that weird red/sand stripey bit below the Clydesdale, is it to be used like a zebra crossing? Or if not then what is it?
    Also, the positioning of the third crossing at the entrance to South Commercial Street is pretty awful. It’s too close to the sharp corner coming up from the pier, as well as being in the middle of the access to both parts of Commercial Street. It would have made far more sense and been much safer to position it where the original crossing was a bit further up.

  7. Janet Dunnet

    Street calming is that a joke the whole place is a shambles …just another way of keeping people of the street I avoid town as much as possible as that speed bumps are not good for cars. I don’t believe it has slowed anyone down either as less cars can be bothered to go into town. The street is where the problem arises disabled parking at royal bank is not used by disabled and don’t get me started on the market cross utter nightmare town

  8. Robert Wishart

    The traffic calming and 20 limit surely isn’t legal yet. No signs. The bumps are hardly noticeable at 30 in our new Subaru!

  9. Steven Jarmson

    I think the options in the survey show reflects the larger problems in Shetland.
    The option- Lerwick has bigger problems, should really be SHETLAND has bigger problems.
    After all, it wasn’t the Lerwick Islands Council that stupidly wasted the money, although, the way the Council seems unable to see beyond the limits of Lerwick, the passive observer could be forgiven for thinking the council’s only job is to provide things in Lerwick.

  10. Jane Harper Laverty

    What traffic ? what street ? what Lerwick ? might as well turn the whole of ” in ower ” into a disabled car park then the tourists off the cruise ships can wander between charity shops unhindered .As far as I can see the street is finished and this was the final nail in the coffin

    • Brian Smith

      If God had intended you to sit in a car permanently he would have given you wheels.

      • Michael Garriock

        Moot point. The existence of ‘God’ is, as yet, unproven, and the term ‘God’ consequently suffers from ambigious definition.

        Although, hypothetically speaking, if ‘God’ were proven to exist, without a clear edict from she/it/he stating their comprehensive views on homo sapiens use of the wheel, it could equally be argued that as ‘God’ had facilitated and permitted its invention and production, it would be unappreciative and disrespectful to ‘God’ for homo sapiens not to make full use of the benefits of their benevolence.

  11. Haydn Gear

    Is Brian Smith saying that he knows of people who sit in their cars PERMANENTLY? That is to say NEVER getting out. That seems very unlikely to me. For sure there are drivers who spend many long hours behind the wheel ( taxi drivers, bus drivers, lorry drivers etc ) but I doubt that they never get out. Even God ( if he exists—which is unlikely) is probably getting around heaven in a wheelchair at his/her extremely old age !

  12. Kerry Ferguson

    Living in Toronto, Canada, I have been following the Shetland Times for a short time now, and envying the slower pace of life. Every day I spend 2 hours circling around and driving through a city of 2 million+ and regularly dodging near misses at high speeds, or pedestrians stepping off sidewalks, or bicycles running red lights. The thoughts of Lerwick traffic appealed to me.

    But I guess not.


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