|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||1.8 miles (2.9 km)|
|Meets:||A1, A7, B901, B1350, A901, A199|
|Route outline (key)|
The A900 plays a unique role in the numbering system: it forms the boundary between zones 1 and 9, and is thus the only multiple-digit road to form a complete boundary between numbering zones. It's about a mile and a half long, running from the centre of Edinburgh to the dockside at Leith. Most of the route goes along the street popularly called Leith Walk, although confusingly for much of this length the left and right sides have different and frequently-changing names. Most of the A900 was included in plans for Edinburgh's new tram system, but as yet this stops at York Place just short of the A900; but there have been modifications and removal of central reservations in parts to facilitate tram lines.
The A900 starts at Edinburgh's East End Junction, which is the convergence of the A1, A7 and A8 and so the only point in the country where four numbering zones meet (zones 1, 6, 7 and 9). The first dual-carriageway section, Leith Street, has views of Calton Hill (increasingly obscured by office blocks) on the right-hand side and the rather less appealing St James shopping centre on the left. It comes to the Picardy Place roundabout by the red-brick Roman Catholic cathedral, where it forks to the right as Leith Walk (the name for the main stretch of this road). This section by the Playhouse was notable for the "talking traffic lights" where pedestrians, instead of the usual "beep-beep-beep" noise, used to hear a recorded voice informing them which direction of traffic has been signalled to stop – introduced for the benefit of blind people who might not otherwise know which carriageway is safe to cross. The area to the left of this stretch has a reputation as Edinburgh's gay village and is sometimes known as the "pink triangle". The west side is called Union Place then Antigua Street further north; the east side is Greenside Place then Baxters Place, although there isn't much signage.
After the next roundabout junction with the original London Road (B1350), Leith Walk stretches ahead as a straight and rather austere-looking dual carriageway. The east side (right hand going down) is known as Elm Row for two blocks. Leith Walk and particularly this section is notable for the number of Italian cafés and delicatessens along the route – the area was a focus for Italian immigration after the Second World War. The west side is Gayfield Place, then Haddington Place.
The crossing with Brunswick Road and McDonald Road is one of the few crossroads on Leith Walk where streets to the east and west line up. To the west up McDonald Road is a fire station and a lot of traffic calming; up Brunswick Road until a few years ago was a big Royal Mail sorting office, but this has now been demolished and replaced by flats. The east (right) side of the A900 is here known as Brunswick Place, Croall Place, and Albert Place, while Crichton Place is on the west. Just north of McDonald Road the A900 crosses a railway siding formerly part of the line to Trinity and Granton. On the left at Shrubhill is a derelict lot which was early in the 20th century home to the old tram depot and associated power station, and was more recently used as a bus depot.
The A900 then reaches Pilrig Street on the left (west), the traditional boundary between Edinburgh and Leith. On the right is the Boundary Bar (for a few years renamed City Limits, now back to the old name) which allows you the choice of drinking in Edinburgh at one side of the public house or Leith at the other. Beyond there the street is a bit less busy although still lined with lots of pubs and cafes and a few other shops. The road is unambiguously known as Leith Walk on both sides from just south of Pilrig Street, northwards. The remaining section has been modified as plans for a tram line were advanced and then dropped; it is now S2 with additional width used by cycle lanes and parking bays. Near the bottom, the goods line to Leith Docks formerly crossed the road on a bridge which has now been demolished, but the railway arches by Manderston Street indicate its path. There has been some talk about reconstructing the bridge as part of a cycle route, as yet without firm commitment.
You are now almost at the end of Leith Walk. On the right was the old Leith Central station, now replaced by a children's play centre and supermarket. The road arrives at traffic lights at the "Foot O' Leith Walk", which is the junction with the A901 and (for some) the start of Leith proper. The final stretch is Constitution Street, a narrower road signed as unsuitable for HGVs. Along Constitution Street the A900 passes Leith Police Station, formerly the town hall, and runs down to the A199, ending at traffic lights by a statue of Robert Burns; it was intended that the tram would come down here and turn left at the bottom and head past Victoria Quay to Newhaven. The docks are ahead, served by the tail end of Constitution Street, but the A900 goes no further.