🚲 edi.bike | issue 25 | 29th Jan ‘24
top o’ the transport hierarchy to ye
Welcome to your weekly roundup of cycle travel news, events and infrastructure progress in Edinburgh. This week: I accidentally wrote you an essay wrapped in a weekly digest. You might find you need to open this in your web browser if it gets cut off further down.
📰 News this Week
🔥 The Council’s Transport and Environment Committee (TEC) released papers this week ahead of their February meeting, including a whole set of future transport plans - but caused quite the ruckus in terms of what they’ve set out to do in the North of Edinburgh. Enough of a ruckus that this has its own section below ⏬
🔮 Excellent look ahead to ‘What’s in store for 24?’ by Spokes which we managed to miss when it was published earlier this month - a really worthwhile read on their website;
📺 Thoughtful and compelling interview with activist Ewan Maclean - covering Blackford Safe Routes, the history of the James Gillespies’ Bike Bus, filters and traffic evaporation, and the need for strong political will to make the right choices for the benefit of local communities;
🚗 Today (29th Jan) marks the start of enforcement for a ban on pavement parking, double parking and parking over dropped kerbs. Why not bookmark this council reporting page on your phone and do your bit for users of wheelchairs, prams and also pavement users with visual impairments;
✊ January’s Edinburgh Critical Mass group protest / community ride was well attended and finished up at The Causey Development Trust to learn about the local community project there to improve the street:
Photos courtesy of Alex Robertson; more on Critical Mass EdinburghFB
🗡️ Speaking of The Causey, they’re running Our Streets - a linocut workshop about walking, cycling and other forms of active travel with Beetroots Collective CIC, from which the artworks will be “digitalised, animated and projected during a street event at the Causey in early March 2024”. You can book into one of the weekly workshops here;
📰 “Edinburgh must take cyclists' safety seriously” - Jodi Gordon in the Scotsman;
🌆 Transport & Environment Committee: Big Plans and a Big Stushie
📄 Ahead of its meeting on 1st February, the TEC’s papers have been published online.
The committee’s Convener, Cllr Scott Arthur, also posted a 16m videoX detailing the agenda.
There’s a lot in there, but the major (new) pieces are:
7.2 Our Future Streets – a circulation plan for Edinburgh:
Introduced at page 365 of the Agenda Reports Pack [PDF] -
The report can then be found at page 382 of the PDF;
📐 A “Streetspace Allocation Framework” (SAF), “to ensure that limited space on the city’s streets is used to best effect, in line with the aims and objectives of the City Mobility Plan (CMP), seeking to address the Climate and Nature Emergencies, with individual projects and initiatives always taking the SAF as the starting point.”
🗺️ A map of the ‘recommended future cycle network’ - on page 413 of the Agenda Reports Pack [PDF] - there are several more integrated maps and diagrams between page 413 and 419 if the visuals are helpful to you too!
🪄 An enhanced plan for “Edinburgh City Centre Transformation” (ECCT) including “an experimental closure of the Cowgate to some or all through traffic in 2024” - pushing it further “with the aim of delivering a thriving, people-friendly, nature positive and climate adapted centre that works better for residents, businesses, shoppers and visitors and facilitates further investment in the expansion of the city’s tram system. Achieving this requires removing through traffic from a significant area, though retaining access for all”;
The favoured plan, ‘Option C’, can be seen below or in full on page 446 of the Agenda Reports Pack [PDF].
This looks, on paper, like a pretty big deal - time will tell how much the level of pedestrian priority and blocking of through-traffic potentially gets watered down prior to implementation;
It also includes “removal of through general traffic from the Bridges corridor – complementing the Granton to Bioquarter tram proposals” (see below), and the “removal of through general traffic from the Cowgate and Canongate”;
‘Option C’ would also “create an extensive area between Lothian Road, Lauriston Place, Holyrood Park and Queen Street and without general through / car traffic”.
🛣️ Seeking agreement to “progress designs for an integrated street upgrade for the A8 as a key corridor from Roseburn to Gogar, incorporating a transformation of St Johns Road as a shopping street for people, better provision for people walking/wheeling, protected cycling infrastructure and measures to improve bus journey times and reliability”; - this notably includes:
“A safe cycling connection, as far as possible segregated from motorised traffic, along the whole route (extending City Centre West to East Link west from Roseburn)”;
“Bus priority at junctions and using bus lanes to best effect to bypass congestion whilst reallocating some space to walking/wheeling and cycling”;
“Major junction reconfigurations at Maybury and Drumbrae, supporting other measures”
🏘️ An “outline approach to investment for ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’”, including “focussing on measures like dropping kerbs, narrowing side roads, better pavements around local shops and new crossings, and incorporating nature-based solutions to address climate adaptation measures” and “travel to school routes, and associated school street closures would also be considered, as well as routes to bus stops. Issues of intrusive through traffic would also be addressed where there is local support, as would measures such as crossings to help deliver cycling quiet routes. The main aim would be to deliver streets, pavements and places that allow everyone to get around easily locally, improving peoples' health and wellbeing.” Assumedly, the theory here is that avoiding mentioning 🤫 LTNS 🤫 will somehow keep the united conspiracy armies away…
These reports are absolutely mountainous and pretty information dense, but hopefully that’s a decent summary of some of the major bits going up for discussion on Thursday.
7.3 Tram from Granton to BioQuarter and Beyond: DRAMA
🚋 Trams are great. ‘Mass Transit’ is a huge deal, over and above how a decent bus network can work - the passenger capacity of a tram is much larger, and in general they work extremely well in cities that implement them. In Edinburgh, we’re hampered of course by the damage to public perception that the first line’s installation shit-show caused, but the passenger numbers have surpassed even optimistic projections over time.
🗺️ So, the time comes for the council to float its recommendation for the route a second line would take - connecting Granton to the City Centre via the Western General Hospital, and to the south connecting Edinburgh University campuses, the Royal Infirmary and Bioquarter. So far, so good.
🤯 Here’s the rub. To do so, they’d like to run the tram line through the ‘Roseburn corridor’, a former railway cutting given over to walking, wheeling, dog-walking, cycling and a small side order of anti-social behaviour. A 3m wide footpath would be retained alongside, but with cycling discouraged.
Figure 3.1 from the report - which can be seen in overview above, and also in greater detail between pages 519 and 524 of the Agenda Reports Pack [PDF] - still has a couple of ‘options’ depicted within it, as a first salvo at the planning of this route.
A lot of strong, but fair, reaction to this on social media, specifically on – yes, the Nazi Bar the cycling community just can’t seem to quit — ‘X’. Here’s a list of what the community at large has been trying to get our heads around this week - in no particular order:
🌳 There is a non-zero environmental impact involved in taking a green corridor of this nature, with the removal of mature trees and disruption to the existing ecosystem;
🚲 This is an established, well known, much loved and heavily used active travel link;
🙁 Taking space - any space, even with pinky promises to reallocate - from the modes at the top of the sustainable transport hierarchy, should really be a non-starter for any infrastructure project;
🤡 The council has spent a significant sum on the not-even-finished Roseburn to Canal link (the one that doesn’t actually link to the canal and now to cut off the Roseburn path…);
❓ There’s may not be a legal method or classification for (or way to enforce) ‘discouraging’ cycling here;
🍾 We know that off-road paths are generally less safe and subject to anti-social behaviour at times;
🌃 The North Edinburgh Path Network (NEPN) (and other offroad paths) being largely unlit, quite and isolated from surrounding people, passing traffic and homes, are not really suitable for travel 24/7 particularly for women and marginalised groups who can be subject to more harassment and danger when cycling;
👀 Such routes are not as visible to folks using other modes - being hidden away, they are less of an ‘advert for active travel’, so to speak.
The Transport Convener posted a videoX from the route discussing the issues - in which he also mentioned an official opening for CCWEL in February - this thread from SpokesX and the responses to it are full of insights; and while there were also reassurancesX that:
“Alternative safe cycle provision will be provided ahead of the works - unlike the Roseburn Path, it will feel safe 24/7/365”
Spokes rightly pointed outX the TEC papers stated on-road provision "would be worse towards Haymarket" and "ambience worse than existing provision".
If there’s a campaign against this, you’ll hear about it here. But equally, maybe Hart’s have it rightX.
Extreme weather has caused extensive damage to the National Cycle Network, and freezing temperatures are making things worse. The Network urgently needs repairs. Your support could help keep it safe and accessible for everyone. – Donate at Sustrans
👍 Wheels for wellbeing have published their excellent accessible cycle parking guidance
🫂 Help Needed
📣 Leith-based Edinburgh Bike Tours are looking for a manager, and bike tour guides:
The manager deals with admin that usually amounts to 6 hours a week, more through peak summer season, plus opportunity to guide;
Bike tour guides are needed for a variety of tours, should be competent cyclists, and great with people.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org / 07754442434
🌈 Infrastructure Progress & Consultations
👏 A City Cycling Edinburgh forum user’s feedback (and meeting with local councillors and the store manager) at Tesco in Canonmills has resulted in additional cycle parking, a pedestrian crossing installed, a speed bump at the exit and widening of the path connecting Tesco with NCR75.
🙃 A new bike repair stand and tool station at the Bonaly Car Park for the Pentland Hills Regional park has the stand installed the wrong way round;
🚥 West Lothian Council are planning a range of toucan and pedestrian crossings. You can view the PDF plans here and email your comments in before 16th February - to Martin.Wilkinson@westlothian.gov.uk (this link should also CC email@example.com on the email too).
🌉 The developer of 120 new flats at Inglis Green Rd in Longstone has agreed to pay up to 30% of the costs of a bridgeX between Inglis Green Rd and New Mart Road “providing a much-needed active travel connection between Longstone/Redhall and Chesser”; going before the TEC on Thursday;
📋 Survey on improvements to Powderhall Junction open until 16th Feb; the website has plans, context and background;
📜 Open until 8th February, the City of Edinburgh Council are consulting on the second phase of the George Street & First New Town project, covering North Castle St, Frederick St and Hanover St (North) - you can review and respond to the consultation, but it’s also worth looking over some of the criticisms that campaign group SW20 have of the designsX and the excellent response from Spokes [PDF];
📆 Events and Happenings
Thursday 1st February, 4pm - 8pm: Bike DIY Session, “£6 per hour for use of a stable bike stand, in a warm, dry, well-lit space. Wee Spoke Hub tools are available for your use. Also spare parts, and mechanical assistance by competent volunteers, backed up by a workshop mechanic.”
💊 Dr. Bike at SCORE Scotland in Sighthill for service and repair - booking required - on 2nd February;
🧑🏫 Edinburgh University Staffer or Student? The university is offering cycle training courses if so;
🗨️ February: The Transport Studies Unit of Oxford University will host “Urban Futures - the proximity revolution. An introduction to the 15 minute city concept by its founder” and a number of other really interesting talks throughout next month that are worth a look;
🛣 Road Closures and Route Issues
⚠️ Clear and evident safety issues with the cycleway green light at the foot of Leith WalkX - mind how you go, and consider reporting to the Council too;
⚒️ From Sunday 4th Feb - North Bridge closed 8pm - 6am, for 8 consecutive nights for alterations to the work area and running lanes;
🚦Traffic management measures in place on Greenbank Ter / Comiston Rd at BraidBurn Ter visualised on the transport Convenor’s postX making way for new crossing installations and other junction works relating to Braidburn Ter at the main road;
⛏️ Lanark Rd West between Bridge Road and Ravelrig bends - carriageway resurfacing road closure between 19:30 and 06:00 on weeknights, with a diversion signed via A70 - B7031 - Kirknewton - A71 - Curriehill Road, running for around another 3 weeks;
🧑🌾 Gardner’s Cres is closed with temporary lights on Morrison St at Dewar Pl for Council works associated with the implementation of the Low Emissions Zone. Hopefully this is still passable by cycle, as the work is slated to go on until March/April;
💡 Scottish Power works have closed Murrayfield Rd Between Ellersly Rd and Stair Pk for two further weeks;
😮💨 On Corstorphine Rd, between Ormidale Ter and Murrayfield Rd - section of citybound inside lane closed until around this Weds 24th Jan for a gas main disconnection;
🚌 Willowbrae Rd – from the bottom of Northfield Cres to Abercorn Ave – has the citybound bus lane closed for around one more week for carriageway repairs;
🚰 Colinton Rd between Craiglockhart Rd and Craiglockhart Pk has a lane closure / contraflow commencing for Scottish Water works lasting around another 5 weeks;
🦩 Water of Leith: in Leith, 17 remaining weeks of closure at a section of the shared walkway - Spokes have worked with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust on suggested diversions [PDF] during the Coalie Park closure.
⛏️ CCWEL-adjacent works on Charlotte Sq and North / South Charlotte St running until March 2024:
From 31/01/24 - lane closures on North and South Charlotte St, George St closed, no right turn from Charlotte Sq south side into South Charlotte St.
💡 Footway works and street lighting renewal on Polwarth Gdns, involving lane closures and parking restrictions. Polwarth Pl, Polwarth Pk, Harden Pl and Mertoun Pl will be closed as work progresses, running until March ‘24;
💧A significant programme of Scottish Water drainage improvement work on Longstone Rd until mid summer ‘24;
🧰 Braidburn Ter closed (dismount to pass via pavement) at the end of the Greenbank-Meadows Quiet Route while the new pedestrian and cycle realm enhancement worksX are underway. There’a a comprehensive update from Council Officers on the works in this post from Cllr Scott Arthur.
Thanks for reading - ride safe! 🚲
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