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Campaigners welcome news - but drivers warned they may face more delays

Cycle campaigners in Edinburgh have welcomed reported plans for a £10 million cycle route that will cross the Scottish capital's New Town - but motorists, who have endured years of disruption due to construction of the city's tram system, have been  warned they may face further delays while the works take place.

According to the Edinburgh Evening News, City of Edinburgh Council plans to work alongside Sustrans Scotland to finance and deliver the route, which will link Roseburn in the west with Leith in the east, partly via George Street where a two-way cycle route is due to open in the coming months.

Precise details of the full route are yet to be finalised, although it part of it could run along Haymarket and Princes Street, and the newspaper says that the council is inviting tenders from contractors to work on the project.

 

It adds that the project is expected to be completed within three years, but adds that motorists may encounter hold-ups while the works  are carried out.

Councillor Jim Orr, City of Edinburgh Council's vice-convener of transport, commented: “We are very keen to see a high quality, family-friendly east-west cycle route created right through the city centre.

"This project is another key part of our commitment to making it as easy as possible to cycle in the heart of Edinburgh.”

A spokeswoman for Sustrans added: “This tender shows real ambition on the part of the council given the scale of the project and we look forward to receiving their bid for Community Links funding.”

Ian Maxwell, of the Lothian cycling campaign Spokes, described the proposals as a "key move" to help improve cycling infrastructure in the city. “It won’t be easy but they built a tram system so should be able to install such a cycle path," he said.

But Ian Grieg from the road safety charity IAM said he was worried that traffic lights giving cyclists priority might cause delays for other road users.

“My only concern would be that there is only a certain amount of time at signalled junctions and to use up time for cyclists means others lose out," he explained.

“The more time that motorised vehicles are held up results in more ­pollution and congestion.”

Keith Irving of Living Streets Scotland was in favour of the proposals,but maintained that space devoted to cyclists should not come at the expense of pedestrians

“We have made clear to the council our view that an increase in cycling should be accommodated through the reallocation of road space, not redetermination of footways.”

Like the city's historic Old Town, Edinburgh's Georgian New Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Charlotte Square - home, among other things, to the official residence of Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond - one of its showpieces.

A spokesman for The Charlotte Square Collection, which manages 19 properties there, told the Edinburgh Evening News: “We have always advocated that improvements to the public realm will enhance the area and providing improved amenity for pedestrians and cyclists would have a positive impact.”

 

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

10 comments

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userfriendly [568 posts] 2 years ago
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No, Mr Grieg - more cars is what results in more pollution and congestion. We need fewer cars in the city centre.

Nice going, Embra Council  1 Let's just hope you've learned from the tram disaster ...

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pjclinch [90 posts] 2 years ago
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Could mean delay for motorists... well, Embra turkeys voted for Christmas by rejecting the idea of a congestion charge, so it's not like they're actively against that sort of thing...

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Wolfshade [189 posts] 2 years ago
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So the possibility of being delayed is more important than the possibility of being injured/killed.

Priorities.

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AWPeleton [3347 posts] 2 years ago
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Great idea and if it pisses enough drives off not to take their cars into the city and heaven forbid actually use a bike themselves then its an even better idea.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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Dear oh dear; another wedge of cash for a prestigous, but ultimately inadequate scheme, ably entrusted to a heady mix of council employees, Sustrans peeps, and a motly crew of contractors who know all too well that quality of construction is inversely proportional to short term profit.

Add in some extra hatred of cyclists, for "causing all the delays", the accentuated clamour for cyclists to "get off the road and use the new cycle route", all those inevitable "punishment" passes and (as Mr Grieg does indeed rightly point out) extra pollution as a result of stationary traffic through longer light cycles for those determined to never get on their bikes.

And for what? A very limited route, created at huge expense, that fails to reflect that the main advantage in cycling is the ability to easily travel between an infinite number of points on the map.

For ten million, Edinburgh could change the signs that say 30, for signs that say 20, make the police do a proper job so that word gets round that it's best to drive at around 15 to be on the safe side (ie no margin above 20), add a few bollards to block every single rat run, and still have plenty of cash left over to supply the entire city with thousands of bike racks and a centralised bike hire scheme. It's a concept that's as easy to grasp as, er, riding a bike.

"Campaigners welcome news"? Sorry, but this campaigner thinks you lot haven't just lost the plot, you never managed to grasp it in the first place.

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OldRidgeback [2624 posts] 2 years ago
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stumps wrote:

Great idea and if it pisses enough drives off not to take their cars into the city and heaven forbid actually use a bike themselves then its an even better idea.

I can't understand why anyone would want to drive across Edinburgh. There's nowhere to park. Cycle or take the bus. The tram project was an utter shambolic mess, a really good example of how not to build a public transport system using the most expensive and lengthy process, when there was a cheaper, quicker and easier alternative.

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Lord Fishface [26 posts] 2 years ago
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Pleased though I should be to see the willingness to spend public money on city cycleways, this does seem a... curious plan. I've been away from Edinburgh for a few years, and didn't rely upon my bike for transport when I lived there, but surely cycle routes along Leith Walk, Lothian Road and/or between Teviot and the High Street would be of more use than a loop around the New Town would be more immediately useful.

I suppose it would be nice for those who regularly cycle between, say, the offices of the Northern Lighthouse Board and the 21st Century Kilts shop, but rather less useful for the rest of us.

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userfriendly [568 posts] 2 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

For ten million, Edinburgh could change the signs that say 30, for signs that say 20, make the police do a proper job so that word gets round that it's best to drive at around 15 to be on the safe side (ie no margin above 20), add a few bollards to block every single rat run, and still have plenty of cash left over to supply the entire city with thousands of bike racks and a centralised bike hire scheme.

Ha! Haha!  21 That would be madness!  35

I know, it wouldn't, you're of course right - but you make way too much sense. They'd never do that. A £10m cycle route? Big project to boast about, happy contractors, good PR. Spending that money on numerous little things that are much less visible but ultimately more useful? You're daydreaming, mate.  105

Lord Fishface wrote:

surely cycle routes along Leith Walk, Lothian Road and/or between Teviot and the High Street would be of more use than a loop around the New Town would be more immediately useful.

Yes, I suppose. Then again, if you build *one* cycle route, it's bound to be useful for some and less useful for a lot more people. As opposed to, say, making the majority of roads more cycle-friendly.

I for one will find it useful, I'm only ever cycling through Edinburgh on pretty much exactly that route, east to west and back, and loathe especially the area around Princes Street.

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Nice Wee Cod [5 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

For ten million, Edinburgh could change the signs that say 30, for signs that say 20...

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport/edinburgh-to-have-20-mph-sp...

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Paul_C [468 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice Wee Cod wrote:
Quote:

For ten million, Edinburgh could change the signs that say 30, for signs that say 20...

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport/edinburgh-to-have-20-mph-sp...

great, it would be nice as well if they blocked up the rat runs with bollards as well, but don't put the bollards too close together, cycles with trailers and also elderly on tricycles and disabled on hand cranked bikes still need to get through.

Nothing annoys me more than having a nice cycletrack ruined by entrance and exit chicanes/barriers that I can't navigate with my cycle and trailer combination  2