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Edinburgh street at heart of cycle lane row 'most congested outside London'

Princes Street costs daily motorists 43 hours of their lives per year in traffic delays

An Edinburgh street at the heart of a controversy as the council attempts to turn it into a segregated cycleway has been shamed as being the most congested UK road outside London.

Princes Street boasts a record for causing daily motorists an average of 43 hours a year of traffic delays - which itself pales into comparison with the average 101 hours a London driver suffers from.

Back in 2014 we reported how campaigners in Edinburgh welcomed 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, feared they may face further delays while the works take place.

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.

The contentious part of the Roseburn to Leith Walk Cycle Route is a stretch between Roseburn and Haymarket. The proposals are for a general traffic lane to be replaced by a protected cycle path along the Northern side with local businesses expressing concern that this will "harm Roseburn businesses by preventing parking outside the shops for delivery vans and shoppers."

The project is still mired in Stage 2, which includes route development, and a consultation is open here.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017 and finish in 2020.

Neil Greig, director of policy for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the new findings reignited calls for a bypass.

He told the Scottish Herald: "There's been no new road capacity in Edinburgh for decades. Clearly the tram has the potential to take some traffic off the road but that's yet to be proven, and unless the council can show that their strategy of having the tram and improving the bus network is actually getting people out of their cars, then they're going to have to revisit some road improvements on the west of Edinburgh because this is only going to get worse."

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said the capital's trams and buses were both experiencing a growth in passengers, alongside increases in cycling and walking.

She added: “We are currently in the process of designing a European-style off-road cycle lane from the east to the west of the city, which would open this route up to new and less confident cyclists.

"In addition to this, we fully support car sharing and car club schemes, and will carry on working with promoters to expand these."

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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