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Cycle lane notorious for parked cars "urgently" needs bollards, councillor warns "genuine concern" of fatality

As recently as last week a reader waited 15 minutes for an Amazon van driver blocking the bike lane to return from delivering packages

More concerns have been voiced about the ongoing issue of drivers parking in an Edinburgh cycle lane, with one city councillor going as far as to say the "rampant" pavement and bike lane parking leaves her "genuinely concerned there is going to be a fatality".

On Friday's live blog a reader told us he has "never seen" the Leith Walk cycle lane "without someone parked in it", the comments coming after the cyclist had waited 15 minutes for an Amazon-branded delivery van to move from the infrastructure, the driver telling him to "deal with it".

> "I've never seen it without someone parked in it": Cyclist waits 15 minutes for Amazon van driver parked in bike lane to move

Our reader reported counting 17 cyclists forced out into the road to pass the stationary vehicle during the 15 minutes, a danger Scottish Greens councillor Susan Rae says needs to be addressed, suggesting the installation of bollards to keep drivers off the infrastructure and pavement to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe.

"We're exhausted by drivers eating pavements and cycle paths"

Cllr Rae had been "reluctant" to see bollards installed, Edinburgh Live reports, but now feels it is the best way to "force a shift in behaviour" as she is "genuinely concerned there is going to be a fatality".

"We're exhausted by drivers eating pavements and cycle paths with illegally parked cars," she said, also suggesting the "plasticy" wand-style bollards are "of absolutely no value".

"People just drive over those," she said. "I don't want any old bollards. If we're going to have bollards I want them to be aesthetically pleasing. They have to be decent, part of the infrastructure and nice.

"Pavement parking is a huge problem — and it really is a huge problem on Leith Walk — so the more we've done to try and stop pavement parking, the worse it's got, to be honest, and the same reaction has happened with the London Road left turn. The more we did to help people not turn left, the more people came there just to turn left, we put bollards up."

The bollards at that particular turning acted as an education for those hoping to break the rules on left turns, leaving Cllr Rae to think it is the only solution to the cycle lane problem too.

> "That has to be a record": Cyclist counts 20 vehicles parked in short cycle lane stretch – as council finally considers installing wands

"I was very reluctant to put bollards up," she explained. "I was quite opposed to them — I didn't want to put bollards there but to be honest I've come round to thinking it's the only way we're going to stop this."

In response, council transport convener, Scott Arthur of Labour, said a meeting between coucillors and project managers on the Trams to Newhaven project, who have overseen the construction of the cycle lane, has been scheduled.

However, he also suggested the bollards discussed could cost "hundreds of thousands of pounds" and deflected the issue towards the need to "talk about everything [...] including interaction between pedestrians and cyclists".

"A number of the Leith Walk councillors have been in touch about it," Cllr Arthur said. "We know what the issues are, in that the current contract can't be changed plus everything is in a state of change right now in terms of the works aren't complete yet, we're still trying to come to terms with the situation and we've got the pavement parking ban powers coming in at the end of the year — so it's a state of flux just now.

"Everybody knows this and if Susan Rae had been engaging with people she would know it as well. It would come at a cost but you're probably looking at hundreds of thousands of pounds. If we're going to talk about public safety on Leith Walk we have to talk about everything, including interaction between pedestrian and cyclists — we can't just look at the bollards.

"I've inherited a situation on Leith Walk which nobody is happy with — cyclists, pedestrians and some of the businesses. I've organised a meeting of ward councillors and the Trams to Newhaven team to talk through some of these concerns. What that meeting is going to say is it probably can't be done in the scope of the current contract."

Leith Walk cycle lane (Allasan Seòras Buc, Twitter)

Elsewhere on Leith Walk in the first few months of 2023, the now-infamous zig-zag bike lane which was roundly ridiculed when pictures first appeared of its bizarre layout, a recently added advisory cycle lane was dubbed a "unicycle lane" due to it being "narrower than a pair of handlebars".

Leith Walk's new narrow advisory cycle lane (credit - Alan Brown)

"Went down for a wee look. Actually burst out laughing on the way down it was so tragic," Edinburgh cyclist and author Alan Brown wrote on Twitter. "Edinburgh has done it. They've made a brand-new advisory cycle lane narrower than a pair of handlebars."

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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