Starting out on Cycle Commuting

What’s it like to start cycle commuting…

Today, I guided a friend on a weekend trial run of her route to & from work from Corstorphine in West Edinburgh to Waterloo Place at the East End of Princes St – a journey of 5 miles.

For me as an experienced cyclists a straightforward route down the Bus lanes on the A8 and then either Princes St or George St across the centre depending on my mood for battling buses.

On the way to meet her, I tried to think of the key pieces of advice I would give her. I came up with 3:

 

1. You are traffic.  Don’t ride in the gutter / door zone and don’t be afraid of holding your ground in the traffic flow to make it absolutely clear that there isn’t space to pass.

2. Don’t ride up the inside of Lorries, Buses or Coaches.

3. Just because there is cycle infrastructure doesn’t mean you should use it. Badly designed cycle infrastructure can put you into more danger than none at all (e.g. lanes in door zones or getting caught midway to an Advanced Stop Line (ASL) at the front of a traffic queue). Meanwhile good infrastructure makes all the difference.

(we came up with another one whilst out on the road, shown further down)

 

We started out on the quiet back streets of Corstorphine and could put rule 1 into practice by staring down some oncoming traffic who were deterred from squeezing us as they overtook parked cars. So far so good.

We were following Quiet Route 9, which takes in the Pinkhill Railway and whilst a bit wiggly is ideal for a beginner. The thing that is unnerving is not knowing the streets and so the potential to feel a bit lost.

 

 

We got to Roseburn fairly straightforwardly with my friend in good spirits.  Rather than battling traffic on the main road we decided to take the infamous NCR1 which heads along Russell Road before tackling the ZigZags – a bit of hard work for my friend.

20160313_115846
Russell Road Zig Zags

The route then heads along Balbirnie Place and down a narrow path to one of the trickiest parts of the route – Haymarket Yards, with tram tracks that are impossible to cross anywhere near a 90degree angle.  The only solution is to take the very narrow edge of the road without crossing any tramtrack, breaking rule number 1.

20160313_120201
Haymarket Yards Tram Tracks

It is on National Cycle Route 1, but that name doesn’t imply quality. Think of it like the A Roads round the very North of Scotland. They appear on a map to show you it is possible to travel there and encourage you to visit but when you get there you find that they are single track, with sharp bends / inclines and limited capacity.

 

20160313_124142
To go for the ASL or not?

 

Leaving Haymarket Yards we took a left onto the A8 and then an unpleasant right turn where we were left stranded in the lane while we waited for a gap. The cobbles of Coates Garden weren’t very good to cycle on and Eglinton Crescent was fairly benign on the weekend but I fear will be problematic on a weekday.

The rest of the route through the West End gave us chance to practice rule 3 and not try to get to the Advanced Stop Line and instead waiting in line.

 

 

 

 

 

20160313_121245
George Street

 

 

More cobbles getting round West Register House and we were soon onto George Street, which is currently in a state of flux having had a trial with segregated cycle paths and now is back to the old road set up whilst we await the permanent solution.The wide cycle path outside the kerbside parking wasn’t too bad but I could tell my friend was tensing up at the increased complexity and multiple vehicle movements to be aware of.

 

 

 

 

 

Heading on to St Andrews Square we got our first (& only) piece of aggressive driving. Turning left we were tailgated by a taxi. We headed for the right hand lane and the red traffic light shortly ahead to continue round SAS. The taxi driver decided to undertake in the left hand lane and then drift into the right hand lane where we were. As politely as I could manage, I asked him what he was doing as we were already in the right hand lane. We don’t pay road tax apparently…

 

More cobbles again as we skirt round Cafe Royale with more practising of taking the lane to keep a different taxi behind us.  The Balmoral junction is our last mincemeat junction to cross.  This time I stressed the need to take the ASL and get ourselves visible. Not very pleasant but we made it.

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Balmoral Junction

We paused for breath and started to head for home. Facing the Balmoral junction heading West and struggling to think of a safe route we settled on a new rule. Here is rule 4:

4. If in doubt, get off and walk.

We took our own advice and walked down James Craigs Walk round the side of the St James Centre and then through Multrees Walk rather than attempting Princes St.

A telling failure of infrastructure.

Retracing our route West we faced similar challenges as before, although Haymarket Yards is even more tricky as you have cross the tracks at the top and again at the bottom. In between you have a very narrow lane to follow while trying not to hit the kerb or go into the tram tracks and its hard to manage any traffic if you are constrained in a narrow path.

It is no surprise that cyclists have come off their bikes here.  The problem is that nothing will put others off cycling more than hearing that it isn’t safe and nothing says it isn’t safe like a broken bone or road rash.

Cycling isn’t unsafe; it’s very safe. Interacting with motor vehicles on poorly planned infrastructure is what introduces the risks.

That’s why the Roseburn to Leith Walk cyclepath is so important. It gives a clear safe path for people to travel on bikes across the city. Edinburgh residents want more people to travel by bike around their city [62% per BikeLife survey] . A proper path will be welcoming to new cyclists, by limiting interactions with motor vehicles, by avoiding tramtracks- or at least enabling them to be crossed at a safe angle, and – crucially – it will signpost a direct route, that is easy to follow and that doesn’t need a practice run with an experienced friend.

 

[A more detailed review of the problems with current NCR1 Roseburn-Haymarket can be found here]

 

 

And here are the views of my friend:

 

 

The route is very complicated – I own a spokes map and used to commute on the north edinburgh paths in the past – and before today I had tried and failed to work out on paper how this route all connected up – particularly at Roseburn and Haymarket. There are signs up but it was still pretty confusing in places. I might have been tempted to give up just past Murrayfield if I had been trying it on my own. I suspect I might have lost the route altogether at Haymarket and ended up terrified in a bus lane on Princes Street! It makes a lot more sense now I’ve done it – thanks.

With a guide, it turned out to be much more enjoyable than I expected – but I’m still not sure I’ll be brave enough to do it on my own in rush hour. If we’re serious about promoting green travel then commuting a few miles by bike shouldn’t really require bravery!

It was slower than I expected – some of that will have been me – but the route from Roseburn to George St is far from direct. I suspect that’s why a lot of faster cyclists just stick to the main road – whether or not that is also a more dangerous route.

It was nice to discover that most of the route is on quieter roads and not in bus lanes. As a driver, I know how pushy the airport buses can be and don’t relish the idea of sharing space with them on a bike. 

There were a lot of parked cars and no marked bike lane on most of the roads. I’ve not done much cycling on city roads and riding down the middle of the lane wouldn’t have been my instinctive reaction. It turned out to be fine – although not that relaxing with a van or a taxi stuck behind you. When designing bike routes it is perhaps worth remembering that most novice cyclists won’t have a guide to remind them to watch out for car doors and not to give into the temptation to ride in the gutter!

There are a lot of places where the route crosses busier roads – Corstorphine High  St, Balgreen, Roseburn etc. That’s probably unavoidable and they were fine on a Saturday afternoon. Not sure how easy they would be to cross in rush hour though and I wouldn’t want to take a wobbly child on a bike across them.

I didn’t like the unprotected right turns off main roads – particularly at Haymarket. Suspect you could be stuck in the middle of the road, feeling a bit vulnerable and waiting for a gap in the traffic for quite a long time at busier periods.

The gap between the tram tracks and the pavement on the way up and down from Haymarket yards is far too narrow. I wondered what would happen if there was a tram behind me on the way up or down the hill. Would it wait or try to sneak past?

I was concerned in advance about the need to cross tram tracks  (having heard all the stories about injured cyclists). Crossing them at right angles was fine but the road markings don’t make it clear that that’s the only safe way to do it and there isn’t always enough room – particularly when turning back down at Haymarket.

The cobbled stretches are uncomfortable to ride on. Some of them looked quite uneven and I would be more concerned about falling off in rush hour traffic.

George Street was quite pleasant – nice wide cycle lanes, no cobbles and not too much traffic. Getting in and out of George St at Charlotte and St Andrews squares was a faff (no bike lanes and not much signage). St Andrews square was particularly confusing to navigate.

Most of the junctions in town were fine but I felt quite vulnerable at the Balmoral/North Bridge junction.

If there were a more direct route into town with protected bike lanes then cycling would be the obvious way for me to commute to work. As it is, I know I need to get more exercise and I don’t enjoy the bus but I need to balance the risks and work out if I’m brave enough before I start commuting by the existing route.

 

More information on starting to cycling in Edinburgh (or elsewhere) can be found at https://cyclefridays.wordpress.com/

Starting out on Cycle Commuting

Why people support a Protected Cycle Lane

 

My petition to show the support for the proposed Protected Cycle Lane between Roseburn & Haymarket has created quite a stir.

Over 800 people have now signed it and I wanted to share with you some of the over 250 comments by people about why they did this.

These are not just people signing something they don’t understand, these are people who have read the consultation and understand the impact it could have on our city.

Full petition supporting proposals

Here is just a selection of the comments

Barrier to cycling

“A safe direct cycle route will increase active travel, reduce congestion and pollution, and increase business activity. This has been shown in many cities across the world and Edinburgh can follow these examples.”  John Wood

“I would like to be able to cycle into the city centre. At the moment i drive any time I go as there is not a safe route to cycle.” Ron Yeats

“I strongly support this proposal. My significant  other (who is not confident cycling on busy roads) refuses to cycle into the city from our home in Coltbridge due to issues with reaching the existing cycle route (Balbirnie Place), with crossing of the tram-tracks and with the convergence of trams, buses and cars at Haymarket. I’ve shown her the proposal and she has indicated that it would be enough to get her on her bike! ” Ivan Rochford

Tram tracks / convoluted alternative

“I  am not a cyclist but can see the obvious merits of the Roseburn-West Coates Protected Cycle Route. I live in a neighbourhood close to the proposed route where children already cycle to school via Roseburn. The proposed route is also used by many adult cyclist in this small residential area. The extensive housing development at Devon Place surrounded by large offices raises further the need for a protected route. The arguments made by local shopkeepers re delivery and loss of business  is not convincing. This proposal avoids the obvious dangers of cyclists crossing tram lines. Surely the priority ought to be to encourage safer cycling.    ”  Helen Petrie

“NCN 1 between Roseburn and Haymarket is scary and convoluted. The direct route proposed is far superior. Morever modifying the road layout will make things more pleasant for pedestrians due to reduced traffic speeds and increased separation from motor vehicles” David Nutter

“I welcome any way of avoiding the dangerous tramlines at Haymarket and on Princes Street”  Morag Haddow

“I would regularly use the Roseburn to Haymarket section but tend not to use the existing wiggling route because it is slow and the trams and tram lines make it even slower. Instead I use the main road but a segregated cycle path would be far better, especially as I cycle with children.” Elspeth Bleakley

“To work the bike route needs to be direct. When you are using your legs for propulsion detours are not palatable. ”  Stephen McGoldrick

 

Shopping

“I live locally and I’ve shopped there by car precisely once (to collect an order) – the rest of the time the current layout is a disincentive to shop there, making it harder to visit both sides of the street and in general a noisy, traffic-rackety experience. When my child is walking rather than in a pushchair it will become a scary hazard rather than a nice place to shop (running out into busy traffic). Slowing down traffic and making more space available for slow users like bikes and pedestrians can only enhance the amenity of the road. ” Livia Marchant

“Definitely respect that change can be hard and I’m sure I’d be a little nervous as a local shop owner. But in the long run this project is definitely the right thing to do for so many reasons – active travel is good for personal well-being, public health, and the environment. I live in Haymarket and never visit the Roseburn shops, but making it easier to bike there would definitely encourage me!”  Chris Paton

“Cycle routes like the one being proposed are more likely to enhance small businesses – this is one of the better studies available because of its time span: http://www.cleanairpartnership.org/files/BikeLanes_Parking_Business_BloorWestVillage.pdf ” Andrew Farrall

“This will enhance the area, and make it more attractive to pedestrians who  unlike motorists will look in shop windows and be enticed in”  Joan Wilson

“This is the best thing that could happen to Edinburgh. One only has to look at other European cities that have removed private vehicle traffic from their city centres in favour of public transport and cycling/pedestrian ways, that the fears of some about not being able to park right outside the store they want to visit will be detrimental to consumerism, is unfounded.”  Janos

“I would love to be able to cycle directly and safely from the east end of the city centre to Haymarket and to the shops in Roseburn.  I never shop there now as it is a hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists.” Verity

 

Pollution, Congestion & Health Benefits

“There is already significant congestion and pollution from cars along this route, these proposals will actually do something to reduce this problem.”  Sandy Wito

“Let’s save lives from pollution and car crashes…build this life saver lane!” Louise Paterson

“Protected cycle lanes are good for people, good for business, good for the NHS, good for the environment. Let’s be the change we want to see.” Elise Acheson

Cycling as Transport

“People need to change their attitudes about cycling as a viable mode of transport. Cars and trucks have had it their  own way for too long. I regularly cycle or drive or walk to Roseburn and Haymarket to visit hairdressers and Sandwich shops. Much better by bike, but I’m so aware of the dangers on the road at present.” Laura Chessar

“Edinburgh is long overdue the type of segregated cycle infrastructure now appearing all over London. If Edinburgh and indeed Scotland wish to see cycling normalised and not restricted to a tiny minority of the public, routes and infrastructure such as described here are essential. The worst section of my daily commute from Edinburgh is using the facilities in this area as they currently exist (being indirect and running parallel to tram lines in places). Good cycle infrastructure, supported by good local cycle parking will increase the footfall of shoppers to local businesses rather than reduce it.”  Gary Cummins

“Studies show that in a situation like this traffic does NOT simply become every more congested, but tends to marginally disappear. Drivers use other routes or change transport modes. The easier and more attractive it becomes to cycle to more people will cycle. That’s been demonstrated time and again. It will also benefit pedestrians by adding distance between them and polluting vehicle exhausts. ” Paul Milne

“The safer it is for cyclists on the roads the more likely it is people will abandon their cars and start to use their bikes. I include myself in this. We need more cycle paths. Less pollution and a healthier public as a result. ” Jan Gilmour

 

Why people support a Protected Cycle Lane

Cycling politics in Western Edinburgh

I’m keen to understand how supportive of Active Travel the Holyrood candidates of Western Edinburgh really are…

So I dropped them a tweet inviting them to Pedal on Parliament

and got 3 acceptances (SNP, LibDem & Lab) – so far so good.

I followed it up with offers of a local cycle tour to see the issues – but no one rushed to take it up.

 

When the SNP’s budget came out in December, I was disappointed that spending on Active Travel is flat year-on-year and still less than 2% of the Transport Budget, when their own target/aspiration is for 10% of journeys.

Of particular concern within the budget was the slashing of the “Cycling, Walking and Safer Routes” fund from £8m to £5.9m (bottom of http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/12/9056/16). This is one of the places that local authorities go to get money to match Sustrans money from the Community Links programme, so the reduction could make things really tricky for councils to get local schemes built.

So back to twitter  I went to my local SNP candidate Toni Giugliano (our standing SNP MSP has been deselected)

[SJR = St John’s Road, the most polluted street in Scotland]

To be fair, I asked the same question to my other candidates with these responses

Sadly we don’t know what Sandy Batho thinks as he’s not active on twitter.

Warm words but lacking in detail – not surprising given 140 character limit. Time will tell exactly what makes it into the party manifestos, but anyone wanting my vote will need to replace words with commitments.

 

Someone once told me the best way to find out the real beliefs of a politician is to tell them you don’t like all the money they are wasting on your chosen topic and then see if they just agree with you or take on your view. Maybe I’ll try that next time…

 

This then brings us on to a particular local scheme that could revolutionise cycling between West Edinburgh and the city centre (as I wrote about in my last blog) by running a protected cycle lane from Roseburn to Haymarket and then through the West End and onto George Street.

One of the signatories of a petition against the scheme running up the main road and instead favouring a convoluted back route was the local SNP councillor, who broadcasted him signing on twitter. So I asked him why he had signed it.

It is disappointing that a councillor (and member of the Capital Coalition) is openly criticising a scheme put forward by the council.  I understand the desire to represent constituents and that the businesses on Roseburn Terrace may be fearful if change to the streetscape. However, the impacts on loading & parking will have been considered by the design team and as noted in my last blog there is evidence that less customers arrive by cars than estimated by shopkeepers and cycle lanes can improve shops’ turnover by making it a more inviting/easier place.

There will also be many constituents that favour the more direct route – to highlight this I set up a petition to show it.

In 2 weeks we are at 230 signatories, which I think shows that councillor is not representing all constituents with his position. He has at least said he will share the evidence provided to the shopkeepers.

I will be sharing this blog with him and more than happy to let him to explain his position without the 140 character limit.

 

Now, as noted above, Western Edinburgh’s SNP candidate is just that, a candidate, I can’t help think that whatever warm words he might say, his colleagues are making it hard for them to ring true as local improvements are being hindered by cutting funding and petitioning against the best route.

 

He has at least accepted my offer of a cycle tour.

 

Cycling politics in Western Edinburgh

Bringing protected cyclelanes to West Edinburgh

My 2nd blog – hopefully shorter than my first…

 

The story starts with City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) putting forward exciting plans for new East West cycle route from Roseburn in the West through the heart of the city to Leith Walk.

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/roseburntoleith

On the face of it they look pretty good, not perfect but a huge improvement from what we currently have, and they will create a safe route for me, my kids & others to get into and across the City Centre.

As a bit of background & why it is important

I live and work in West Edinburgh and commute daily by bike dropping my kids off on route.  I would say that I’m fairly confident on a bike doing 6,000miles in 2015 with 2,000 on the kiddie run, however, the City centre is not accessible to me as the reasonable good Quiet Route 9 ends at Roseburn (great for accessing NEPN) but then becomes fiddly to get to Haymarket Yards and then you have to tackle tram lines at a very acute angle before being dumped at Haymrket with nothing but signs to keep you safe.  The net result, I rarely cycle into town and definitely not with the kids.

And it’s not just me.  I work for a large financial services company based in West Edinburgh and have been active in out Bicycle User Group in encouraging more colleagues to cycle to work.  We’ve run roadshows where we explain where the showers are and how to get a locker etc but the most important question is always what’s a safe route.

For those coming from North Edinburgh we have the NEPN (old railway line) and for South Edinburgh we have the canal towpath – both offer safe offroad routes.  However, for those in and around the city centre and East End, there isn’t an enticing option for new cyclists so many don’t start.

The cyclepath proposed with a protected lane through Roseburn Terrace and West Coates and on through the city would solve these problems by giving a direct and safe route.  Look what has happened in London following opening of the Embankment protected lane Embedded image permalink

This could be Edinburgh.

I appreciate that change can be scary and that some want to keep the status quo.  But I can’t see how that can be the right answer when just along the A8 at St John’s Road we have the most polluted street in Scotland & overall air pollution leading to 2,000 premature Scottish deaths. We also have a growing obesity problem [Obesity costs Scotland up to £4bn, says parliament report].   We need to do more to make cycling a valid alternative to motor vehicles.

Some of those expressing concerns on the scheme are the shop keepers of Roseburn Terrace.  I can understand their apprehension – surely all customers come by car and any reduction to this ability will impact trade…

Studies across the world have shown that this isn’t the case

http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2015/03/the-complete-business-case-for-converting-street-parking-into-bike-lanes/387595/

Here’s what they found when the compared estimated customer travel modes with actual travel modes in Graz, Austria and Bristol, England.

Yes, people do come by car, but many others arrive on foot or by bike. These are the people who will find it easier to pop into the shops as they don’t have parking issues.  Pushing the cycle route round the back of the shopping street will not do anything to make the street a more pleasant environment or to encourage these potential shoppers to stop in.

 

An online and paper petition has been set up against the route going down the main road between Roseburn & Haymarket. Of the signatories, includes 2 local Councillors and an MSP. One of the Councillors signed it because he was “Representing constituents and avoiding wasting council cash”

To highlight that many constituents are also in favour of the scheme, I set up a supportive  Petition.

I didn’t do it to dismiss the views/concerns of those signing the first one – but to encourage our elected representatives to consider opposing views of the community based on evidence when coming to their conclusions. Hopefully some of the evidence above will help them come to their conclusion.

 

I’d encourage you to review the consultation and to support the proposals – especially for the direct route along Roseburn Terrace and West Coates.

You can do this via the online form or by emailling cyclingprojects.consultation@edinburgh.gov.uk by Monday 1st February.

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Update 11th Jan – The supportive petition is now 230 names strong.  I’d encourage you to sign it and view the comments.

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Read my next blog on the politics of cycling in Western Edinburgh

 

Bringing protected cyclelanes to West Edinburgh

A8 Cycle Path Consultation – Rambling thoughts

(My first blog – please excuse formatting)

I regularly cycle along the A8 cyclepath, which whilst it does keep some of us cyclists off the busy A8 it isn’t that great and many choose to take the 40/70mph dual carriageway instead – which tells you something about what they think of it.

I & others have been badgering City of Edinburgh Council to do something about it & they now have some budget in place (£300k + £150k from Sustrans) to do something about it.

Their initial plans can be found here with any feedback to be provided by 18th December to cycling@edinburgh.gov.uk

Having studied the plans and taken a trip down the route with my camera in overdrive, here is what I think.  Feel free to let me (& Edinburgh Council) know what you think.

 

  1. Based on the budget available the plans make a good job of tackling a lot of the problem areas with the current route/ design and as such will improve the route. I have highlighted in section 4 the areas of the designs that I particularly welcome and the points where I think improvements can be made.

 

  1. The plans do not tackle the major difficulties with the route which would require substantial investment / political willpower to solve, namely
  • the inefficiency of the route switching from the North to South side at Gogarburn and back again at the Airport
  • safely crossing the Gogar Roundabout
  • The narrowness of the sharedpath outside the houses in Ratho Station, which is particularly problematic on Bin day and with bus passengers waiting on the path.

The pathway on the RBS bridge https://flic.kr/p/BbGovq  is not that wide and can already become very busy at peak times especially with disembarking passengers.  With increases in occupancy in RBS Gogarburn this will become a pinchpoint on the route as well as an unnecessary detour.  A continuous Northside or Southside route would help alleviate this pinchpoint.

I note that adjacent to the A8 there are currently 2 large planning applications (East of Milburn Tower & International Business Gateway)  and 2 further ones at Ratho Station (15/04707/PAN & 15/05177/PAN) going through the planning process.  These will bring significant additional traffic (pedestrians, cycles & vehicles) to the A8 corridor (especially the RBS Bridge & Ratho Station Bridge) and through developer contributions could fund solutions to these problems.

The IBG application includes plans for filling in the ‘missing link’ in the North side cycle path, which would be very welcome if suitable direct connections were included to rejoin the current Quiet Route9 at Gogarburn tram stop & the A8/Airport North West slip.  The IBG plans also include changes to Gogar Roundabout but no mention of pedestrian / cycle improvements.

The East of Milburn application include reference to the bus stops on the A8 & Edinburgh Gateway tram/rail station but does not acknowledge the challenges for crossing the A8 / A720 at Gogar Roundabout to access them.

For the Ratho Station houses, the challenge is widening the shared path whilst maintaining the parking & road alignment or taking the path round the back of the houses.  The current arrangement of sharing a narrow path with waiting bus passengers, a bus shelter, overgrown hedges and a variety of poles/street furniture (including bins on Thurdays) is a particular problem area.  https://flic.kr/p/C7jYB2 https://flic.kr/p/BxPjhv   If it is not possible to make significant improvements, then as a bare minimum there should be additional signage, the hedges cut right back and consideration of moving the bus stop (even if just to adjacent to edge of path).

 

  1. I have particular concerns that the current plans for Gogarstone Rd & Lochend Rd Junctions do not go far enough to reduce the speed of vehicles or improve the sightlines for what are particularly dangerous junctions just now.
  • Gogarstone Rd https://flic.kr/p/C7uurz https://flic.kr/p/BWTZod https://flic.kr/p/BEn3Rm
    1. The widening of the footway to the East of the junction is welcomed but the current layout does not improve the sightline especially when travelling East nor reduce the speeds. It should be noted that northbound traffic’s attention will be looking right (East) for a gap in the A8 Westbound traffic and aren’t considering peds/cycle appearing to their left.
    2. Sightline can become even more challenging with overgrown vegetation blocking the view if not cut back regularly.
    3. The radii of the turns should be reduced.
    4. Consideration should be given to installing a chicane or speedbump on Gogarstone Road to reduce speeds and position northbound vehicles further out from the verge and so more visible to Eastbound Peds/cycles

 

  • Lochend Rd https://flic.kr/p/B9R44y https://flic.kr/p/B9Ri1b
    1. A refuge is needed here to aid safe crossing and consideration should be given for reducing the width of the road.
    2. The radii of the left turn into Lochend Road should be reduced

 

 

  1. Other specific comments – some of which are maintenance issues rather than directly improvements and many in support of the current plans. I appreciate that this is a very comprehensive list, but wanted you to get the full detail of what is required to make the cyclepaths up to suitable standard.

 

South side – East to West

  1. South Gyle Gardens:
    • I have reservations that the current route is the best way through SGG & Gyle Park – Going through SGG is windy and feels out of the way and then the path round the back of the Health club is not ideal for dark commutes.  The path starting nearer to Tescos and going across the front of the health club is more suitable although it isn’t tarmacced.
    • However, based on the current route I have the following comments:
    • The additional signage is welcomed.
    • The entrance to Gyle Park at theWest end should have no parking signs to protect access. https://flic.kr/p/BaayeF
    • The no cycling sign visible as you approach from the park is unhelpful https://flic.kr/p/C5gzBy
  1. Gyle Park
  1. South Side path – Dechmont Rd Toucan to Gogar Roundabout

(This is next to the new pavement surface recently installed which looks like road surface rather than pavement)

  • The path along the Southside between Dechmont Rd & Gogar Roundabout should be made shared use (along whole length) giving a more direct route than North Gyle Terrace. https://flic.kr/p/BZgkvH

(North Gyle Terrace & Maybury crossing improvements is useful for cyclists coming from North of A8/ Glasgow Road)

 

  1. Gogar Roundabout – South side

As mentioned above the crossing of the Gogar Roundabout is particularly dangerous.  All entrances/exits have to be traversed on unsignalled crossing. The Edinburgh Gateway Station underpass may (& definitely should) allow for cyclists to cross the Eastern A8 leg without dismounting, but this still leaves the risks for crossing the remaining legs.

 

This may be out of scope for this project but that doesn’t take away the risk I witness on a daily basis.  https://flic.kr/p/C5e7TC  https://flic.kr/p/C7wwqF  https://flic.kr/p/Ba7uqz  https://flic.kr/p/BEoPpY https://flic.kr/p/BxZXHH https://flic.kr/p/C5d5cs

 

  1. Gogar Roundabout to Gogarstone Rd – South Side
    • Gogar Station Road entrance: Consideration should be given to the railings, which significantly reduce the usable width of the pavement round the corner and visibility. https://flic.kr/p/BxZCCD https://flic.kr/p/BEo51o There is 30-50cm of unusable width outside the pavement.  The narrowness has been a contributory factor in collisions here and it prohibits CEC’s path cleaning machine for accessing it leading to a build up of uncleared leaf mulch.
    • RBS Gogarburn to Gogarstone Road: For the majority of this section the path (once fully clear of undergrowth and leaf mulch) is 3m wide https://flic.kr/p/BxZb7H .  It is used predominantly in the AM peak by city bound cyclists and pedestrians (going from Ingliston P&R to RBS Gogarburn) and vice versa for the PM peak.   With both modes travelling in the same direction it can be hard for cyclists to safely and politely pass pedestrians (especially if they are wearing headphones and oblivious to bell ringing / asking nicely) if they are in the middle of the path.   Where possible this section should be made a segregated path with a line painted down the middle to denote which side for which mode.

This approach is successfully used on the Northside path between the Gogarburn tram stop and the RBS bridge (where the path is 3.2m wide) and results in pedestrians predominantly continuing to keep to the right hand side of the bridge, where there are no lines marked.

 

  • Northside – West to East
    Newbridge to Ratho Station
  • Gogarstone Rd to Ratho Station
    • Gogarstone Rd Junction – see above
    • Airport SE Slip road https://flic.kr/p/Ba4Xge https://flic.kr/p/Ba4HEX
      • Cutting back the vegetation on path and from neighbouring bushes is welcomed. The cutting back of the bushes and clearing leaf mulch needs to done on a regular basis to ensure the problem doesn’t return.
      • There is plenty of spare verge here to widen the path to 3m https://flic.kr/p/BEkVsf which should be considered.
      • A drainage ditch has been dug to drain the field to the south, with the run off cascading down the embankment and then onto the cyclepath, which the water then runs down before exiting the path at the bottom of the slope. This should not be allowed to happen.  A proper drainage plan should be put into place so that it does not impact the path in this way.  https://flic.kr/p/Ba4wKv
    • Airport SW Slip road – Another drainage ditch has been dug to drain the field to the south, this time with an large orange pipe to and similar issues with the water run off cascading pouring out onto the cyclepath, and again using the cyclepath down the slope. I’d be very interested to know what permissions were granted to allow the pipe to be installed. https://flic.kr/p/B9XH7A https://flic.kr/p/By69jH  https://flic.kr/p/Ba48wg
    • Path to BP Garage could do with scraping to full width https://flic.kr/p/Ba3tVe
    • BP garage exit suffers from drivers looking East (for gap in traffic) and not looking at anyone arriving from the East. https://flic.kr/p/B9WFB3
    • West of the BP garage, again the path needs scraping back to full width https://flic.kr/p/BWRycL
    • The Ratho Station footbridge – the pushing ramp is welcomed as a ‘cheap’ fix. Obviously a solution that allowed cycle traffic without dismounting would be better to allow a full range of cycling, mobility and child transportation devices. https://flic.kr/p/BEge3A
    • Station Road exit: There was a large puddle on the exit of Station Road onto the A8 https://flic.kr/p/BEg63N https://flic.kr/p/BZ6cia
  • West side of Newbridge footbridge. Here is a clear desire line away from the path down to the A89 & I assume across it. This should be made into an official path https://flic.kr/p/BZ3Wv8
  • Bollards at Newbridge Bridge. The plans are unclear if they are the existing ones or planned ones.  Whatever is installed should adher to the standard of having a minimum 1.5m gap between bollards and side of path and a minimum 3m gap between bollards, to allow a full range of cycle & mobility devices to pass through. https://flic.kr/p/C538xf https://flic.kr/p/C53c29
  • Eastern entrance to Newbridge Bridge: the realignment is welcomed although it would be great if the puddle to the East of the realigned corner was removed https://flic.kr/p/BEdMXj https://flic.kr/p/BEdEKU
  • Entrance to Newbridge to Dalmeny Railway line. The current plans have a ‘no cycling’ sign on the entrance to the left of the Newbridge Bridge.  I assume this is an error. https://flic.kr/p/BEdEKU https://flic.kr/p/C7kLnR
  • Lochend Road Junction: see above
  • Bus shelter at Lochend Road. Moving the bus shelter is very welcomed as it badly impacts sightlines. https://flic.kr/p/B9PY21
  • Resurfacing and widening for this section will be most welcomed https://flic.kr/p/BZ5eNx https://flic.kr/p/BWMhVS
  • Ratho Station 93-123 Glasgow Rd – see above
  1. Ratho to Airport
  • Ratho to Hallyards Road. The changes to the entrance to prioritise path users is welcome. https://flic.kr/p/C7jTTz https://flic.kr/p/BWJwo9 https://flic.kr/p/BWJwnN Consideration should be given to deterring vehicles from parking/waiting on the cyclepath.  It is a popular spot to wait for the arrivals at the Airport.
  • Hallyard’s Road Jnct. No details given on how this junction will be improved.  https://flic.kr/p/BxNZKR https://flic.kr/p/BZ38P2  It suffered from poor sight lines but currently low traffic volumes.  Consideration should be given prioritising path users at this point.   At the very least signage warning Southbound traffic to expect cyclists
  • Royal Highland Showground.
    • The plans talk of realigning the path to guide users through poles. I assume this will also include widen and resurfacing the path as it is badly affected by tree roots. This is one most complained about part of the route. https://flic.kr/p/BWJk2w https://flic.kr/p/BWJkW7

How can the tree roots be stopped from disrupting the pavement  again?

  • Bus Shelter: No detail of any plans to move the bus shelter which reduces the redcued usable width considerably. https://flic.kr/p/C51UnE
  • Signpost with challenging width: Can this be changed so that a useable width is created? https://flic.kr/p/BEc3Sy
  • Minor Entrance to RHS: This is a very little used entrance with reasonable drop kerbs. The plans have it being converted to pathway priority is welcome but isn’t a priority. https://flic.kr/p/BZ2vWa
  • Ingliston Rd Junction. The plans to align a path across it and redo all the dropped kerbs is welcomed.  The current route across is not direct and the kerbs aren’t all dropped to the standard 6mm or less  https://flic.kr/p/C51GJQ https://flic.kr/p/BZ2x7X
  • Airport Junnction: SW Slip road. Improvements to the radii on the turns to cross the 2 slip roads will be welcome. https://flic.kr/p/BEbzVh   This is a particularly slow part of the route with crossing the 2 slips individually, so anything that can be done to speed it up would appreciated.
  • A8 Underpass. Widening the West path in the underpass to 3m is very welcome as the sight lines on approach are terrible. The undergrowth should be cut right back on the SW approach to improve it further.

 

  1. RBS Gogarburn to Castle Gogar (Northside)
    • The improved signage onto the bridge from the southside would be welcomed
    • The RBS bridge isn’t very wide https://flic.kr/p/BbGovq and already can be very busy at peak hours when a tram load of pedestrians have disembarked. With increases in occupancy at RBS Gogarburn and further increases in cycling this will become a pinchpoint on the route.
    • The path from the tram stop to the bottom of the RBS bridge steps is segregated which really helps avoid conflict between pedestrians and cyclists https://flic.kr/p/BbGovq
    • A desire line to Tram stop via the grass verge has developed – visible in top centre of this photo. https://flic.kr/p/BbGovq I’m not sure how you can stop it, but have flagged it here for completeness.
    • The bush on the left just before the Cabinet works exit should be removed. It blocks the sightlines and makes the corner very difficult to see approaching cyclists or pedestrians.  https://flic.kr/p/BG52DU It have previously been cut back but it just grows back again and we have the same problems.
    • The prioritisation of path users at the Cabinet works exit is welcomed. https://flic.kr/p/C6TMQU
    • The bus shelter between Castle Gogar & Cabinet Works reduces the width of the path https://flic.kr/p/BYBda7 . Whilst visibility is good, consideration should be given the moving the shelter – potentially as part of the bus shelter replacement scheme.
    • Castle Gogar entrance: The prioritisation of path users here is especially welcomed as the visibility is very poor. https://flic.kr/p/C9c3QM https://flic.kr/p/C1U7zc https://flic.kr/p/BbLXS6

 

  1. Castle Gogar to Maybury
    • The Bus shelter / signpost adjacent to Gogar slip: The sign post should be moved to create more usable space. https://flic.kr/p/C9bKD2
    • Old entrance to Tram works: The old concrete entrance that was put in pace during building the tram depot should be returned back to it’s original form. As a minimum, the significant bump on the East side should be flattened. https://flic.kr/p/BG49tC
    • Tram Depot entrance: I have previously written to CEC on this subject. The current layout with a wide hatched area on the inside of the exit means there is a wide gap to cross with no guarantee that vehicles will keep to the unhatched area. Recognising that large vehicles are currently required for building the new tram/train station, but once that is complete, bollards should be installed to reduce the gap needed to be traversed.    https://flic.kr/p/BG3Y9u
    • Railway bridge: At the North West edge of the Railway bridge is a bush that overgrows onto the path and should be removed , rather than just cut back. It has previously been cut back but is growing back again. https://flic.kr/p/C1Tso2
    • Metal fencing outside SCA warehouse. Similarly has plants growing through the fence which need removing to prevent them overgrowing the path https://flic.kr/p/BYA9kL
    • Roughing up the path near to Turnhouse Road is welcomed https://flic.kr/p/C6SDGG
    • The offpath shortcut where the path meets Turnhouse Road should be tarmacced . https://flic.kr/p/C9b4pV as is very muddy. The current tarmacced route has a very tight corner on it. https://flic.kr/p/C1T66c
    • The crossing of Turnhouse Road needs to have a yellow box on it and extending to the South as it is often blocked in the morning by traffic queuing for Maybury junction. This is particularly a problem with lorries / van who even if they leave the crossing clear make visibility of vehicles travelling North nearly impossible to see. You have to peer round the outside of the them and hope that nothing is coming round the corner.

 

  1. Maybury Junction
    • The improvements here a very welcome. The current toucan crossing requires a long wait so further options here will be helpful, as is improving the dropped kerbs.
    • Consideration should be given to making either or both of the East & West pavements on Maybury Rd into shared use (once the West pavement has been restored to full width). These are key routes for cyclists coming from North Edinburgh who don’t feel safe/comfortable on the 40 mph Dual Carriageway – & who can blame them.
    • I don’t understand the need for the pinch point on North Gyle Terrace and I can’t see how it will benefit cyclists. Queuing traffic on NGT will prevent access to the left of the refuge and I foresee cyclists overtaking on the right to make progress to the new crossing.

 

  1. North Gyle Terrace to Dechmont Toucan & Craigmount Steps
    1. Improvements to signage at the NGT / Dechmont Rd junction is especially welcomed as it is very small at the moment. https://flic.kr/p/BbKiSR Spot the sign if you can…
    2. It is good to the Craigmount Step on the plans, although only as a potential. This is a key link to the path from the East Craigs Path Network and would make a big improvement to those who currently have to bump up the steps. https://flic.kr/p/BYyVb1 https://flic.kr/p/BYyPqJ
A8 Cycle Path Consultation – Rambling thoughts