In two months time thousands of people will be living and working in a former field in East Lothian. Queen Margaret was once Edinburgh’s Domestic Science college, it’s now a University specialising in things like Business, Drama and Health Sciences. Eight hundred will live on campus and many more will commute daily. The University is fairly serious about its ‘green credentials’ and has its own Green Travel Co-ordinator dealing with Travel and Transport.
Gill Kelly has a challenging role encouraging healthier and more sustainable travel choices, both at the existing QM locations and the new, replacement, site which has been designed with limited parking – restricted to those with the greatest need. The brand new campus is right next to Musselburgh Station, which is just six minutes from Waverley on the North Berwick line, though there’s generally only one train an hour.
Slightly further away is Newcraighall Station with a half hourly service. One day this station will be busier with the re-opening of the line to Galashiels (work started) and (sometime) the South Sub – check the web site and sign the petition. Unfortunately this is on the wrong side of the tracks and a journey on foot, or by bike, takes twice as long as it would if there was a direct route. The station is in Edinburgh and the University is in East Lothian.
Both Councils have clearly known for a long time about the construction and completion of this massive new workplace. ELC has introduced parking measures to reduce the number of staff and student cars able to park in nearby residential areas. CEC has tarmaced a short section of path through Newcraighall Park.
Earlier this year both councils looked at ways of improving the whole path (part of Sustrans’ NCN 1) – particularly the fact that it is currently unlit and therefore far from attractive when it’s dark. Apparently the path is not close enough to a suitable electricity supply – though obviously at one end there is a large university at the other an electrified railway line! As a consequence QM is hoping to install solar powered lights. Gill says – “I’m keen to see the path improved and well lit before the beginning of term in October, I’m working closely with the councils to bring this about.”
QMU has also undertaken to deal with the vegetation alongside the path (see photo). It would be nice to think that the Councils and QM could also work together (perhaps with the help of SEStran) to create a new route to Newcraighall Station. The most direct line involves cutting a swathe through the recent trees on the City Bypass embankment, over the bridge and then (after the creation of a new ramp) down to the station platform. There is plenty of room on the overbridge, the extra width is a ‘visibility splay’ to provide stopping sight distance for 120kph design speed. The Design Manual for Roads and Bridges permits footways & cycletracks in such areas.