Flood Prevention – Opportunity for Cycling?

Posted by chdot on March 16, 2007

Braid Burn Flood prevention path
Click for larger photo.

Today’s front page story (Evening News) that “MINISTERS today gave the go-ahead for the controversial flood-prevention plans for the Water of Leith” is generally good news. Though the decision to exempt Murrayfield from playing its part (as a natural flood plain) will ensure that the controversy continues.

The work is currently costed at £47 million and will mean new walls, some higher than the Council (and residents) wanted and changes to paths in some places. It is therefore crucial that the design details are done well.

Ever since the damaging floods in 2000 the Council has been planning flood prevention measures for the Water of Leith and the Braid Burn. Gradually new infrastructure is being put in place starting with The Braid Burn. The photo shows the view from Firrhill Crescent towards Oxgangs Road North. Previously there was a narrow path with steps at the end (see Google Earth image).

In spite of there being room for a wider path, this has not been created. Worse, there is a completely unnecessary ‘dogleg’ in the middle. This is not just a local path serving a few houses. It should also be part of the Braid Burn Walk and Cycleway – one of Edinburgh’s long distance waterside routes from the Pentlands to the Forth.

Lothian cycle campaign Spokes has only just pointed out, in its latest Bulletin, that the area where the council falls down most seriously in fostering cycle use is the failure to integrate cycling into other relevant areas of transport and other policies – “cycling is often an afterthought, treated abysmally unless Spokes and our members shame the council into a rethink”.

As Ian Maxwell of Spokes says – “We hope that pointing out these missed opportunities will reduce the chance of this sort of thing happening again. The Council should ensure that any road or path works are undertaken with opportunities for cyclists in mind, maximising the return from their investment and avoiding the need for expensive retrofitting.”

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