Spokes to Redo Count

Posted by chdot on May 10, 2007

Nothing to do with elections or dubious ballot papers – it’s a cycle count. Last November campaigners counted the number of people cycling to work on Lothian Road – “bicycles comprised 133 of the 954 northbound vehicles on Lothian Road between 8 and 9am, peaking at 18.4% of total traffic between 8.45 and 9.00am, and over 10% in each quarter-hour period.” (Details)

Counting was also done on George IV Bridge, both will be revisited next week. Even higher figures are expected on a sunny (?) spring day. The number of cyclists in Edinburgh is certainly on the increase, though reliable figures are hard to come by. Most mechanical counters in the city have been out of action for some years. New ones are planning with funding from SEStran.

Figures for London were reported recently. They show an increase of six per cent in the past year and 83 per cent since 2000. (NOTE: “the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on London’s roads has fallen by 28 per cent.”) It seems likely that a similar increase has been seen in central Edinburgh. Many UK cities have seen little change.

London has the Congestion Charge, Edinburgh has increased the number of areas with permit parking. Spending by City of Edinburgh Council is better than in many other places but clearly not the English Capital – “The Mayor of London and Transport for London have increased investment in cycling by 50 per cent this year from £24 million in 2006/07 to £36 million in 2007/08. In 2000 investment in cycling stood at just £5.5 million.

London is also actively promoting cycling. Perhaps some of Edinburgh’s new councillors will take a keen interest in increasing resources (cash AND staff) and improve promotional activities. This could include making sure that Cycle Training is more widely available in schools.

The Council could actually do more to celebrate its own activities over the years. Improvements to the physical cycle network, Safer Routes to School projects and traffic calming zones are real achievements. One significant area of weakness is maintenance (vegetation management, renewal of road markings etc.), which is to do with split between ‘capital’ and ‘revenue’ spending. Some of the responsibility here is with the Scottish Executive and the way it allocates funding.

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