Archive for August, 2007

QM Actively Encourages Cycling

Posted by chdot on August 1, 2007

QMU path from Newcraighall
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.

Google Map of existing and alternative routes from Newcraighall Station.

Sustrans leaflet of the area.

Posted in Bikes on trains, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Craigmillar Cycles, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Maps, paths, ride, Shawfair, Sustrans, walking | 2 Comments »

Thirty Years Ago Today

Posted by chdot on August 1, 2007

recycles ad
A small bike shop opened at 3 West Crosscauseway. Three young people had decided to create jobs for themselves repairing bikes and selling new parts and second-hand bicycles. At the time Edinburgh didn’t have as many cyclists as today or the variety of cycle shops. It was surprisingly hard to get machines repaired, shops often had “No Repairs Meantime” notes on the door.

Recycles, as it had been decided to call the shop, set out to repair bikes within 24 hours. One of the first customers working in a nearby book shop and came in with a puncture. She cycled home the same afternoon. Another early decision was that the shop would open at 10.00, this was to suit the staff/owners!

Of course there were people who thought it wouldn’t work – a small shop in a South Side side street. It was chosen for its cheap rent, (it was semi-derelict and all the houses above were empty – the grand plans for “Comprehensive Redevelopment” of the area had stalled), and the fact that it was in the heart of the student part of town.

The Recycles Co-op (as it was formally known) expanded by creating Edinburgh Cycle Hire at 8 Alvanley Terrace in 1978. The next year it opened a shop for new bikes next door. Gradually the whole terrace became the Edinburgh Bike Co-op – the new name from 1985. Now there is a warehouse near Dalmeny and shops in five UK cities. They still open at 10.00.

Other cycling innovations in 1977. More EBC history.

Posted in City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, recycling, Spokes | 3 Comments »