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.

2 Responses to “QM Actively Encourages Cycling”

  1. Peter Hawkins said

    For years this path beside and below the A1, connecting Newcraighall to Musselburgh Station, has been very poorly maintained. I have organised groups of volunteers to come and cut back the vegetation both from the sides – grass, brambles, nettles – and overhead – tree canopy. It’s a nice rural path and deserves better treatment.
    I was working there yesterday with loppers and a slasher, and did about half the length. I’ll do the rest if I have time. But it shouldn’t be left to volunteers. Perhaps for the opening of the University we could have a nice clean clear path?!!

  2. Sylvie Mac said

    Please spare a thought for the poor East Lothian and Borders students travelling to QM at Musselburgh.

    It looks as if Gill Kelly has been instrumental in providing buses for Edinburgh students but no such luck for those travelling up the A1 from Eyemouth, Dunbar & East linton.

    My daughter has spent the past two years travelling the city by-pass to Corstorphine on any transport she could get. Now she has
    to try to get to lectures that start at 4.30pm and others at 8pm (whats all that about??!!) via a one mile walk to the nearest bus stop followed by two bus journeys.

    Or am I wrong?? Can someone out there please tell us the easiest route to QM from just outside East Linton.

    But spare a thought for another student who travels from Chirnside.

    You Edinburgh students have it easy.

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