“Cyclists fear trams will squeeze them off roads”

Posted by chdot on October 15, 2007

“CYCLISTS have raised fears they are being forced off the city’s roads by Edinburgh’s multi-million-pound trams project. Cycle lanes and bike-friendly greenways on Princes Street and Leith Walk face being cut back when the tram line is completed in 2010.”

Today’s Evening News story (complete with the usual on-line readers’ comments) highlights the concerns that Spokes has been raising for some time (CyclingEdinburgh story in June). Whatever the merits of trams, and the ‘value for money’ of the Edinburgh scheme, there are real dangers that a major opportunity for encouraging a significant ‘modal shift‘ is going to be squandered.

Spokes has been pressing the Council (and it’s arms-length-vehicle TIE) for several years for bikes to be considering properly in the City’s transport mix – not just to make sure that cyclists weren’t unduly inconvenienced.

At one time it seemed likely that the authorities would try to make cyclists use George Street instead of Princes Street. Without Spokes pressure it is unlikely that a parallel walk/cycle route would have been included in the plans for the Roseburn spur (which is still not certain to be built). Now there is also a strong campaign for bikes to be allowed on the trams at off-peak times. This doesn’t happen in the UK, but is increasingly common elsewhere in the tram world.

If transport planners want to know about how a city works with high cycle use (around 35%) they only have to look at Copenhagen. This didn’t happen by accident – Copenhagen has been developing cycling for more than 20 years. It no longer has trams though, having built a Metro.

Next development

3 Responses to ““Cyclists fear trams will squeeze them off roads””

  1. If we can’t fit decent bike provision onto Princes St – where can we?

    I cycled on Princes St and in city centre yesterday. I reckon Sunday afternoon is the worst time of the week for city cycling. Sunday is of course the ‘sacred day of shopping’ where drivers get a day off from normal road restricitions and consequently (some) go mad. Parking and driving standards are often abysmal. Also.. if we do have a genuine 24/7 economy why are bus services so poor on a sunday?

    I can imagine a Princes Street where tourists would actually want to cycle (as in Copenhagen). Why not? It’s level and has a garden and castle on one side. This would make bike use highly visible and help promote the rest of our path network. Plenty of space for bike hire area on Mound beside NGS.

    For the physical and mental health of the city we need to make the centre greener with more cycling and walking.

  2. […] “Cyclists fear trams will squeeze them off roads” […]

  3. Give me an old cool bicycle, and I’ll ride around the city for days.

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