Not Good Enough

Posted by chdot on March 3, 2008

The Council’s web site now has the ‘recommended routes’ for bikes (for avoiding the five month Shandwick Place closure). The page (4 clicks from the initial page) was updated on Friday.

There are some differences between the diversion routes recommended for general traffic and for cyclists:

West to East
Cyclists travelling in this direction are not permitted to use the West Approach Road west of Canning Street. Therefore it is recommended that, instead of following the diversion route for general traffic, cyclists should turn right from Lothian Road in to Rutland Street. You can then continue through Rutland Square, turn left on to Canning Street and then immediately right in to Atholl Crescent Lane. This will lead you to the western end of Shandwick Place.

East to West
Cyclists travelling towards Princes Street are recommended to use the diversion route for general traffic along Manor Place, Melville Street, Queensferry Street. Cyclists travelling towards the south side of Princes Street (Lothian Road) have the option of using Torphichen Street, Canning Street and the West Approach Road (legal for cyclists east of Canning Street).

“East to West” is actually West to East (and vice versa) – but everyone makes mistakes.

It is of course unlikely that many cyclists will actually check the Council’s web site – or have even heard of this site. (It would be a waste of time checking for info on the official Trams for Edinburgh site – “Shandwick Place Closure 1 March 2008 19 weeks (approx)” is all it says.)

SO – what’s actually ‘on the ground’? In terms of signs advising or directing cyclists; NOTHING. In terms of improved facilities; NEGATIVE.

It’s recommended that “cyclists should turn right from Lothian Road in to Rutland Street.” Unfortunately the mass of cones will probably convince some cyclists that trying to turn right is either ‘illegal’ or unsafe. Some motorists will probably think that cyclists trying to access Rutland Street shouldn’t be doing so.

After that the RR includes Atholl Crescent Lane – a particularly uninviting option as its curve means ‘you can’t see where it goes’ – and the cobbles are especially unpleasant. The ‘sensible’ option would be Atholl Crescent but this is being reserved for delivery vehicles.

It’s not clear whether the Council thinks that bikes will interfere with these or whether frustrated drivers will pose a danger to innocent cyclists… It seems unlikely that this sign will convince cyclists that Atholl Crescent Lane is the best way to go.

Either way, at the end of Atholl Crescent they’ll find that they haven’t got past all the obstructions on the way to Haymarket. The pavement is the only way through to West Maitland Street.

Travelling in the opposite direction is more straightforward as it follows the route for all traffic – except that the Council has forgotten the convenient cut-through from Randolph Place to Charlotte Square (on Sustrans NCN Route 1).

The closure of Shandwick Place has been known to the Council and its arms-length company tie for a long time. Both know about cyclists and the concerns they have. Campaign group Spokes has had many meetings with tie – with little apparent effect.

Less than a mile away contempt for cyclists (and pedestrians) is even more evident. One of the few bits of dedicated bicycle facilities in the centre of the city has been obliterated. The wide off-road bike route alongside North St. Andrew Street is no more. There is no indication of any alternative – e.g. North St. David and Queen Streets. Any law abiding cyclist who gets off and pushes will find the pavement is hardly wide enough for pedestrians.

After crossing over to Dublin Street the situation is marginally worse due to the series of kerbs and cars parked up to the new fence.

Of course it’s hoped that ‘the pain will be worth the gain’ (of the trams). The pain shouldn’t have to be so niggling and persistent. This is not really a good sign from a Council (in power for almost a year) that recently re-iterated it’s pledge to make “Edinburgh a model cycle friendly city”.

4 Responses to “Not Good Enough”

  1. Seems like I won’t be following the council’s diversion. It would mean that I have to dismount! I think I’ll just take a wider detour to avoid the area completely.

  2. jacquiephelan said

    I believe this sort of documentation by photos and web-alerts is a fantastic way to get the job done faster than if the politicians were left to do things at their own pace (besides, there probably other pressure-groups, who knows, like the ‘scottish auto assn’ or something) that want things another way…
    Go, Edenburghers go… sorry, Eatinveggieburgers.

  3. […] Not Good Enough […]

  4. […] Not Good Enough […]

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