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Archive for September, 2009

Barriers to Cycling – the Saga Continues

Posted by chdot on September 27, 2009

3barrierss
(Before)

Sunday morning 9 a.m. (apparently) workpersons arrive in Portobello to make some modifications.

Half an hour later one barrier is removed and warning panels added to the remaining furniture.

Next on the scene is a local resident who just happens to know the Council’s guidelines on such things. A polite conversation ensues about what to do with the 70mm excess barrier length. It’s removed.

Next along is a women on a mobility scooter, clearly pleased that her twice weekly trip is now much easier.

What’s next? Maybe a change to the road layout in George IV Bridge that’s been promised for a few months.

Any pictures of such things? Please add to the barriers to cycling in Edinburgh Flickr group.

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, Climate Change, commuting, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, paths, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, walking | 2 Comments »

Pretty, but Waste of Money

Posted by chdot on September 26, 2009


Photo smsm1

Seems City of Edinburgh Council’s Road Services is on a mission to ‘restore’ some of Edinburgh’s pedestrian and cycle ‘facilities’. Recently it refurbished the gates at the mouth of the St. Leonard’s Tunnel by replacing the long absent hoop which impeded touring cyclists.

Predictable howls of protest (mostly by e-mail) from some of the many cyclists using the Innocent Route, resulted in the offending item being removed a week later. Councillors for the area have been told “instruction was to repair and re-paint the existing pedestrian guardrail and gate at the East Parkside entrance to the innocent railway tunnel.  It appears the hoop was installed by the workshops based on the original design of this feature and the remains of a metal post at this location.”

This would explain similar work at Brunstane (photo), but not the additional, attractive, paving. The litter bin is an added bonus, which should be repeated on all off-road paths – especially those near secondary schools (e.g. Trinity)…

However as smsm1 points out on flickr “there are a significant number of cyclists who are just avoiding the gates by going over the grass on the left hand side of this picture”. So no chance of discouraging illegal motorbikes then. Perhaps the money should have been spent on tarmacing this short section of Sustrans’ prestigious NCN1.

If you know of similar ‘issues’ in Edinburgh please comment below or add photo to barriers to cycling in Edinburgh flickr group.

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, HEALTH, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Safe Routes to School, Sustrans, walking | 1 Comment »

Another Barrier to Cycling

Posted by chdot on September 19, 2009

End of European Mobility Week Update

Rumour has it that the new addition will be removed in the next few days… (NOW DONE)

(New flickr group created – barriers to cycling in Edinburgh)

It’s easy to blame ‘the Council’ for things. Sometimes it’s justified. One problem though is the notion that ‘the Council’ acts with a consistent vision.

It is of course naïve to imagine that the myriad of plans, proposals and policies all neatly mesh together with a common, agreed, purpose of making life better for Edinburgh’s residents and visitors.

Equally it cannot be assumed that politicians and senior officials manage to pass on decisions, their importance and implications to all Council staff. In turn employees closer to ‘front line services’ are more likely to have to deal with local concerns – real or exaggerated.

The recent installation of barriers in Portobello may be for ‘safety’ reasons – though safety would be improved by cutting back the vegetation on the blind hairpin bend on the ramp where three barriers have been sited.

Perhaps the idea is to discourage the occasional youth on an illegal motorbike. ‘Fear of motorbikes’ used to be the reason for the small hoops (see photo) at many access points to off-road paths.

In the last ten years, in Edinburgh, most have been removed, so it’s disappointing that a new one has appeared at the mouth of The St. Leonard’s Tunnel (ironical in European Mobility Week). This must be one of Edinburgh’s busiest and best loved cycle routes. Motorcycles are rarely seen. So perhaps the ‘safety issue’ is to do with conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists trying to get through a narrow gap. Yesterday one cyclist, unimpressed by the new impediment, said “what are they trying to do, kill us?”

Perhaps the answer would be a bigger gap – as at Eildon Street. More sensible would be to replace the gates (which weren’t always there) with a bollard to stop cars – which is what local people were (quite reasonably) complaining about, leading to the gates being restored and locked.

The current LibDem administration was elected in 2007 on a manifesto (p.24) which said they wanted to “make Edinburgh a model cycle-friendly and walker-friendly city”. Head of Transport, Marshall Poulton recently signed the Charter of Brussels which will require significant ‘game raising’ by ‘the Council’.

Last year Spokes wrote to Council Leader Cllr Jenny Dawe, she replied saying: “I was particularly struck by the detailed and informative case that you made for promoting cycling and the positive impact that this could have for Edinburgh’s economy, sustainability, health and quality of life”.

Perhaps it’s time the councillors and officials who want to encourage walking and cycling met some of their colleagues who seem to have a different agenda.

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, paths, Peak Oil, Safety, Spokes, walking | 12 Comments »

What Do YOU Think of Edinburgh’s Roads and Paths?

Posted by chdot on September 17, 2009


Edinburgh recently signed the Brussels Treaty which has a target for cycle journeys of 15% by 2020.

A LOT needs to be done to have any hope of this being achieved.

Today it was announced (Evening News story) that £150,000 is to be invested to create a “corridor” of bus and cycle lanes between Edinburgh University’s campuses at George Square and King’s Buildings.

By contrast two sets of barriers recently appeared at the ends of the Hope Lane cycle/pedestrian bridge and a very curious impediment to easy cycle flow appeared in George IV Bridge by the new hotel.

Inevitably reaction to both was swift and strong and the Council was forced to concede that it would have to ‘think again’. (Still waiting for action).

Now the Council is seeking public views on how well it looks after roads (and paths) and lighting.

Well worth spending a quarter of an hour dealing with the online survey.

Perhaps add some pictures to flickr.com/groups/barriers_to_cycling_in_edinburgh

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, paths, Peak Oil, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, Trams, walking | 11 Comments »

Bike Friday Routes

Posted by chdot on September 17, 2009

Bike Friday 2009

“Looks like a lot of fun” Tom Morton Radio Scotland

Tomorrow Edinburgh will have three “Bike Friday” rides. This is the first time that the city has tried to run such organised commutes. Billed as “Edinburgh’s social cycle commute” it will be interesting to see who turns up – and in what numbers!

Similar events have been run in Manchester and London and attract a mix of regular commuters looking for some company plus ‘new’ riders who welcome the security of having other riders with them.

It’s not a Critical Mass, trying to take over the streets once a month and (reasonably) assert that bikes have a right to the streets too. It’s certainly not a race.

The rides will be led and marshalled by experienced riders who will set a reasonable pace and (in places) probable be faster than the ‘rush’ hour traffic. (Yesterday’s Commuter Challenge proved that bikes are a pretty good way to get around the city quickly). Parts of the routes will be on quiet roads and pedestrian/cycle only sections. The routes have been chosen with care with an understanding of likely traffic in the morning. Not the fastest routes or most scenic – a mix of real life riding in Edinburgh. (Other routes are available… Find your own using edinburgh.cyclestreets.net.)

The route from South Gyle hardly has to deal with traffic until Haymarket.

The ride from Gracemount uses Ellen’s Glen Road (local traffic only) and then busy roads (with bike and bus lanes in places) to The Grange and on through The Meadows.

From Portobello it’s along The Prom and (mostly) wide roads until Holyrood Park then ‘underneath’ Edinburgh via the Cowgate and Grassmarket where bikes are likely to be able to ‘rush’ past the motor traffic.

All rides start at 8.00 and finish in Festival Square roughly 40 minutes later. There will be a Spokes stall for advice and info (you could make you own way there). You can swap commuting tales and, perhaps, arrange to run your own Bike Friday/Thursday/Wednesday/Tuesday/Monday.

If you fancy coming along for part of the ride, that’s fine. Check the routes but note that they are likely but not guaranteed. Also (apart from the 8.00 start) timings are not precise but expect to see a group of cyclist passing through Holyrood Park, Roseburn Park and The Grange round about 8.15.

Bike Friday is being organised by ChangingPace as part of European Mobility Week with funding from City of Edinburgh Council.

If these rides are successful/popular they may become regular events. Perhaps more/different routes, perhaps starting in the city centre. If you want to ride in a smaller group (or just with another person – or even carshare) why not register with the SEStran TripShare/BikeBudi scheme.

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

Bikes to the Fore in Commuter Challenge

Posted by chdot on September 16, 2009

First arrival at St. Andrew Square in today’s annual Commuter Challenge was Richard Bloodworth (left) on a minimalist recumbent. He covered the four miles from The Royal Infirmary in just 15 minutes – half the time of the bus.

A tandem was the first arrival from Ocean Terminal – again twice as fast as the bus. Though even the bus passenger was quicker than the father/daughter carshare team – finding a legal parking space takes time!

The fastest average speed from all four staring places was 21mph on two wheels – but with the benefit of an engine. Second fastest was the train and Brompton combination from Queen Margaret University (Musselburgh station).

The flat out fastest cyclist managed 16.1mph on the 7 miles from the park and ride at Ingliston.

BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland reporter David Miller did a live report from QMU then drove to his office in Holyrood Road and walked to the finish to broadcast interviews with CC organiser Maggie Wynn and Alex Macaulay, Partnership Director of event sponsor SEStran. SEStran is involved with public transport and also encouraging people to walk, cycle and carshare.

FULL DETAILS

Photos from the finish can be viewed on Flickr.

Folder

Slideshow

Posted in Active Travel, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, cyclingedinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safety, tandem, walking | Leave a Comment »

One Week to First Bike Friday

Posted by chdot on September 11, 2009

EMW BIKE FRIDAY POSTER 7

Next Friday three groups of cyclists will set off from different parts of Edinburgh and head for Festival Square (off Lothian Road).

It will be Edinburgh’s first organised ride for cycling ‘commuters’. It’s an event in Edinburgh’s European Mobility Week and is a mixture of social fun and confidence building.

Similar rides already exist in Manchester and London. The rides will be led and marshalled by experienced cyclists and will take routes that involve quiet streets and some busy roads.

A good turnout is expected – helped by Edinburgh Bicycle telling all its customers in the weekly email newsletter.

In Festival Square Spokes (The Lothian Cycle Campaign) will have an information stall.

Spokes does a cycle count on Lothian Road twice a year. It records that bicycles are a growing percentage of the ‘rush hour’ traffic.

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle training, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, paths, Peak Oil, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, TryCycling | 3 Comments »