Archive for September 19th, 2009

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 »