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Archive for the ‘connect2’ Category

“Welsh Government guarantees cycle route cash”

Posted by chdot on February 2, 2010

“Following two years of campaigning by Sustrans, the Welsh Assembly Government has pledged to dedicate five per cent of its Road Maintenance Grant to the maintenance of cycleways.” BikeBiz

What will John Swinney do?

More info – walesonline.co.uk “Each local authority has £10,000 to improve on-road cycle lanes as part of new funding to repair roads which took a battering from the recent cold snap.”

Discuss on citycyclingedinburgh forum

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Spokes, Sustrans | 1 Comment »

Scottish Parliament Committee Wants YOUR view on “Active Travel”

Posted by chdot on November 4, 2009

transport committee
The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee is “holding an inquiry into Active Travel – walking and cycling”.

Yesterday the Committee took evidence on the Scottish Government’s Draft Budget 2010-11 from John Swinney MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth (in private).

According to Spokes (via Twitter) Des McNulty MSP asked Mr. Swinney about the Spokes Budget submission and “JS said will look at any proposals by the cttee”.

The 10 page proposal from Spokes was also considered by the Committee (again in private) – along with other written submissions (TCICC agenda and written evidence).

The Spokes document is, as usual, a comprehensive and thorough argument for (modest) increased spending on cycling in Scotland. It points out many policies, targets and “warm words” that still have to be backed with action – and cash.

The Spokes proposals (if adopted) would mean that spending on cycle projects would roughly double but still only be around 2% of current Scottish spending on Transport. The Scottish Government has indicated that it would like to see 10% of journeys being by bike by 2020. Edinburgh is aiming for 15%.

It is expected that the Committee will question Mr. Swinney further on his Government’s intentions on “Active Travel” and ask him to include some (or all) of the Spokes suggestions in the forthcoming Budget – or justify his refusal for the second year running.

The Committee (convened by Green MSP Patrick Harvie) is calling “for views on walking and cycling in Scotland“. It wants answers to six straightforward questions. “Respondents are invited to structure their responses around the issues identifed by the Committee. You are free to answer as many or as few of the questions as you wish.”

Closing date for submissions – Friday 11 December 2009.


Posted in Active Travel, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Sustrans, TryCycling | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Professor Criticises Council Practices

Posted by chdot on October 25, 2009


Photo blackpuddinonnabike

Writing in today’s Sunday Herald, Edinburgh University professor Michael S Northcott mentions the ‘cycle facility’ near his office.

“..when the new Missoni Hotel was opened earlier this year the cycle lane was ditched in favour of a publicly provided parking bay for the hotel and two lanes for motorists.”

It’s been like this since May. After lots of protests by locals and cyclists, the Council ‘promised’ to do something, that was in June.

Michael Northcott’s article says a few other things about the environment in Edinburgh.

“..the city council continues to favour speeding cars over slow pedestrians. At many junctions pedestrians have to walk hundreds of feet corralled by metal cages to designated crossing points away from their direction of travel.”

But it’s not just Edinburgh that’s mentioned in the Sunday Herald’s “Essay of the Week” which highlights Governments’ and other organisations’ confusion and hypocrisy over Climate Change and economic growth.

“The Scottish Government recently built one of the world’s most expensive pieces of motorway – an extension to the M74 – against strong local opposition, through a housing scheme to the east of Glasgow. The road raises noise and pollution for local residents to unhealthy levels and significantly reduces the quality of their environment. But it enables drivers who don’t live in the area to traverse it at 70mph on yet another fast motorway through the environs of Glasgow, a city already strewn with urban motorways.”

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, Trams, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 1 Comment »

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 »

“investment in walking and cycling is declining”

Posted by chdot on June 17, 2009

delivering climate change

That’s the sad, but very understandable, conclusion of Transform Scotland after reading the Scottish Government’s new Climate Change Delivery Plan.

Press release in full –

Responding to today’s launch of its Climate Change Delivery Plan, Transform Scotland have criticised the Scottish Government’s plans as being unambitious on transport.

Colin Howden, Director of Transform Scotland, said:

“Transport is the basket case of climate change policy. It is the second largest sector for emissions after heat, and it is the sector where things are still going in the wrong direction.

“The delivery plan does a good job of setting out the range of measures that could reduce emissions from the transport sector – including demand management, investment in active travel and Smarter Choices, and cutting speed limits. The problem is that Government action in these areas is small and stunted: investment in walking and cycling is declining, the budget for Smarter Choices is tiny, while there is little action to ensure the enforcement of current speed limits let alone reducing speed limits.

“All of this contrasts with the Government’s multi-billion road-building programme – which goes strangely unmentioned in this document. At £2,000 million, the proposed Second Forth Road Bridge on its own represents 100 years of Government investment in active travel at current levels.

“There remains a huge mismatch between Government stated aspirations towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its own spending priorities. If the Government truly wants to deliver on its climate change targets then it needs to give top priority to low-cost and swiftly deliverable investments in active travel and Smarter Choices measures, rather than relying on the vain hope that technological change – mainly outwith its control – will come to save the day.”

Posted in Active Travel, bike security theft, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, bikeweek, ChangingPace, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, CTC, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, Lothian Buses, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | 4 Comments »

Cycling Could Boost Rail Use

Posted by chdot on June 10, 2009

Ayr Stranraer Report
Photo of Barrhill Station © AJ Kirkham

A new report, Ayr-Stranraer rail regeneration study, has been
published by Transform Scotland, the “national sustainable transport
alliance”.

Paul Tetlaw, Chair of Transform Scotland, said:  “Ayr-Stranraer is Scotland’s forgotten rail line. It has great potential but is currently greatly under-valued and under-utilised.  The railway has for too long been seen as only serving ferries when it should also be providing a service for local residents, for day-trip visitors and for tourists from overseas. The area requires better connectivity to Glasgow, and the Ayr-Stranraer line has the potential to provide journey times competitive with the car. 

The 96 page report mentions cycling several times – “The study report highlighted the potential for tourism and leisure markets in two particular areas – leisure cycling opportunities around a potential new station in the Dunragit area” (p36) “the route traverses attractive countryside (with three unique stations) and has the potential, through integrated marketing packages, to tap into a significant market for day leisure trips from the Glasgow area to visitor attractions in south Ayrshire and western Galloway – it also offers potential access to leisure walking and cycling markets.” (p40) “businesses can highlight public transport on their website, offer to pick visitors up from the local railway station, provide bikes and maps showing local cycle routes and join VisitScotland’s Walker and Cyclists welcome schemes.” (p56) “The planned extension of the National Cycle Route 73 from Newton Stewart to Cairnryan will pass under the railway near Glenluce Abbey, and will also link to a leisure cycle network in the Machars, and northwards by minor road to Barrhill. The Southern Uplands Way crosses the railway two miles north of Glenluce Abbey.” (p68).

Unfortunately there are no mentions of cycling in either the press release that accompanies the report or in its Executive Summary (p3) – these tend to be the only bits journalists and politicians read – or even the 12 page Summary Report..

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, Bikes on trains, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, EducatedTravel, Peak Oil, Sustrans | Leave a Comment »

Spokes Appeals to Swinney

Posted by chdot on June 8, 2009

spokes letter
Veteran (31 years and still going strong) local cycle campaign group Spokes has written to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, continuing its campaign for increased investment to encourage more people to cycle. (PDF)

It’s not many years since the case would have to be made for the idea of encouraging people to cycle. Now all levels of Government (Westminster, Holyrood and City Chambers) want more people to cycle (more often) but are still failing to understand that the massive increases they say they want will require cash.

As the letter’s author, Dave du Feu, points out – “Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson announced a new government target of 10% of all trips to be by bicycle in the year 2020” and continues “Mr Stevenson and other Ministers refer to comparator European countries such as Denmark which have achieved well over such levels, suggesting that such a target is achievable. However, the difference is that such countries have invested in cycling substantially and consistently over many years, whereas investment in Scotland has hovered around or below 1%, around £3-£4 per head of population, and is now on a significant downward trend. In comparator towns and countries we often find £10-£20 per head, or 5%-10% of transport budgets (even more in some towns).”

(City of Edinburgh Council has recently announced its own target of 15% by 2020 without any indication of sufficient extra investment).

Dave is not just another ‘campaigner’ asking for money for a pet project/vested interest. He has, for many years, collected statistics from all local authorities in Scotland and has a very clear idea of the amount of spending by councils on cycling (not always easy to identify completely accurately) and whether or not that investment is increasing (generally not).

“If the target is to be taken seriously, or even if the government is concerned that cycling investment is falling in contradiction to the aspirations of the SNP manifesto, then the decline in investment must be reversed in the current year, and serious investment towards the target must begin rapidly thereafter.”

Dave’s letter lists suggestions for money required – £5m more in the current financial year, in 2010/11 “a new £20m cycle projects fund, additional to current initiatives, and so roughly doubling existing levels of cycle investment.” As he points out “this proposal, whilst doubling existing cycle investment, would still leave us well below European levels, and certainly not yet on track to meet your 2020 cycle use target.”

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, Art, Bikes on trains, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, HEALTH, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking | Leave a Comment »

Copenhagen Comes to Edinburgh

Posted by chdot on May 28, 2009

Sustrans womens
Maybe.

Anyone familiar with the web site Copenhagenize.com (a celebration of cycling in a city that has taken bikes seriously for years) will probably have come across Copenhagen Cycle Chic “Streetstyle and Bike Advocacy in High Heels”.

Originally a photo record of well dressed, normal, people (mostly female) going around the Danish capital in all temperatures. It now is increasingly recording people in other cities.

So it seems certain that some photos from Sunday’s Sustrans event will feature there soon! (Pictured here are two of Sustrans‘ Edinburgh staff.)

“Dozens of fashion-conscious cyclists are expected to join the colourful ride along the city’s cycle routes dressed in their favourite outfits.”

“Men are also invited to join the ride, which starts at Haymarket Yards, next to Haymarket Rail Station, on May 31st at 12pm. It will last about one and a half hours along National Cycle Network routes to the north of the city centre. There will be prizes for the most glamorous riders and also a ‘Bling Your Bike’ competition to find the most dressed up bike.”

It seems certain that the riders will cross those on the regular monthly TryCycling In Edinburgh ride which starts at Ainslie Park Leisure Centre at 10.00 taking a leisurely three hours to ride to Cramond and back.

Posted in Art, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, paths, ride, Sustrans, TryCycling | Leave a Comment »

English Stations Encourage Cycling

Posted by chdot on July 11, 2008

Thirty one railway stations in England have been chosen in a pilot “to encourage rail users to use environmentally friendly forms of transport when travelling to and from station”.

“Over the next nine months, extensive passenger research will be carried out at pilot stations to understand how and why passengers choose particular modes of transport to access them.  Specific travel plans will then be developed and implemented during 2009.  Further research to evaluate the effectiveness of the plans will be undertaken in 2011.”

This is a move developed by The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) but was only open to stations in England and Wales. National Express East Coast which runs trains from Edinburgh to London (bikes free, but need to be booked) is involved with the scheme at two of the stations it runs – Durham and Darlington. The latter is one of Cycling England’s Demonstration Towns

Scotland’s main train operator First ScotRail manages most stations (apart from Waverley which is run by Network Rail). ScotRail has regular meetings with representatives of cycling groups and has gradually improved facilities for cyclists since it abolished the £3 charge ten years ago.

Cycle facilities and promotion charity Sustrans pioneered the idea of “Safe Routes to Stations” and produced a valuable eight page guide on what should be done several years ago.

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, bike security theft, Bikes on trains, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, connect2, cycle parking, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Peak Oil, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Sustrans, walking | Leave a Comment »

Historic Free Entry to Lothians

Posted by chdot on March 27, 2008


A view from Craigmillar Castle

Once again Historic Scotland is offering a weekend (12th and 13th of April) of free entry to 268 of its 345 properties which span “over 5,000 years of Scotland’s history and culture”.

There was a time when cyclists were notoriously ‘careful with their money’ – or was it that ‘only poor people cycle (or take public transport…)’. Now, cyclists are just sensible

You could just visit Edinburgh Castle, but how about Craigmillar Castle – and then travel east to Dirleton Castle and Gardens and on to Tantallon Castle.

Or cross the Forth and visit Dunfermline Palace (lunch at Abbot House) – and check out Pittencrieff Park (aka “The Glen”). (Last two not HS properties.)

Maybe try a tour of West Lothian taking in Blackness Castle (movie star), Cairnpapple Hill and Linlithgow Palace.

You could organise a ride and make it an official Bike Week ‘preliminary event’. All venue pages on the Historic Scotland site have links to the appropriate part of the Sustrans NCN map.

EDINBURGH AND LOTHIANS properties included in the Free Weekend.

Opening times over the Free Weekend are 09.30 to 17.30 (last admission 17.00) unless otherwise stated. Some of the smaller properties may close over lunchtime.

Blackness Castle
Cairnpapple Hill
Craigmillar Castle
Crichton Castle
Dirleton Castle and Gardens
Edinburgh Castle – open 09.30 to 18.00; last admission 17.15
Linlithgow Palace – last admission 16.45
On Saturday 12 April some parts of the Palace will have restricted access between 11.00 to 13.30 due to a wedding taking place. There will be no car parking at the Palace on that day. To fully enjoy exploring the Palace, visitors are advised to come on Sunday 13 April instead
Seton Collegiate Church
Tantallon Castle
Torphichen Preceptory – open 13.00 to 17.00
Trinity House, Leith – open 12.00 noon to 16.00; last admission 15.30

Posted in ChangingPace, commuting, connect2, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, cycling world, Edinburgh, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, holidays, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Safety, Spokes maps, Sustrans, tandem, walking | Leave a Comment »