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Archive for the ‘Lothian Buses’ Category

What Should be Done with Princes Street?

Posted by chdot on December 14, 2009

Princes Street re-opened to bikes and buses two weeks ago. There have been quite a few cyclists grounded by encounters with the tram tracks. One early one was caught on video and sent to You Tube and resulted in Evening News and BBC stories.

Yesterday training was held on the section that is still coned off but there are still no warning signs or road markings to alert people to the dangers. One improvement would be a new Advance Stop Line at the junction with Waverley Bridge.

Discussion on CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle training, cyclestreets.net, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Safety, Spokes, Trams, What the papers say | 1 Comment »

Princes Street Set to Re-open

Posted by chdot on November 27, 2009

Princes Street is expected to re-open to buses (and bikes of course) at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

It’s also due to see an “Art Car Parade” – “this electrifying spectacle will feature illuminated customised vehicles of all shapes and sizes being pushed, pedalled and driven from the Royal Mile to St Andrews Square Gardens” (from Parliament Square via The Mound, Princes Street and Frederick Street) – at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Progress can be spied on from a conveniently place webcam. (Watch the big wheel rotate too!) The activity is not quite frenzied, but there have undoubtedly been more yellow jacketed workers and vehicles visible in the last ten days than the previous ten months! No doubt someone will know how many tonnes of tarmac have been laid in the last few days.

Last week’s Spokes Public Meeting discussed the whole issue of how bikes should fit with trams (when they eventually run). Chair of the meeting Lesley Riddoch had a full page in The Scotsman on Monday. A discussion continues on the CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum.

It will be interesting to see whether it’s possible to deal with the leapfrogging buses without crossing the new tram tracks – and how ‘safe’ it will feel traversing the tracks when slaloming from The Mound to Hanover Street in the rain.

UPDATE – cycling from The Mound to Hanover Street over the tram tracks induced no concerns – apart from wondering about the need for the Cyclists Dismount sign

Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Safety, Spokes, Trams, walking | 2 Comments »

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 »

Super?

Posted by chdot on October 12, 2009

superhighway


Still from video
of video

A few days in London confirm that cycling is ‘hot’. Cycle commuting is rampant – multi-colours of Bromptons, monotones of yellow jackets, obsessions of speed.

Many examples of fashion on wheels – one gear wonders (a lot of London is fairly flat), and plenty of retro/traditional styling – from ‘Europe’ or England. In truth, some of this is concentrated in trendy/studenty parts of the city.

Transport for London has an overview of Public Transport, the Congestion Charge and also cycling. With millions of people travelling daily it’s a big job and comes with a relatively big budget. The Cycling section of the tfl site is useful. You can order any (or all) of the 14 free cycle maps.

The ‘next big things’ are Cycle Hire – a variation on the Paris Vélib’ – and the Superhighway. Both due to arrive next summer.

Edinburgh is thinking about its own Vélib’ variation and also plans to spend £150k on a “corridor”.

The London Superhighway plan is reasonably ambitious, though not without its critics (LCC demands Cycle Super-highways, not superficial highways). It’s not going to turn London into Copenhagen any time soon.

The most obvious feature is that the lanes will be BLUE. and there is a ‘promise’ for a minimum width of 1 1/2 metres. In addition the blue won’t stop at junctions and the surface is planned to be “smooth” with some remedial actions before the new tarmac is laid.

tfl regards this as revolutionary and has good reason to encourage cycling – basically it’s cheap. It keeps people out of their cars, reducing congestion and making bus services more reliable. It also reduces pressure on the tube.

In Edinburgh ‘transport’ is mostly the responsibility of the Council. At present much thought and money is being spent on trying to get the Tram on track. Unfortunately too many councillors and officials seem agree with the the new RAC Boss that cycling is a ‘niche mode of travel’ (which should therefore be ignored). Hard to imagine an Edinburgh councillor replacing Boris on a banner like this.

Perhaps when the tram is finished things will be different – but the planning needs to be started sooner. Perhaps Superhighway Blue could be used on Marchmont Road to replace Fading Red.

Cycling
Edinburgh has a wide network of on and off-street cycle facilities. Throughout the Tram works cycling remains an effective way of getting around the city, offering easy parking irrespective of roadworks.” (From EdinburghTrams.com)

Posted in Active Travel, bike shops, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Lothian Buses, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, technology, Trams, walking | 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 »

“IS THE GOVERNMENT SERIOUS?”

Posted by chdot on June 29, 2009

Is the Government seriousThat’s the question Scottish cycle campaign groups are asking this morning.

Spokes (Edinburgh) and Go Bike (Glasgow) are handing out leaflets to delegates at the transport, technology and climate change conference in Glasgow.

The handout contains a selection of quotes – e.g.

Transport is the poorest performing area in terms of sustainable development” and, within this badly performing area, “Active travel (walking and cycling) is in relative decline...”

Sustainable Development Commission’s Review of Progress by the Scottish Government, November 2008

It also lists a few of the things the Government is and isn’t doing – e.g.

We are developing a Cycle Action Plan.” Correct and good – but there is no commitment to investment. The Action Plan is in any case very overdue, and allows the SNP government a full period of office with minimal and declining cycle investment.

The campaigners conclude –

“more” means “less.”

Posted in Active Travel, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, cycle parking, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Sustrans, walking | Leave a Comment »

“Smarter Ways Forward”

Posted by chdot on June 23, 2009

Smarter Ways Forward
Photo Colin Howden

Smarter Ways Forward is the latest report from transport pressure group Transform Scotland Trust. It’s 50 pages of detailed research into the results of various measures, north and south of the border, encouraging people to walk, cycle and take public transport.

It highlights the ongoing problems and some of the answers:-

“Distances as short as one kilometre are regularly travelled by car (Scottish Executive 2005). Nearly a quarter of car journeys are less than 2 miles and over a half of all journeys made by car are less than 5 miles (CfIT 2007). Research on the impact of Smarter Choices by Sustrans/Socialdata found significant modal shift is possible: 50% of all local car trips in non-metropolitan towns could be replaced by walking, cycling and/or public transport (CfIT 2007).”

Annual surveys of school children in Scotland demonstrate a small shift towards more walkng and cycling.

Sustrans’ National Hands-Up Survey Scotland 2008 (May 2009) reported that 51.8% of Scottish children travel to school by active travel modes – a greater number that those who get to school by car, bus or taxi (47.7%). The number of children cycling (2.8%) or walking (48.3%) to school was greater than Sustrans had expected. It was found that 27.6% of children were driven to school for all or part of their journey (6.1% of this amount took the car for part of the journey and walked the rest) while 18.1%” took the bus.”

Transform’s researchers asked local authorities what would help them implement measures and what, if any, problems they had encountered in attempting to implement measures. The report finds that “general problems such as ingrained car culture among staff, and lack of senior management buy-in to Smarter Choices make it difficult for them to implement various measures”.

In Edinburgh there is some evidence that such attitudes are being. slowly, overcome. The Council’s recent adoption of a policy of ‘15% by 2020’ for cycle journeys is a massive step forward, though a few days later the firm target was officially described as “aspirational”

The conclusions of Smarter Ways Forward (page 32) are under five main headings: –

A national Smarter Choices programme – “..The programme would be delivered at local and regional levels – making commonplace the implementation of schemes such as workplace travel plans, school travel plans, car clubs, and car sharing..”

Car clubs – “..a review of possible support strategies that would encourage the development of car clubs to serve communities throughout Scotland.

(Tele-)Conferencing -“Local authorities (and/or RTPs) should increase access for small businesses and voluntary organisations to affordable conferencing facilities through creation of local ICT hubs.”

School travel plans – “..We recommend that School Travel Coordinator posts be a mandatory requirement of Local Authorities; that Local Authorities should provide adequate budgets for school travel planning; and that the Scottish Government (as part of recommendation 1.1 above), consider reinstating ringfenced funding for the School Travel Coordinator programme.”

Public transport information – “The Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers in Scotland (ATCO Scotland) should take forward work on improving common standards for public transport information across Scotland..”

Is it possible that the Government can ignore another well researched and well argued report on ‘sustainable’ transport that addresses some of the issues that need to be dealt with if the ambitious targets of the Climate Change Bill (today in Holyrood) are to be met?

Posted in Active Travel, bike security theft, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, 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, Lothian Buses, Maps, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, TryCycling, walking | Leave a 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 »

Velib Comes to Capital

Posted by chdot on June 12, 2009


Photo sidewaysbike

Yes that looks like Edinburgh’s Rose Street, but of course it’s Dublin. (More photos on Velovision Forum by Sideways Bike inventor Michael Killian.) London is due to be next and Edinburgh – one day, maybe. City of Edinburgh Council is actively looking into the idea – having seen the success in Paris.

There is a real possibility that Edinburgh’s version of a mass bike hire scheme could arrive before the first trams run.

Imagine an immaculately resurfaced Princes Street (tram line laying there due to be finished by the end of this year) with a Velib station by every block (perhaps where the bus stops used to be) and the buses still running via George Street.

This is certainly the vision of Spokes which is calling for Princes Street to be just for pedestrians, cyclists and trams. Remarkable this idea seems to have struck a chord with Councils officials and politicians and many Edinburgh residents.

Maybe it’s a ‘must do’ if Edinburgh is to have any hope of the proposed 15% of journeys, by bike, by 2020.

Posted in Active Travel, Art, bike security theft, Bikes on trains, citycycling, Climate Change, cycle parking, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, European Moblity Week, Lothian Buses, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, Spokes, technology, Trams, TryCycling | 1 Comment »