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Archive for the ‘Sustrans’ Category

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 »

Government Relies on Spokes Statistics

Posted by chdot on August 5, 2009

SPICe

UPDATE: A civil servant has suggested that the headline should say “Holyrood Relies on Spokes Statistics”. “Cycling in Scotland” is produced by the Scottish Parliament not the Scottish Government. It’s assumed that the report’s author looked for statistics from the SG first. It’s also assumed that the SG relies on the best available statistics. If there are better statistics than those compiled by Spokes, Spokes would be keen to have them.

SPICe, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, has published a concise briefing document titled “Cycling in Scotland”. Many of the statistics quoted have come from Spokes (The Lothian  Cycle Campaign).

Not only does it indicate that Spokes’ surveys of spending on cycling in Scotland are regarded as comprehensive/accurate, it also suggests that no-one in Government is keeping their own tally!

The figures have been compiled for many years by Dave du Feu who has doggedly dealt with Local Authorities – collecting survey answers and compiling the results (and interpreting where necessary). Most Scottish LAs supply information. Getting details from the Government is more difficult.

As “Cycling in Scotland” indicates

Transport Scotland told SPOKES that it was impossible to disentangle the cycle element of trunk road expenditure, but later told Mike Pringle MSP that it amounted to £2m for financial year 2007-2008, so it is assumed that this amount is spent each year on cycle related projects”

This is a footnote from the detailed table produced by Spokes, but its inclusion in this briefing document is significant. As Spokes reports on its own web site “The Spice Research Briefings are intended as impartial documents to inform MSPs and others involved in the work of the Scottish Parliament. They are independent research publications for the entire Parliament, not decided by or controlled by the party which is in government.”

Overall “Cycling in Scotland” is useful background information for MSPs, campaigners and anyone interested in encouraging more people to cycle. Usefully it distinguishes between the two key areas of cycling as they relate to Government policies -

Cycling takes two main forms:

• a form of transport

• a sport, including track and road cycling, mountain biking, BMX, cycle speedway and cyclo-cross

and explains:

This short briefing focuses on cycling as a form of transport. It outlines the legislative and policy framework governing cycling, identifies key organisations and provides cycling related statistics. It goes on to look at sources of funding for cycling projects and the national cycle network.”

This is a useful division and highlights the convention that cycling is either ‘transport’ or ‘sport’. However it is likely that in future a third division will be necessary/desirable.

It is increasingly being recognised that exercise is necessary for good health – physical and mental. There’s a lot of discussion about diet and obesity. Chris Hoy is “Scotland’s first ambassador for mental health“. But money for ‘cycling’ largely comes from ‘transport’ or ‘sport’.

It is quite reasonable to encourage people to cycle to school, shops, work etc. and (as much as possible) record statistics for this, but it probably largely misses the people who cycle for a bit of exercise or to take their kids along a cycle path to the swing park – or just for the fun of cycling!

More importantly the emphasis on ‘transport’ and ‘sport’ perhaps makes it harder to get to people (statistically the majority) who hardly ever cycle – and get the funding to try to encourage them to cycle.

Cycling in Scotland highlights the CAPS (Cycle Action Plan Scotland) process. This is a comprehensive look at ways to increase cycling in Scotland. (YOU can contribute until the 20th of August.) This paragraph outlines some of the intentions

3. For people to have the confidence and the right information to make cycling a realistic choice for some journeys: Provide access to adult and child cycle training and cycle maintenance courses with well trained instructors. Promote the bike-to-work scheme and encourage employers and education providers to become cycle friendly. Produce cycle network maps and an online cycle journey planner.

“Cycling in Scotland” also manages to highlight Spokes’ concerns about funding and future commitment to funding.

Unusually, the CAPS consultation draft was launched without a Scottish Government press release or ministerial statement. Perhaps as a consequence of this, there has been almost no media interest or public comment by stakeholders. However, from what comment there has been it seems that the policy intentions of the consultation draft of CAPS have been welcomed, although concerns have been raised about whether they are backed by sufficient funding. For example Dave du Feu, lead organiser for SPOKES, has stated that “There’s good stuff in the action plan but if they’re not going to spend anything until 2011 – and even then there’s no guarantee that they will – I can’t see it making any difference” (The Herald 2009)

Perhaps the time has come to look beyond ‘transport’ or ‘sport’ for funding. Aren’t ‘health’ and ‘wellbeing’ the main responsibilities of the NHS?

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, Art, Bicycle Film Festival, bike security theft, bike shops, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, BikeStation, bikeweek, ChangingPace, Chris Hoy, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Craigmillar Cycles, critical mass, CTC, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling on the Radio, Cycling on TV, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, ERC, European Moblity Week, Food, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, Maps, Meadowbank Velodrome, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Sustrans, technology, TryCycling, walking, What the papers say | Leave a Comment »

New Midlothian Map

Posted by chdot on July 30, 2009

MidlCover 2009m
The Lothian Cycle Campaign, Spokes, has just published its latest map – a brand new one for Midlothian.

This is first update for seven years. One addition is the recently opened Dalkeith Bypass which slices through Dalkeith Park.

Unfortunately Spokes has also had to add a short section of “proposed cycle link” – from Millerhill to the new road (because Midlothian Council didn’t think about cyclists enough when they were planning the new road).

The map covers all of Midlothian (apart from the extreme southern tip around Soutra). In addition the southern and eastern extremes of Edinburgh are included – plus East Lothian as far as Prestonpans, Pencaitland and Humbie.

The other side of the map has enlarged, detailed, maps of Bilston, Dalkeith, Danderhall, Gorebridge, Lasswade, Loanhead, Mayfield, Newtongrange, Penicuik, Rosewell and Roslin.

PLUS photos and descriptions of some of the many “Places of Interest” in the ‘county of Midlothian’ – which historically included Edinburgh.

In short the map is a must for residents of Midlothian (including Edinburgh) to help you plan commuter or leisure journeys.

Available now in most bike shops and good book shops and on-line (£5.95 post free – or any 4 Spokes maps for the price of 3).

Posted in Active Travel, bike shops, commuting, Core Path Network, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, holidays, Maps, Midlothian, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Shawfair, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, walking | 1 Comment »

Rodney Street Tunnel “Officially” Opens Today

Posted by chdot on July 30, 2009

celebration of cyclings

Actually open for almost four months, Rodney Street Tunnel has its official opening ceremony at 2.00 today. (Performed by Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the Council’s Transport leader). The work was carried out by City of Edinburgh Council, in partnership with Sustrans – with funding from the Scottish Executive/Government – both because the process has taken more than 2 years!

Surrounding this is a Celebration of Cycling” event (King George V Park) taking place from 12pm to 4.30pm organised by the Children & Families department in partnership with the Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre, L&B Police, Fet Lor Youth Centre and the Scotland Yard Adventure Centre

On offer are -

  • Stalls and information on cycling
  • NHS Health Test (blood pressure, etc)
  • Hourly tours along the Scotland Street Tunnel
  • Drop in cycle proficiency workshops
  • Drop in bike repair workshops
  • All-day tasters with alternative bikes
  • Arrival of young people in a Glasgow-Edinburgh Sponsored Cycle ride
  • All day sports and display area
  • Plans for re-opening the Tunnel caused some local unease – with fears of ‘undesirables hanging about’. But as the Council’s Cycling Officer Chris Brace points out “as well as enabling cyclists using National Cycle Route 75 to avoid a highly trafficked junction (of Rodney Street and Broughton Road) the link also improves access for the local community and has already encouraged greater use of the King George V Park.”

    Video of opening ceremony

    Posted in Active Travel, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Sustrans, walking | Leave a Comment »

    “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 »

    Free Breakfast – Courtesy of the Council

    Posted by chdot on June 16, 2009

    Spokes Bike Breakfast 2007s
    In the morning (Wednesday) there’s the annual Spokes Bike Breakfast, at the City Chambers, as part of Bike Week. From 8.00 there will be orange juice, cofffee, bacon, rolls and scrambled eggs.

    In addition there will be stalls from organisations like Spokes, Sustrans and Transform. There’s “free chain clean and lube from Edinburgh Bicycle” – the first 100 people to the Edinburgh Bicycle stall get a free gift pack. The first 20 arrivals to the Spokes stall will get a free Spokes map.

    As well as food and information there’s usually some serious networking and lobbying by Edinburgh’s cycle campaigners as various Councillors and MSPs pass by. There will be speeches – including Councillors Paul Edie (Lib Dem), Convenor of the City Health Committee and Steve Burgess (Green).

    Around 9.30 Cycling Scotland will lead a small group of MSPs on a short tour. (The current forecast is for heavy rain).

    Posted in Active Travel, Bike Week, bikeweek, ChangingPace, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, CTC, cycle parking, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Safe Routes to School, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans | Leave a Comment »

    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 »

     
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