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


Posted by chdot on October 12, 2009


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.

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

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

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

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 »

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 »

Opportunities to Promote Cycling

Posted by chdot on June 8, 2009

bike the strike
Cycling in London is on the increase. Periodically there are Public Transport strikes which result in more people trying cycling.

The London Cycle Campaign has reacted to the latest strike (due to close the Tube tomorrow evening for two days) by launching a simple web site giving advice to people thinking about an unfamiliar travel mode.

In Edinburgh when bus strikes have been threatened, the Council has reacted by (for instance) planning to allow drivers to park on The Meadows. The current disruption caused by the creation of the tramline is another great opportunity to encourage people to cycle in Edinburgh, but neither the Council nor tie see the merit in actively encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and try a two wheeled alternative.

Posted in Active Travel, bike security theft, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, cycle training, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Lothian Buses, Maps, Peak Oil, Spokes maps, Trams, walking | Leave a Comment »

Edinburgh Council Signs Cycle Treaty!

Posted by chdot on May 26, 2009

brussels treaty

City of Edinburgh Council is often criticised for the gap between its (sometimes lukewarm) pro-cycling rhetoric and the realities in the streets. Manifesto pledges for a ‘model cycling city’ are, so far, little more than words.

Things may be about to change. Fairly new Head of Transport Marshall Poulton travelled to Brussels (probably not by bike) to sign the new Charter of Brussels. Surprisingly Edinburgh is the UK’s first city to adopt its principles. (Even accident avoiding London Mayor Boris Johnson missed out on this photo opportunity.)

Marshall and CEC Cycling Officer Chris Brace were in Belgium for Velo-city 2009 – the latest version of the assembly of cycle planners and campaigners that was hosted by Edinburgh and Glasgow in 2001.

The key passage that Edinburgh has agreed to says: “To set a target of at least 15% for the share of cycling in the modal split of trips for the year 2020 and of further growth if this target already is achieved.”

The truth is this is hugely ambitious – but not impossible. The current share is closer to 5%. The target doesn’t necessarily mean a tripling of cycling (though that would be nice). Less car use will need to be a significant factor. More passenger journeys on public transport will be beneficial to all road users, but will do little to shift the balance between 5% and 15%.

Politicians (local and national) have to grasp the reality that having accepted that it is a ‘good thing’ to encourage cycling it will require a significant change in attitudes – AND money. More people need to feel that cycling on normal roads is ‘safe’. There is little scope in Edinburgh for many segregated cycle lanes on existing roads. Maintaining the current on-road cycle lanes properly would be a good start.

Cycle Training for all pupils (in school time) should be implemented as part of the new Curriculum for Excellence. Widespread availability of practical training/encouragement for adults (especially parents of school age children) would be a good idea.

Politicians have to stop believing that voters=motorists. Even where that is true they are also pedestrians, cyclists, shoppers, parents of children too young to drive, children of people too old to drive, etc.

The Charter ends:

“Furthermore, the signers of this charter call upon all authorities worldwide, at all levels to strongly promote cycling and to incorporate cycling into all areas of policy (health, spatial planning, city management, economy, mobility and traffic, leisure, sports, tourism).”

Earlier this year Copenhagen brought an exhibition (Dreams on Wheels) about its cycling vision to the Botanics. Perhaps in a few years Edinburgh will be able to justifiably boast about its own achievements.

Posted in Active Travel, Bicycle Film Festival, bike security theft, bike shops, Bike Week, Bikes on trains, ChangingPace, Chris Hoy, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, critical mass, cycle parking, cycle racing, cycle training, Cycling News, Cycling Scotland, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, European Moblity Week, Exhibition, Forth Bridge Route Campaign, Glasgow, HEALTH, holidays, Lothian Buses, Maps, Meadowbank Velodrome, paths, Peak Oil, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, technology, Trams, TryCycling, walking | 2 Comments »

No Tram for Roseburn Corridor

Posted by chdot on April 24, 2009

City of Edinburgh Council’s Head of City Development, Dave Anderson, confirmed on Radio Scotland this morning that Line 1b will not be going ahead ‘for the foreseeable future’.

This controversial route was planned to branch from the tram line currently being built through the city. The spur (the previous plan for a loop to join the Newhaven to Airport line was trunkated some time ago) was due to run from Haymarket to Granton.

This plan to improve public transport to north Edinburgh was controversial as it would have meant that a very well used walking and cycling route would be affected. Due to pressure from Spokes the council agreed to keep a path alongside the tram. This would have been very narrow in places (due to the overbridges) or be diverted away from the fairly flat route.

In addition the idea of taking the tram to the Western General Hospital was rejected as it would have increased journey times for people living or working in the new developments at The Waterfront (largely unbuilt and very much ‘on hold’).

Most of the trees and vegetation along the route would have been removed, completely changing the character of what is known as the Roseburn Corridor – a corridor for wildlife (notably badgers) as well as non-motorised humans.

Officially Line 1b is shelved rather than cancelled, but Dave Anderson indicated that any future development of a tram system would be more likely to be Tramline 3 linking the city centre with King’s Buildings and the Royal Infirmary. This could sensibly be extended to Queen Margaret University in East Lothian and into Midlothian (possibly along the former railway line to Loanhead), but such developments are now many years away.

Perhaps today’s news will allow some serious discussions about a sensible and viable ‘sustainable’ transport future for Edinburgh involving walking, cycling and public transport – buses (Edinburgh still has one of the best bus services in the UK), trams and rail. Re-opening the South Sub would cost significantly less than Tramline 3 and could be part of much better rail system in the East of Scotland.

Posted in Active Travel, Airdrie to Bathgate, Bikes on trains, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cyclingedinburgh, Edinburgh, EducatedTravel, Lothian Buses, Physical Activity and Health, ride, Safe Routes to School, Safety, Spokes, Spokes maps, Sustrans, technology, Trams, TryCycling, walking | Leave a Comment »

Shop Promotes Cycling

Posted by chdot on July 11, 2008

Richard Dowsett has been running his cycle shop for just over a year. He has just produced a short video (just over a minute) which promotes his shop – and cycling in Edinburgh generally.

Previously known as Great Bikes No Bull, the Leith Walk shop has been rebranded as Leith Cycle Co. He explains on the video:

“What I love about cycling is the freedom, the exercise, the countryside you get to see and the speed you can see it. What I wanted to do when I got into this industry was just get out to people and show them what bikes they can ride and how easy it is and how accessible it is, from really cheap to really expensive.”

The You Tube video is the latest move to promote a new business which is benefiting from more people cycling and suffering from the effects of the preparatory work for the tram which is causing people – especially cyclists – to avoid Leith Walk.

Posted in bike shops, City of Edinburgh Council, citycycling, Climate Change, commuting, Core Path Network, Cycling News, cycling world, cyclingedinburgh, Demonstration Towns, Edinburgh, Trams, walking | 1 Comment »