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Edinburgh street at heart of cycle lane row 'most congested outside London'

Princes Street costs daily motorists 43 hours of their lives per year in traffic delays

An Edinburgh street at the heart of a controversy as the council attempts to turn it into a segregated cycleway has been shamed as being the most congested UK road outside London.

Princes Street boasts a record for causing daily motorists an average of 43 hours a year of traffic delays - which itself pales into comparison with the average 101 hours a London driver suffers from.

Back in 2014 we reported how campaigners in Edinburgh welcomed plans for a £10 million cycle route that will cross the Scottish capital's New Town - but motorists, who have endured years of disruption due to construction of the city's tram system, feared they may face further delays while the works take place.

City of Edinburgh Council plans to work alongside Sustrans Scotland to finance and deliver the route, which will link Roseburn in the west with Leith in the east, partly via George Street where a two-way cycle route is due to open in the coming months.

Precise details of the full route are yet to be finalised, although it part of it could run along Haymarket and Princes Street.

The contentious part of the Roseburn to Leith Walk Cycle Route is a stretch between Roseburn and Haymarket. The proposals are for a general traffic lane to be replaced by a protected cycle path along the Northern side with local businesses expressing concern that this will "harm Roseburn businesses by preventing parking outside the shops for delivery vans and shoppers."

The project is still mired in Stage 2, which includes route development, and a consultation is open here.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017 and finish in 2020.

Neil Greig, director of policy for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the new findings reignited calls for a bypass.

He told the Scottish Herald: "There's been no new road capacity in Edinburgh for decades. Clearly the tram has the potential to take some traffic off the road but that's yet to be proven, and unless the council can show that their strategy of having the tram and improving the bus network is actually getting people out of their cars, then they're going to have to revisit some road improvements on the west of Edinburgh because this is only going to get worse."

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said the capital's trams and buses were both experiencing a growth in passengers, alongside increases in cycling and walking.

She added: “We are currently in the process of designing a European-style off-road cycle lane from the east to the west of the city, which would open this route up to new and less confident cyclists.

"In addition to this, we fully support car sharing and car club schemes, and will carry on working with promoters to expand these."

 

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9 comments

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dw1 | 7 years ago
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The photo is misleading. - the proposed route bypasses the bit of princes street shown, although this would be the logical direct route. - Theres a reason that the trams and buses go that way. 

 The proposed cycle route goes round the houses taking in as many turns and minor road crossings as possible, along george street and joins with princes street for a short stretch at the other  end of the street from the photo.

The tram tracks along princes street are a nightmare., but it's a lot quicker than the alternative route proposed. 

 

Avatar
brooksby | 7 years ago
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The IAM says there's been no new road capacity in Edinburgh for decades. How do you increase road capacity? Maybe knock down a few buildings, or remove the footpaths? Seems to me that if a few more Edinburghers cycled then there'd be more room?

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Dr_Lex | 7 years ago
1 like

Wedging a tyre in the tram track worries me just as much as the competing vehicles. Another vote for fat bikes?

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bikebot | 7 years ago
9 likes

You've got to love the thinking that gave cyclists a lane to share with taxis, buses and trams.  Why not just throw in a few velocirapotors for a little variety.

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Batchy | 7 years ago
3 likes

Does the photo show a real cycle Lane ? If it does the designers need certifying !

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brooksby replied to Batchy | 7 years ago
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Batchy wrote:

Does the photo show a real cycle Lane ? If it does the designers need certifying !

Seconded. Is that the actual place or just a library photo?

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oldstrath replied to Batchy | 7 years ago
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Batchy wrote:

Does the photo show a real cycle Lane ? If it does the designers need certifying !

 

It's a 'not real real 'cycle lane, built by a council full of unthinking numpties.

http://stv.tv/news/east-central/108592-council-says-bike-lane-between-tr...

Avatar
theoriginalrich replied to Batchy | 7 years ago
1 like
Batchy wrote:

Does the photo show a real cycle Lane ? If it does the designers need certifying !

believe it not that is the real lane. All cars have to turn left up Lothian road leaving bikes to share the lane with taxis and public transport.

To be fair that's not the worst part of Edinburgh roads, the potholes around the city are criminal, if you're not careful you could do some serious damage. 

 

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to theoriginalrich | 6 years ago
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theoriginalrich wrote:
Batchy wrote:

Does the photo show a real cycle Lane ? If it does the designers need certifying !

believe it not that is the real lane. All cars have to turn left up Lothian road leaving bikes to share the lane with taxis and public transport.

To be fair that's not the worst part of Edinburgh roads, the potholes around the city are criminal, if you're not careful you could do some serious damage. 

 

Mind you, cyclists who have used Edinburgh roads for years are likely to have developed some impressive skills at coping with poor conditions. Managing a downhill run in the New Town on the slippery cobbles on one of Edinburgh's many wet days takes some practice, especially since those highly aesthetic cobbles date back to previous centuries and have been potholed as long as anyone living can recall. The tram tracks are a minor hazard by comparison.

One big reason Edinburgh's roads are so potholed is due to the existence of the tram system, which was built at colossal expense due to to incredibly bad planning on the part of the council and swallowed much of the transport budget for aeons to come. A more sensible tram route could have delivered a larger network at lower cost while causing less disruption and in less time. But the council opted instead for the smallest and most expensive option that caused the most fuss.

If this paints a picture of a council that doesn't quite get the idea of an integrated transport system combining cycling, trams, buses, private cars, vans and trucks, then it's because that's exactly the case.

 Edinburgh is a small city with not much space for cars. It used to have an excellent bus service once upon a time.

 

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