Petition against the cycle route

There is a petition against the Cycle Route created a printed leaflet petition to support their case.  The leaflet presents a grim picture of the likely implications of the route and has attracted many signatories from local people. If everything the petition says were true, then we would join in opposing it. However, the case being made against the route is based on a lot of false information and mistaken assumptions that do not stand up to scrutiny.

Evidence suggests that the reality is nowhere near as bad as the petition makes out — in fact there would be many benefits


Petition says Evidence says
The route will harm local businesses Studies have been done again and again: replacing on-street parking with a bike lane has little to no impact on local business, and in some cases might even increase business.
The route prevents parking outside the shops

The existing bays on Roseburn Terrace are almost all for loading only on weekdays.  It's common to see cars failing to obey parking regulations, which blocks legitimate loading and makes the area less attractive to the majority of shoppers coming on foot, by bike, or bus.

The reduction of four lanes of traffic at peak time to two will lead to serious congestion Congestion is likely to decrease.  Currently there are just two lanes available to general traffic, and the proposal leaves two.  At peak time, one bus lane would be changed into two cycle lanes.  This will attract more bikes, meaning less cars to cause congestion.
Removal of the staggered crossings along the route will make crossing more dangerous

No crossings will be removed.  There would be two extra crossings at the junction of Roseburn Terrace with Roseburn Gardens.  Some existing staggered crossings would be changed to non-staggered signalled crossings, which is welcomed by Living Streets Edinburgh, and means pedestrians only have to wait once for the lights to change.

The improved cycle route would encourage people to cycle instead of driving and so reduce the risk of pedestrian deaths.

NCN1 is in keeping with the Council's proposed network of 'Quiet routes'

With the opening of the tram line, difficult access at the Haymarket end has become much more problematic and no longer meets the Council's own criteria for a Quiet route.

The Proposal is a key part of the Council's 2030 Transport Vision.  The new generation of routes complement and enhance the existing Quiet Routes.  NCN1 between Haymarket and Roseburn was originally designed some time ago and was not intended to provide a direct route for large numbers of cyclists.

[NCN1] is a far better cycling route NCN1 has busy junctions, dangerous sections close to tram tracks, is much longer, and doesn't actually go in the right direction.  Around 40% of the anti-petition alternative route runs along roads that are busy at rush hour.  Government and cycle organisations at local and national level all agree the proposed new route would be a great improvement.  Local cyclist agree too – the anti-petition alternative is lightly used, whereas modern, segregated paths such as Middle Meadow Walk carry over 1000 bicycles every day.
The claim that shops benefit from cycle tracks is based on US studies Studies have been done around the world, including Bristol and Dublin.
Lothian Buses and Living Streets Edinburgh oppose the track Many organisations are supporting the proposal.  Living Streets Edinburgh are “backing the cycle route and protecting pedestrians”.  Lothian Buses report they are “engaged with Edinburgh Council’s consultation process”.
The proposal will increase congestion and air pollution It's clear from existing paths that quality cycle routes are well used.  Changing some journeys from car to bicycle means reduced congestion and air pollution, because cars are the primary cause of the problems.
The Council has done no traffic modelling The Council have done modelling, as shown in this report from the Transport and Environment Committee (item 3.2).
[motor traffic] transporting 12,000 people, whose journey times will be massively extended as a result of the track.  All this to accommodate, at rush hour, 40 cyclists Numbers don't seem to add up — perhaps 12,000 comes from assuming the cars are full?  In fact, on average cars carry 1.2 people for commuting (according to Government statistics).  40 cyclists is presumably the number observed now; data from existing paths shows the usage would increase significantly with the proposed high quality path
Sustrans called for [the existing NCN1] True, and that was more than 10 years ago.  Now Sustrans are delighted with the new proposal and are considering providing 50% funding.
[NCN1] Signage is poor Not sure where the problem is — there seem to be standard signs
Two photos of existing route show wide, traffic free spaces. This is just part of the story.  The other four photos on the same page show the busy main roads that cyclists end up using on other parts of their journeys,
Those using taxis and trains will suffer too

The Proposal makes Haymarket a truly integrated transport hub, providing a safe route for people to bike-and-ride.  Although the main taxi rank is further away, it is only an extra 38m, and drop off and disabled facilities immediately outside the station remain.

230 cyclists have come out against the track There are few if any people who make every single journey by bicycle, so presumably these people use different forms of transport for different situations, and many are also drivers.  Equally many of the pro-petitioners likely drive.  This supports the observation that plenty of ordinary people choose to make some of their journeys by bike.
a track [the Council] does not need Edinburgh people desperately need alternatives that cause less congestion and pollution than car journeys
The money should be spent fixing existing black spots for cyclists in the city as well as potholes

The Proposed Route is part of a network that does exactly this!  Haymarket is a current black spot, with lots of reported accidents.

Bikes hardly contribute to potholes.   The Proposal promotes cycling, and so is likely to reduce the annual cost of fixing potholes.  Prevention is much cheaper than repair over and over again.

[The Council] forgot to deliver consultation leaflets to residents

We have spoken to lots of residents who did receive consultation letters, and the consultation meetings advertised in those leaflets were busy.

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