Edinburgh Councillors decide

Our group are calling for Edinburgh Councillors to back the City's Transport Vision to create a new generation of cycle routes.  Please join our call and write to your Councillors.

The current plans have two options at Roseburn, and we call for Councillors to support option A, the direct route.  Option B restricts motorists with narrow junctions and more crossings and offers cyclists a back-route detour that some will ignore.

Direct segregated cycle paths are a key part of changing the way we travel.  Success stories in London and elsewhere show that many people are willing to cycle if they have a safe path that leads to their destination.  Many Scottish cities put in strong bids to follow the proven results, with Glasgow celebrating their win of the Sustrans Community Links PLUS funding.  Edinburgh are still eligible for the main Community Links funding program, and we have high hopes given that Sustrans are “extremely supportive” and “delighted”.

72% of residents strongly support the need to invest in cycle routes, recognising the key benefits to all of us, not just those already keen to cycle.

  • Reduced congestion and parking problems — bikes take up much less space on the road or parked and so help avoid economic disaster if our growing City grinds to a halt.
  • Lower air pollution — our area is above international limits, the worst in Scotland, which has over 2000 early deaths per year, with kids worst affected.
  • Healthier lifestyles — low activity costs lives and £millions; cycling the commute or school run is a practical option for busy families.
  • Improvements for pedestrians — wider pavements, improved crossings and safer travel separate from the bikes rather than sharing.

This is a landmark decision for our City.  The E-W route fills a vital missing gap in the cycle network, and so can help take the load off congested roads such as Queen Street all the way out towards Costorphine.  What's more, we are setting a precedent that will affect many future Active Travel developments planned in our City.

Locally, the project will greatly improve the congested and canyon-like Roseburn Terrace, with wider pavements on the south side and walkers separated from traffic by the cycleway on the north side.   Yet, whilst overall support for the route is very strong, there is vocal opposition in the Roseburn area.  The Council Cycling Officers have spent months in consultations and adapted the plans to meet key concerns, such as loading for shops.  We have read through pages and pages of the opposition publications, and found their claims to be without evidence.

For example, it is claimed that the route will ruin local businesses.  At the recent Murrayfield Community Council meeting I asked campaigner Peter Gregson about this, and he admitted, there was no data to back the claim.  In fact dozens of detailed studies have shown that "replacing on-street parking with a bike lane has little to no impact on local business, and in some cases might even increase business" — and no study says the opposite.  In any case, the parking that happens in Roseburn Terrace is often illegal parking in loading-only bays, blocking one lane at the busy junction.

Do we want a route which dives down the back streets (option B), full of compromises, to let car-dominated thinking prevail?  Sufficiently contorted that many cyclist will ignore it, acting as a symbol of failed cycling investment?

Or do we want a route (incorporating option A) that can change our City for the better?  Realistically useful to increase cycling substantially with few impacts on journeys by car and transforming our local environment to a more people-friendly place?