Living Streets Edinburgh Group are backing the overall direction of the City of Edinburgh Council’s proposals for the next phase of upgrade of the Leith Walk corridor, including the segregated cycle route. There are many benefits for everyday walking in the planned scheme as a whole.
We do have big concerns, however, about ‘floating bus stops’, with cyclists routed behind bus stops, thereby requiring pedestrians to cross the cycle route to access the bus stop.
This is especially the case on busy shopping streets and main public transport corridors. Irrespective of any cycling /walking conflict-reduction measures, it will be very difficult to avoid at least some deterioration in the convenience and safety of walking, especially for older and disabled people. Routine conflicts of queuing pedestrians blocking lanes are bad for cyclists too. The problems of conflict are most acute on areas with shop frontages and limited pavement widths and around major bus stops such as those found on main streets like Leith Walk. However, we are keen to do what we can to help the broad aim of what CEC is proposing for Leith Walk, so:
a. We will support a floating bus stop pilot on Leith Walk, provided that,
b. it can be demonstrated in advance that the whole Leith Walk scheme will deliver a net improvement in walking convenience and safety, and,
c. a package of design and regulatory measures to mitigate floating bus stop impact on pedestrians is put in place, and,
d. there is full objective monitoring and evaluation of the floating bus stops (for pedestrians, bus users, cyclists, elderly/disabled people) and of the modal shift / safety outcomes of the Leith Walk scheme as a whole, and,
e. the roll-out of further floating bus stops in Edinburgh is delayed until after the evaluation of the Leith Walk pilot.
We are also keen to see more formal and informal crossings of Leith Walk, integrated with the tram planning process.