Response to Roseburn-Leith Walk cycle route project amendments 21/06/16

Living Streets Edinburgh is the local group of the national charity which campaigns for everyday walking. In Edinburgh we wish to see improved conditions for the 35% of all journeys by Edinburgh residents made on foot, plus an expansion of the role of walking []. We welcome the opportunity to respond to the City of Edinburgh Council’s ‘Consultation results and potential project amendments’ for the proposed Roseburn-Leith Walk cycle route and street improvements (21/06/16).

As a general policy, we support segregated cycle routes where these (i) do not adversely affect the safety and/or convenience of walking, and (ii) take the extra space for cycling from motor vehicles rather than from pedestrians.  Experience from other cities shows that if the space is not taken from private motor vehicles this simply moves mode share from one sustainable mode to another.

In our response [] to the earlier consultation by the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC), we supported the principle of the Roseburn-Leith Walk cycle route proposal, subject to a number of concerns, in particular: (i) the Roseburn Terrace ‘floating bus stop’; (ii) the cycle route proposed along the middle of the pavement at the east end of Princes Street; and (iii) a further 16 specific detailed concerns.

We welcome work by the City of Edinburgh Council to address – in both new Options A and B – our concern about the conflicts which a floating bus stop on Roseburn Terrace would have created between pedestrians and cyclists at a busy location.

We completely reject the continuing plan to drive the cycle route along the centre of the busy east end of Princes Street pavement – this would take space from pedestrians and would create unmanageable conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians, in which the most vulnerable street users would inevitably come off worst.

We are surprised and disappointed that the revised plans have not specifically  addressed any of our 16 other detailed concerns, in particular:

  • the narrow footway on Roseburn Terrace towards the junction with Roseburn Street
  • the proposed elimination of the eastbound bus lane from Roseburn to Coates Gardens – we are not a bus users’ campaign group, but 18% of all journeys by Edinburgh residents are made by bus, which involves a walking stage at each end of the bus journey, and we are concerned about the impact on bus travel times and reliability, especially at a time when the Council is looking to Lothian Buses’ revenues to help finance a tram extension
  • the failure to provide evidence that other lower cost means of providing segregated cycling facilities have been explored and appraised alongside the design selected – this scheme represents a large budget commitment at a time when seriously sub-standard footways are widespread across the city, and we would expect a project such as this to build in more measures for pedestrians, particularly wider and resurfaced footways along all affected streets, since walking is and will continue to be the most used form of transport in these areas
  • insufficient additional ‘zebra’ type crossings to allow pedestrians to safely and conveniently cross the new cycle route, for example at ‘informal’ road crossing points
  • the need for signalled crossings to include cycle signal heads facing in the direction of the cycle lane to indicate to cyclists on the segregated cycle route that when the signal is red to general traffic it is also red to them (allowing pedestrians to safely cross the carriageway and the cycle route)


We will continue to work with CEC on the details of this scheme, and to scrutinise the emerging design iterations to ensure that they (i) prioritise the needs of pedestrians, (ii) are in line with CEC’s own Street Design Guidance, and (iii) comply with Equality Impacts Assessment requirements.