This is a lot more than a cycle route – it brings plenty of benefits for pedestrians too, in terms of safer junctions, wider pavements and more road crossings.
At an early stage of the consultation we were concerned with aspects of the design which would have caused conflict between cyclists and pedestrians, but we’ve been impressed by the way the Council took on board our constructive suggestions.
A key point is that the pavements will now be widened on both the north and south sides of the busy stretch of Roseburn Terrace, and they will both meet the minimum width standards stipulated in the Council’s own Street Design Guidance.
That will help to make Roseburn Terrace a more people-friendly place, less dominated by road vehicles.
A proposed change to the design of the planned Roseburn-Leith Walk segregated cycling route has been welcomed by the local walking campaign, Living Streets Edinburgh . The City Council’s amended plan published on 21st June suggested two options to change the route design at Roseburn Terrace, both of which removed the controversial ‘floating bus stop’ on the north side of Roseburn Terrace. The Convenor of Living Streets Edinburgh, David Spaven, said:
“We’re pleased that the Council have taken note of our biggest concern about the Roseburn design – a floating bus stop at this busy location would have created unwelcome conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists at a busy location.”
However, the group are continuing to strongly oppose the Council’s plan to drive the cycle route along the centre of the busy east end of Princes Street pavement, arguing that “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.”
Living Streets says it is “surprised and disappointed” that the Council has not specifically addressed 16 other detailed concerns  it raised in the consultation, including the narrow footway on Roseburn Terrace towards the junction with Roseburn Street, and the proposed elimination of the eastbound bus lane from Roseburn to Coates Gardens.
In its submission the group indicates that it will continue to work with the Council 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 Council’s own Street Design Guidance, and (iii) comply with Equality Impacts Assessment requirements.
The full response can be found here
Response to Roseburn-Leith Walk cycle route project amendments 21/06/16
Some cycling campaigners have indicated that we are opposed to segregated cycle ways. This is categorically not the case. After walking most of the proposed Edinburgh East to West cycle route, and auditing the design, we have supported the vast majority of the proposal and recommended some detailed design improvements. However, we have concerns about two sections of the route, due to impacts on the safety and convenience of walking.
The first concern is that Roseburn Terrace will not be able to accommodate a well-designed cycle bypass / floating bus stop which minimises conflicts with pedestrians queuing, alighting from or getting on buses. Conflicts of this nature will not be good for cyclists either. So far, the experience of such infrastructure in the UK has not been good, especially TFL’s efforts in London, where Living Streets has observed significant problems at a number of busy high streets. We are especially concerned at the effect on elderly and disabled bus passengers who will not be expecting to encounter cyclists on alighting.
We have suggested an alternative route for this short section – which actually links better with the Family Friendly route through Roseburn Park. We also believe widening both pavements at Roseburn Terrace is a priority for improving the public realm and maximising active travel benefits. We suggest further work is needed with all parties on the design of this section of the route and are happy to work with cycling groups to understand their perspective and look at options which address our concerns.
Our second concern is that the east end of Princes Street proposal – running straight through the middle of the pavement – is highly problematic due to the sheer volume of pedestrians and the inevitable conflicts which would be created. We want to see re-allocation of road space to accommodate cycling and minimise conflicts.
We look forward to supporting the project as a whole and ensuring it maximises benefits to pedestrians as well as cyclists. Where there are problems, we will work constructively with other interests to resolve them.
Living Streets Edinburgh (LSE) campaigns for improved conditions for everyday walking in Edinburgh’s streets and public spaces. Walking is the most important transport mode in the city, since over half of all journeys by Edinburgh residents are made either entirely on foot (35%) or by bus (18%), the latter involving a walking stage. It is also the most socially inclusive mode – it’s as natural as breathing – and is critical to the city’s economy (including the important tourist sector).
1. Key principles
1.1 LSE is strongly supportive of measures to improve sustainable transport generally and will support segregated cycle routes where these do not adversely affect the safety and/or convenience of walking, and particularly where they provide general improvements to the walking environment as well. This is the case for the large majority of this route.
1.2 We have big concerns about ‘floating bus stops’, as – irrespective of any ameliorative measures – there will inevitably be some deterioration in the convenience and safety of walking, as pedestrians have to cross the cycle path from the pavement in order to access the bus stop. Our view is that no floating bus stops should be created in Edinburgh until after the evaluation of a pilot (with multiple safeguards) within the next phase of the Leith Walk upgrade (see separate submission to Anna Harriman at City of Edinburgh Council). Options to avoid these conflicts should be explored.
1.3 Walking in the city centre and bus use are closely linked. The impact of reduced bus priority needs to be considered in relation to journey times and air pollution impacts on pedestrians. We urge the council to view the project in a multi-modal context, which balances the needs of cyclists with bus users (as well as people on foot) – especially on busy bus routes.
Read the full response to the Roseburn to Leith Cycle Route here