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Shared Use - the debate (begins) continues

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  1. chdot

    SRD and I (and others) were at the Cycle Forum yesterday.

    'Shared use' was mentioned in various contexts - Princes Street, George Street, Porty Prom, and 'our' current 'favourite' Seafield Street.

    I suspect this all could become a 'big issue' in Edinburgh, not least because it seems that various bits of the planned "Family Network" will be SU. Some important 'links' will be on existing non-shared pavements - the precise details about where and whether they will be widened are not known (or actually decided).

    There are a lot of conflicting views - conflict is a relevant word.

    'We' know from various threads on the canal, MMW, NEPN etc. that there is no 'settled CCE view' (or among 'cyclists' generally, or motorists, or pedestrians, or dog walkers, or people who are all of these) about what is reasonable or responsible.

    There are on-going debates about 'on-road' and 'segregated provision' (in a maybe on Leith Walk sense rather than MMW with just a white line which doesn't actually apply to pedestrians). Shared use is currently popular with the Council - particular where 'pedestrian numbers are low'.

    This has resulted in installed infrastructure such as the Inverleith Park/Carrington Road connection - and Seafield Street.

    The latter was mentioned yesterday and described as a "compromise".

    It was (openly admitted) done on the cheap - party so that there could be a cycle crossing sooner rather than later.

    Allowing cycling on the pavement was OK because there weren't many pedestrians and it was important to "maintain arterial route".

    'Unfortunately' a cafe has now "popped up" on the corner and is using the space outside for (unlicensed) table and A board.

    So the cafe owner will be told off - very civic.

    Personally I wouldn't want to sit outside next to a busy road close to the sewage works, and stuff on pavements doesn't help pedestrians either, but it's hardly a good advert for 'shared use' 'best practice'.

    And it does matter.

    Across the road is the nice, widened pavement, shared use path to Porty - complete with shared use signs, and (some) pedestrians saying 'don't cycle on the pavement'.

    Oh and Scotland now has a whole load of #nice billboards saying that you should grow out of cycling on the pavement.

    Mixed messages.

    SRD has written too

    Posted 7 years ago #
  2. That mixed message grates quite a bit. I have to admit that, in general, I avoid shared use paths - I do, however, use the one in Seafield a fair amount. The two main reasons for this are that there are very very few pedestrians; and because they've widened the pavement you feel more squeezed on the road, and traffic there likes to go quickly.

    Of course on the Porty side of the bridge over the railway the path hasn't been widened and therefore you're transported from a path that has little chance of conflict, to one where, adding in the signs whose posts are fixed into the pavement, has a much bigger chance of conflict. But moving off there onto the road is now difficult (because the road is busy and aforementioned fast) and up ahead there's a possible right turn which, despite having its own turning lane, means that traffic in the straight ahead lane squeezes to the left.

    In short, fairly typical Edinburgh implementation of something that could have been great, but is only halfway there.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. sallyhinch

    I suppose it's a side effect of the smoking ban that every cafe, no matter how unsalubrious the location, sprouts a couple of pavement tables.

    I suppose shared use pavements could be a gateway drug to proper tracks, by demonstrating the demand. However I suspect that for most cash-strapped councils, a shared use pavement will be considered job done, and it will never get upgraded.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. Baldcyclist

    I guess it depends on the location, and population density. Outside of cities, in most places I think shared use (and away from road) is 'fit for purpose', you might have a handful of cyclists / pedestrians using the infrastructure per hour.

    Where you have population density like Edinburgh, or Glasgow, shared use becomes more problematic as increasing numbers of users are vying for the same space.

    The NEPN at peak times does seem like a bit of a cyclists motorway, rather than a shared use path. I cycled along it at about 9.15 this morning (running late), and it was practically empty, and quite pleasant to cycle along.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  5. fimm

    but you could argue that shared use pavements won't indicate demand.

    - Speed merchants like me won't use them becasue we don't want to spend our time avoiding pedestrians and dogs.

    - Considerate cyclists like SRD and her family won't use them on their bikes because there isn't enough space for them to cycle safely together without annoying pedestrians and dogs.

    - SRD and her family in pedestrian mode don't like them because there isn't enough space for a buggy etc (see, I read the blog)

    - Inconsiderate cyclists will cycle wherever they like.

    - Pedestrians and motorists will see another ***** cyclist cycling on the pavement - apart from the ones that shout at the cyclist on the road to get off it.

    - The only people who will be happy will be the box-tickers.

    At what point do we say - "This is worse than nothing"?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  6. EddieD

    Incidents like this:-!topicsearchin/uk.rec.cycling/mansfield/uk.rec.cycling/_jPzx2DUKmA

    are why I don't like the idea of shared use footways

    Posted 7 years ago #
  7. @SRD

    Just worth flagging that the cycle crossing has been messed up for Seafield Street, but the actual shared use path as far as the bridge over the railway is nice and wide (it was widened to make it shared use) and a lovely smooth surface.

    As Barney comments on the blog itself it then narrows down horribly at the bridge (and continues narrow until you drop down to the prom a couple of hundred yards further on).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  8. spytfyre

    I have often used shared paths - the Roseburn-Trinity and Goldenacre path are great example of places where dog walkers need to be reminded this is a cycle route - some cyclists go fast - please keep your dog on a lead until you get to one of the many parks
    at route 75 where it leaves the canal and winds through Scottish Widows and Exchange Cres I take it a lot slower as it is not plainly obvious that there is a cycle route there at all. Some stickers or even some spray painted stencils on the grouns (like the NO bikes or no dog cr@p ones I have seen in the past) saying which side of the wee metal studs are for peds or pedals might be handy... Ahem, Mr Corbett?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  9. SRD

    @wc - yes, is that not clear in blog? will double check.

    but people using the Seafield path have been harassed by people who think they don't have right to be there.

    so there are two issues - is there space? and do people understand shared space?

    both important. probably not clear enough in blog. writing too late last night while jet-lagged.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  10. wingpig

    Wonder why the council bunged the make-do shared-use-pavement-toucan on that side of Seafield Street? Can't remember if there's a dropped kerb on the sewage-works-side of Seafield Road directly opposite the west footway of Seafield Street, or just one in the middle and one opposite the east corner. Perhaps the west side was considered more likely to be pedestrian-busy (prior to the resurrection of a café) due to the only bus stop on Seafield Street being on the west side?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  11. @SRD

    It was just one line, "...neither of the two mentioned here are wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians to negotiate comfortably"


    "dog walkers need to be reminded this is a cycle route - some cyclists go fast"

    Equally, cyclists need to be reminded that this is a walking and leisure route - some cyclists go too fast.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  12. Instography

    Let's refuse everything but the full Dutch experience. But really I think progress is going to be a sequence of compromises. Perhaps one compromise would be instead of the three missing links referred to in SRD's blog being achieved by poorly done shared use solutions, suggest that they spend all the money on completing one link well.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  13. chdot

    "Equally, cyclists need to be reminded that this is a walking and leisure route - some cyclists go too fast."


    Though it's then back to 'responsible' and 'perceptions'.

    Meanwhile in Jim Orr's benchmark Borough -

    Posted 7 years ago #
  14. amir

    There is a problem when shared use facilities are widely provided so cyclists is expected to use them. However this naturally reduces average speeds substantially for some.

    This is a problem if you are travelling longer distances or you just want to get fit. In respect of the latter, I do see that there is a place for slow relaxed cycling (with tweeds etc) but if you want to get fit using cycling, it helps to break sweat.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  15. chdot

    "suggest that they spend all the money on completing one link well"

    Agree, without wanting to agree.

    Money is an issue - though Jim Orr seems to think that next year's 'Cycle Budget' will be 7%.

    Still think a bigger issue is CEC mentality.

    There is (inevitably??) tension - even conflict - between (some) 'roads' people and 'cycle' people.

    This seems to result in a 'good enough' mentality/policy - see QBC!

    Jim Orr also seems to think (and he should know) that some councillors don't really see the point of (spending money on) 'cycling'.

    So when 'we' complain about stuff, it should be from the rational view that 'cycling needs to be encouraged" (for many reasons - including the fact it's council policy) and that poor/inadequate/badly maintained things aren't good enough/world class/value for money.

    I like dicing with traffic (in a #nice way of course) because I'm still fit/fast enough and with enough experience not to do too many stupid things too often.

    Not like most people who want to cycle then.

    I also like traffic free routes - especially when fairly quiet (and ideally loose dog free).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  16. neddie

    I can't help feeling that it is TROs (Traffic Regulation Orders) that are holding the council back, preventing them from taking away parking spaces and so instead taking away pedestrian space as the easier option.

    However, there is no 'God given right' to park on a street in a city.

    So perhaps the TRO mechanism should be adjusted to redress the balance versus all users (peds, cycles, buses, motors, etc.), instead of just motors. This could be either:

    • a TRO becomes required to remove pedestrian space, making it equally unattractive to remove ped space as parking spaces; or
    • a TRO becomes no longer required to remove parking spaces, making it easier to build a segregated cycle path there. There is no God given right to parking after all

    My preferred option would be the second one, as it removes bureaucracy.

    Maybe we could start a petition to get the TRO process amended, to make it easier to construct on road segregated cycle facilities?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  17. Greenroofer

    For the cost of one dropped kerb, a splodge of white paint and two blue shared use signs, the huge wide pavement on Gogar Station Road over the M8 was converted to shared use. It has very few pedestrians on it.

    It makes the drag up the hill much easier as it gets me off a fast road. For me it's a perfect example of when shared-use paths work well: cheap to implement and providing real benefits without promoting conflict with pedestrians.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  18. chdot

    "I can't help feeling that it is TROs (Traffic Regulation Orders) that are holding the council back"

    Very true!

    There are (at least) three issues.

    Political resistance to removing parking ('voters wouldn't like it')

    The (seemingly) enormous timescale it takes CEC' legal dept to deal them (I know there are statutory processes)

    The legal framework

    Don't know if the last one is the responsibility of Holyrood or Westminster - or both(?)

    Don't think a petition is worthwhile, but getting politicians to 'streamline' the process could make a big difference.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  19. crowriver

    Whilst I usually feel confident enough to cycle on the road (with a few exceptions), I think young people and less confident cyclists should not be forced to do so.

    Shared use infrastructure has a role in facilitating cycling, no question. It may not be ideal but it is usually much better than painted lanes in the road. My son is 8 years old, and increasingly keen on getting around on his bike. Realistically that means him riding on the pavement for many of his journeys. For him, shared use paths are great: he can get to his football training and music lessons with the minimum of fuss. He tells me he prefers these paths to the busy pavements on (for example) Easter Road because there are fewer pedestrians and he can go at a reasonable pace. He will cycle on road in quiet cul-de-sacs, or to cut across a convoluted shared use or pavement pinch point.

    When he starts secondary school in a few years, it would be nice to think he could do much of his journey to school by bicycle without having to brave busy roads.

    I'd suggest shared use paths are not really suitable for fast cycling. On most paths a reasonable pace can be achieved whilst still being considerate to pedestrians and slower cyclists, children on bikes, etc. However it has to be said that many of the paths in north Edinburgh at least seem to be 'owned' by dog walkers. most of whom let their dogs off the lead. Some using the Restalrig path appear to be professional dog walkers/kennel workers with sometimes 10 or more dogs barely under control...

    Posted 7 years ago #
  20. Baldcyclist

    "Let's refuse everything but the full Dutch experience."
    "This is a problem if you are travelling longer distances or you just want to get fit."
    "Speed merchants like me"

    This is partially the problem, what is a 'cyclist', here, in the UK?

    Let's imagine we get (eventually) the full "Dutch experience", where does that leave Amir and Fimm?

    Presumably not on any cycle infrastructure?

    Lots of comment about no helmets, and slower pace etc in Netherlands, what do the 'sport' cyclists there do? Presumably they are not thundering along city cycle paths at 25mph? From the YouTube video's I've seen of Amsterdam, there would be no room for them to do so.

    OK, there may be Strict liability, and a different attitude to cycling, but out in 'the sticks', on fast roads, they must be as vulnerable as here? What do we do to accomodate 'all cyclists'?

    I do wonder if the UK cyclist, is a different person from the 'Dutch' cyclist? I've mentioned before, but @Amsterdamized once called me 'the problem', as I don't cycle how he does on an upright bike, and cycle commute rather than get the train. He apparently couldn't comprehend why I would cycle 15 miles, to work - this isn't a criticism of his point of view, just an example of the difference. I do wonder if you accomodate Insto, that you further marginalise Amir, and Fimm, and me....

    Posted 7 years ago #
  21. chdot

    David Hembrow (@DavidHembrow) tweeted at 3:09pm - 8 Aug 13:

    @thebikeshow Big groups, small groups, real pros doing real training. Everyone uses the cycle-paths y


    Posted 7 years ago #
  22. crowriver

    What used to be a 'racer' is now a 'road bike'. Think about why that might be...

    Posted 7 years ago #
  23. Morningsider

    chdot - TROs are made by local authorities under the provisions of the Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 1999, as amended. These regulations are made by Scottish Ministers and apply only to Scotland. although they are almost identical to the English procedures.

    Edinburgh Council actually took part in a pilot exercise to streamline TRO processes a few years ago. The process isn't massively bureaucratic - it's only when someone maintains an objection and an inquiry has to be heard does it really drag on.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  24. SRD

    @baldcyclist if marginalization was the cost of making your cycle safer and more pleasant, and it allowed your (hypothetical) family to also ride to school and work, and saved you money, and the NHS money, would that be a price worth paying?

    that said, I know lots of racing cyclists in Copenhagen and they've never complained to me about feeling marginalized.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  25. "I do wonder if the UK cyclist, is a different person from the 'Dutch' cyclist?"

    "I do wonder if you accomodate Insto, that you further marginalise Amir, and Fimm, and me...."

    There are plenty of lycra roadies in Amsterdam (and in Copenhagen for that matter). The only reason we don't see so many is because they are a smalle 'proportion'. More 'people' cycle, hence the upright and normal clothes, because the infrastructure is so much better. So it seems like everyone is doing it in that way.

    But Amsterdam has plenty big streets where there is no cycle lane and you see cyclists whizzing. Copenhagen perhaps less so. But the 'sport' cyclists don't not exist - they just don't whizz quite so much in the city. For the commuters there's less need as they are separated from traffic they feel they need to keep up with, and the lights are in their favour if they go certain speeds. This means that those who aren't necessarily 'sport' cyclists, but who try to ride 'fast' (I'd count me in that group) don't feel the need as much as it won't get them anywhere any more quickly (they'll not get the green wave lights) and they'll be having to weave in and out of other cyclists. So the proportion grows ever smaller.

    And I'm going to be blunt and potentially controversial here. If it's a choice between maintaining the status quo so people can ride as quickly as they want; or having good and safe infrastructure that encourages most of the population to get out on their bikes, with the health, economic and environmental benefits that brings, but which marginalises a small proportion of sporty cyclists... Well I'll choose the latter and I'll slow down, saving the evenings and weekends if I want to get some fitness cycling (bearing in mind even slow cycling is of health and fitness benefit).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  26. Damn, beaten by moments by SRD. I need to learn to condense....

    Posted 7 years ago #
  27. amir

    For my own safety, what I really want to see is better driving and it should not be beyond the government to improve driving standards.

    The argument is always that if there are more cyclists (on shared pavements or not), then more drivers will also be cyclists and hopefully driving around cyclists would improve.

    I get the idea the big boom in cycling at the moment outside of London (and I have no hard facts to back this up) is in "sporty" cycling. It would be a big mistake if their interests are not accommodated.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  28. amir

    Beyond speed/safety, one reason I often avoid shared use paths is lack of maintenance. One good thing about roads is that they are swept of puncturing objects and gritted. So it is not just a matter of putting signs up - there is longer term commitment required. There is nothing more likely to put off a novice or less committed cyclist than a puncture in the rain.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  29. fimm

    "where does that leave ... fimm...?"
    Slowing down?
    As others have said, the cycle infrastructure in the Netherlands appears to be such (I have no personal experience of it) that overtaking is not a problem. And if I overtake in such a way as to be a danger to other cyclists, am I any different to the driver that I saw undertaking other cars on Slateford Road at 50mph? I don't think so. (Well maybe slightly different in that my machine of choice weighs less and does not go as fast, but the selfishness and disregard for the consequences is the same.)

    Edited to add particular agreement with Willmington's Cow's last paragraph.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  30. tammytroot

    Personally I find paths like the innocent and the NEPN much more pleasant to cycle on than Edinburgh's roads. True they can get busy with peds and dogs sometimes but they always seem nicer. Less fumes, noise and danger.
    By and large they are pothole free and last winter at least pretty well gritted

    Posted 7 years ago #

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