CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

Cycle Network

(346 posts)
  • Started 7 years ago by Simon Parker
  • Latest reply from chdot

  1. Simon Parker
    Member

    I am new to this forum, so hello to everyone.

    I have started working on a design for a cycle network for Edinburgh. At the moment I am just playing around with it, but I would welcome the opportunity to work cooperatively on this.

    I was inspired to start work on this following a recent blog by Sara Dorman (here). If you can spare the time, please also read the comments.

    As part of the planning process, route selection is very important. I tend to design from patterns to details, but this is useful only up to a point. It also helps to know what's missing.

    I have started laying down routes as can be seen here. Going forward, I wonder if it would be possible to recreate this map in a separate Google account, and then to share the password amongst forum members. People can then change or add stuff as they fancy.

    There are two ways to approach the development of a cycle network. One way proceeds by analysing situations (that is, the type of roadway, level of traffic, frequency of accidents, proximity of facilities, etc), and building from the bottom-up.

    As far as it goes, this work is very necessary. However, according to Cycling: the way ahead, it is possible to “go much further than this strictly pragmatic and ad hoc approach”, and if I might be allowed a metaphor here, basically what you need to do is look through the other end of the telescope. That is, approach the development of the cycling environment from the top-down, by analysing journeys (origin / destination). This would then provide you with a strategic overview, enabling you to see ‘the bigger picture’, and from here you can then plan the network that would provide for these journeys. This ‘global’ approach is known as the Voluntarist policy.

    Once the network has been planned and studied, the next step would be to "introduce" it so that it works. Such a network might very well be suitable only for about 10% of the population, but it is far easier to set about providing for the majority of potential cyclists working from within the framework provided by a functioning cycle network, and given a cycling modal share of about 8%, say.

    Either way - top-down or bottom-up - you need to be thinking something like twenty years (the Dutch programme these things to work in twenty-year cycles).

    I hope this sounds agreeable.

    Regards - Simon

    Posted 7 years ago #
  2. Roibeard
    Member

    The comparison between your network and the Innertube map is quite telling...

    I'd be quite delighted to see progress being made to more of a network, and particularly filing in the obvious (and ironic!) hole in the innertube!

    Robert

    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. SRD
    Moderator

    A recent twitter exchange involved me asking if the council had ever bothered to ask cyclists where they actually wanted to go, rather than designing things then telling us to use them.

    Was told last Friday that something like that was in the works. Don't know more than that.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. chdot
    Admin

    "asking if the council had ever bothered to ask cyclists where they actually wanted to go"

    Good idea, hope they also ask the people who don't cycle where they would cycle if they 'could'.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  5. gembo
    Member

    Would it be possible to have both bottom up and top down approaches?

    Like the idea of a network, I just wonder how easy that would be for scottish govt or CEC to get their heads around?

    Sustrans obviously join things up so you end up with an eclectic network that you need to follow and can end up lost slightly north of Brighton just as it is getting dark when someone changed all the signs around. And/or you read the map wrongly

    What a cyclist in an urban environment wants is direct Tarmac routes without cars? I would happily ban all cars from central Edinburgh but I don't think this is a vote winner.

    Recent surveys seem to I suggest less car ownership in Edinburgh than previous surveys although this might be linked to including more students in the recent survey? If true, I might not be the only person who would vote for a car ban in central Edinburgh, or ok, ,a congestion charge if it has to be. Oh wait that was dismissed via referendum and can never be reintroduced.

    I do think that the network is not all about what goes along the road surface. rather it is what goes through the heads of the planners of the environment, political mistresses etc. I almost asked Kezia dugdale where her bike was in Hemma last night, as she sat with Lesley hinds and Sheila Gilmore. My bike was blown over on the pavement due to all the racks being full.

    Kezia and Sheila both cycle so we need to ensure they are re-elected?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  6. Simon Parker
    Member

    I have always been a bit reluctant to use compass colours in Edinburgh for fear of treading on the Inner Tube's toes. As I say, Sara had posted about how cyclists were riding the wrong way down a short section of one-way road, and this is a real bug-bear of mine.

    There are two big problems using one colour per route. The first is that eventually you start to run out of colours. There are 11 routes on the Inner Tube map and, so far, 19 routes on my design (bearing in mind I only started working on it less than four days ago).

    By the time I am finished, I would expect there to be 25+ routes.

    The second big problem with one colour per route is that the signing strategy is not useful without a map, whereas everyone has a sense of direction.

    I think the important things are firstly, as SRD says, to design the cycle network correctly (according to cyclists' needs), and secondly, as Roibeard suggests, to get the network to work, whichever signing strategy is used.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  7. Simon Parker
    Member

    gembo, you ask if it would be possible to have both bottom-up and top-down approaches.

    The bottom-up approach is piecemeal, and is also known as an Adjustment Policy.

    Top-down, once the network has been introduced - even if only to a minimum level of functioning to begin with - it can then be developed further "on the basis of priority interventions and a timetable" (step 5).

    I have found that the most substantial opposition to a global approach comes not from the authorities, but from other cycle advocates. I do not believe the Sottish govt or CEC would have any difficulty getting their heads around a properly-considered, well-supported 'network first' proposal.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  8. chdot
    Admin

    "it is what goes through the heads of the planners of the environment, political mistresses"

    You are confusing Edinburgh with Paris.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  9. le_soigneur
    Member

    At first glance, I like the network which is in a grid system in Edinburgh.
    There are some issues. For example Crewe Toll is not amenable to less assertive cyclists, going through cobbled streets in the wet without segregation, and there are gaps and dangling bits of routes. Of course there may be good reasons for all these, but they are still weaknesses.
    On the whole, I am quite positive about it.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  10. Roibeard
    Member

    @gembo - If true, I might not be the only person who would vote for a car ban in central Edinburgh, or ok, ,a congestion charge if it has to be. Oh wait that was dismissed via referendum and can never be reintroduced.

    Sorry Gembo - I was wrong to oppose it originally, and I know better now (partially to CCE!). I hope we get a chance to reconsider it at some point...

    Robert
    (flagellating as he typOUCHes)

    Posted 7 years ago #
  11. gembo
    Member

    @simonparker

    My worry about top down network first approach being liked by scot gov or CEC would be that the authorities like talking about a network and it taking twenty years but actions such as closing streets to cars will not happen., however the princess st, George st, ,queen st routes moving to specific vehicles only might be a start?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  12. kaputnik
    Moderator

    A good start Simon, I think it's important to map out the key places on your map that we are expecting people might be cycling from/to.

    That is, places of education, places of work, places of shopping and places of leisure.

    By this, I mean we shouldn't bypass or provide convoluted access to these places for the sake of following existing path or road routes. Given a safe, off road and convenient alternative I think most people would gladly take it every time over a slightly more direct route full of vehicles and stopping at traffic lights.

    I also think a system of concentric rings, with some key E-W and N-S arteries might be more beneficial for Edinburgh, given its roughly circular shape, bounded by the Bypass and the Forth estuary and interspersed with a lumpy topology.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  13. Simon Parker
    Member

    @ gembo The scenario you paint is everyone's worry. My concern is that the authorities would "introduce" the network, and then skimp on step 5. "You've got your network," they might say. "Cycling modal share is increasing, cycling casualties are falling, why do we need to do more?"

    Well, because. Because without a programme of sustained investment, the bicycle as a means of transport is going to remain on the margins, for one thing.

    Really what I am most interested in is getting to step 4 as quickly as possible, and then patiently, determinedly, resolutely building upwards from this solid base. The point being that if a route is not safe and comfortable now, it can be made safe and comfortable; but if a route is not meaningful and direct now, it might never be meaningful and direct.

    I do understand what you're saying about Princess Street, George Street, etc, but why would you not continue along these lines within the framework provided by a functioning cycle network?

    @ kaputnik Thank you for your comments. I mostly agree with you. The last paragraph has left me stratching my head a bit. A system of concentric rings, you say? I'd like to see the detail, I must say.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  14. gembo
    Member

    @simonparker I am hoping that the apparent move to make princess st trams and buses and George st bikes and pedestrians and queen st cars is actually evidence CEC are wanting to go for a bigger picture network that will actually happen as there will be resistance even to this, well actually there is plenty of resistance to this within this forum too. So I am not saying it is right or wrong just that it indicates CEC may be developing cahones.

    I do already opt for George st if going west east as I favour crossing the tram lines from st David's square junctn with princess st. My normal route is cowgate but at times I do use George st

    Posted 7 years ago #
  15. Cyclingmollie
    Member

    I like the north-south and east-west concept because it would be faster and easier to follow. The NCN approach is too often: through the park, across the busy road, along the pavement, into the housing estate, find the cut-through and go around the field etc. etc.

    It's a shame our ancestors allowed almost every street to become a carpark. There's so much potential space there.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  16. neddie
    Member

    Hi Simon,

    I think it's totally awesome that you are designing such a network :)

    May I ask, are you working for the council on this project, or is it a hobby/home project?

    At first glance the Google map looks great: 2 things I would say:

    • The South of Edinburgh is very poorly served by cycle routes (particularly off road ones), so I'd suggest extending your network further South, to at least the bypass.
    • Beware that the existing cycle paths marked on Google maps are not that accurate*. I would use a combination of Google maps/Spokes (paper) maps/Open Street Maps (cycling layer)/Cyclestreets to work out where the paths are.

    * E.g the path through Corstorphine Hill is shown on Google maps as a cycle track, but it is only passable by Mountain Bike with a energetic rider!

    Posted 7 years ago #
  17. Morningsider
    Member

    Simon - a nice plan. I don't mean to put you off, but the Council's transport planners are well aware of all this. The networks set out in the Active Travel Action Plan are based on pretty detailed trip analysis and an understanding of likely modal shift.

    I have made this point many times before, but Scotland doesn't lack technical know how, decent design guidance or engineering skills. The only thing preventing the development of excellent cycling facilities is a lack of political will. Why this is the case is a pretty complex mix of reasons, including - fear of alienating voters, fear of wasting money, fear of being associated with an eccentric fringe group (this is changing), a lack of personal experience of cycling, party political priorities and many others.

    Superimposing a cycle network on the existing streets is a difficult business. Edinburgh's transport planners don't lack the skills to do it - but they aren't in charge. You only have to look at the development of the Leith Walk proposals to see how fiercely local businesses and some residents will resist even minor transport improvements. Add in the trams - which makes any councillor extremely wary of major change and it is incredible that the Council are considering fairly radical changes in the city centre, including potentially major cycle improvements.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  18. SRD
    Moderator

    morningsider said: "The networks set out in the Active Travel Action Plan are based on pretty detailed trip analysis and an understanding of likely modal shift."

    Really? not being snarky, but I have never had any reason to think this, but then my first steps into cycle campaigning came just as ATAP was being launched, so i don't have a good sense of its origins/preliminary aspects.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  19. SRD
    Moderator

    gembo said "Recent surveys seem to I suggest less car ownership in Edinburgh than previous surveys although this might be linked to including more students in the recent survey?"

    It is clear in census data. I don't know of any reason why more students would have been included this time than previously.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  20. gembo
    Member

    @SRD previous car ownership surveys in Edinburgh may have removed students from their figures? As Edinburgh previously seen as having more cars per head than elsewhere.?? Hopefully it is that the numbers are declining with everything else the same.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  21. Morningsider
    Member

    SRD - I attended a Cycling Scotland conference in Edinburgh (4 years ago?), where the chap responsible for the ATAP gave a presentation on its development. It certainly looked like it had a pretty solid foundation. I'm not saying the networks in the plan are great (they aren't), but that isn't due to a lack of of understanding of travel demand/patterns in Edinburgh. They are what is politically feasible.

    The problem (as I see it) is that transport and spatial planning are both for the long term - decisions taken now may only pay off in decades to come. Politicians tend to think in the here and now. So, good long term decisions rarely get made, unless they provide current politicians with a boost. Hence the popularity of major road projects (many voters like these).

    Posted 7 years ago #
  22. gembo
    Member

    Maybe in an Independent Scotland the politicians will some farsighted and develop cycling networks to compensate for the lack of oil?

    David begg was seen off and since then, the political decisions have all been tribal and short sighted.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  23. Simon Parker
    Member

    @ edd1e_h I am doing this on my own initiative. I have done about ten other towns and cities.

    @ Morningsider "Superimposing a cycle network on the existing streets is a difficult business."

    No, I don't accept this. Or rather, I think cycle advocates make it a million times more difficult than it needs to be. I think that if cycle advocates were more honest with themselves, and had more realistic expectations, it would be possible to have a cycle network up and running within a matter of months.

    Instead of which, we hear talk of "No compromise!" and "If you're going to do it, do it properly!" Hearing this, the politicians no doubt think to themselves, "B* this! There's almost no chance of getting this right. We have been asked, not to step over a one foot-high bar, but to vault a seven feet-high beam. This is too difficult."

    On the continent, campaigners took the authorities at their word. When the road gets dug up, the government said, we'll put it back differently. Until then, you're just going to have to accept third-best. But fear not, we're going to develop the network further "on the basis of priority interventions and a timetable."

    Okay, the Dutch and German campaigners said. Never! their British counterparts insisted. We don't believe you! We don't trust you!

    Posted 7 years ago #
  24. Kenny
    Member

    FWIW, Simon, I like the way you think. Good luck to you.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  25. Simon Parker
    Member

    Thanks mkns. (I wish I could take all of the credit, but most of my ideas about this are taken directly from Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities.)

    Regarding the design, I have decided to ditch one of the compass colours. I have done this before in the case of Bracknell, so it is not as though this is without precedent.

    In the case of Edinburgh, most of the north-south routes are oriented at about 11:25, and that being so, I don't see the point of trying to shoe-horn another compass colour into the design.

    Generally I am very happy with the red-, orange- and green-coloured routes. The north-south routes have been giving me some problems. It really depends now on what has been missed out. Map here.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  26. gembo
    Member

    My commute is west east in the morning and it is on the network for sure, just three different colours, still works well though

    Posted 7 years ago #
  27. Simon Parker
    Member

    Cool. Thanks for the comment.

    Once the network has been planned - it might take a little while yet to finalise the design - we would then set about studying the feasibility of the network. Indeed, says Cycling: the way ahead, doing this is of "a similar importance to setting up a cycling unit or appointing a cycling coordinator".

    The thing to be determined is the functionality of the network. Non-functioning parts would need to be dealt with as a priority.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  28. chdot
    Admin

    How about a few more of these -


    No Entry - Except cycles!

    Posted 7 years ago #
  29. Simon Parker
    Member

    Perfect.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  30. gembo
    Member

    At first I thought that was potterow subway but information at PY led me to look harder and I spotted The distinctive brick clock tower on the hotel above Euston? Also Flickr tells you where.

    Posted 7 years ago #

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