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Post Powderhall (coming soon??)

(260 posts)

  1. wingpig
    Member

    I expect they're annoyed that Powderhall is delayed because they can't object when it's not happening.
    A danger of Powderhall being delayed is that the Lochend Butterfly, Sunnyside, Shrubhill and incipient Powderhall developments will all be complete and unconnected by the time the path gets converted, reducing it to a very long and escape-free wormhole-like cut-through from St Marks to Abbeyhill.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. neddie
    Member

    It's all a distraction technique - "here, why don't you develop these paths that don't affect motorists?"

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. toomanybikes
    Member

    'Acquiring the land and delivering a path would take another 5-10 years if the council went full steam'

    Is this really true? How can it be so slow?

    step 1: acquire worthless land
    step 2: send someone to check bridges won't fall down
    step 3: remove rusty train tracks
    step 4: send a paver down the path.
    done?

    (fully agree that SfP is better bang for buck though)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. Dave
    Member

    I was projecting past performance... I agree that it could be done faster in theory, in a different land with different people :)

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. chdot
    Admin

    “How can it be so slow?“

    Well

    1) NetworkRail - notoriously difficult in many respects. Have they actually said they no longer want to retain the land ‘just in case’?

    2) “worthless land“. Except that no land in places like Edinburgh has no book/sale value/price. Agreeing what is a ‘reasonable’ price is not simple.

    3) In addition to any purchase price, creating the path will cost money. No doubt SG/Sustrans will pay - 50%?

    4) ThisIsEdinburgh

    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. crowriver
    Member

    IIRC the main stumbling block would appear to be Network Rail's 100-year contract (!) with DB Freight for the use of the sidings at Powderhall, and by extension the branch line itself.

    Not that it is passable by a train at the moment - the line is increasingly overgrown.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. chdot
    Admin

    James Corner explores how Covid’s impact on mental health has raised interest in urban landscapes. He designed New York’s High Line and is working on a similar project in Camden.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00100d8

    https://www.camdenhighline.com

    Posted 10 months ago #
  8. crowriver
    Member

    So, the feasibility study has not been shared with stakeholders to my knowledge. However there does appear to be progress internally within the Council, albeit rather slow.

    The information below was gleaned from papers for the forthcoming City of Edinburgh Council Transport and Environment Committee meeting to be held on Thursday, 14 October 2021. The paper is titled ‘Active Travel Investment Programme Update’.

    Powderhall Railway

    Planned investment of £1.68m. However, the scheme was identified as not affordable within the funding constraints set out in the June 2019 papers.

    Planned investment of £150,772 to develop designs up to the end of RIBA Stage 2 Concept Design in 2022/23.

    Design development on the scheme will continue based on the Agreement in Principle (AIP) with Network Rail that the line is not in operation. However, the scheme requires lease and land negotiations with a freight operator and Network Rail prior to further design development and land acquisition by the Council.

    So that’s as much as we know just now. Presumably there may be a public consultation on the propsed designs at some future date.

    Despite the reference to June 2019 papers above, there's only a mention of a motion by Cllr Staniforth regarding Powderhall in those papers. Perhaps a report on the feasibility study was presented to councillors, but this was "in camera" ie. not for public consumption, Perhaps because of "commercial confidentiality" on the part of Network Rail, DB Schenker, or whoever.

    Digging in the minutes of Leith Central Community Council, I found the following snippets of interest. Bravo to Harald Tobermann for doggedly pursuing this!

    ---

    April 2019

    6.c Powderhall Green Corridor

    There is a lengthy report which is not optimistic on it becoming a walkway.Northern Rail wish to keep it as a rail line

    This issue has been discussed by LCCC for many years and will increase in importance as an access area as the area becomes more densely populated. It is now on the Council agenda with an officer appointed.

    ---

    February 2020

    8.a to note: Powderhall Railway Path update

    Powderhall railway path potential; on 24th February a group will be looking into technical challenges; consultant will tell us the price, developer contributions. Scottish Power Networks have uplifted about ten metres of rail.

    ---

    {Extract from e-mail to Chair of LCCC April 2021}

    Thank you for your email. I would agree that the delay to the Powderhall scheme is regreable as it represents an excing opportunity for creang a new acve travel route in Edinburgh that has enormous potenal to be a big success. It certainly hasn’t been de-priorised in terms of the overall Acve Travel Investment Programme but, unfortunately, has experienced delays due to the pressures created by the Spaces for People programme as a result of the exceponal circumstances that we find ourselves in at the moment. Rather than de-priorising exisng projects we have had to re- priorise workloads to address the needs of Spaces for People. As Spaces for People nears its delivery deadline I would envisage more resources being allocated towards delivering our core programme of projects.

    Brendan has kept me regularly updated with the project’s programme and he has advised me that he is hopeful that the Stage 1 work will be completed by the summer of 2021. That will not necessarily mean that the material produced, such as a Stage 1 report, will be available for public view but, nevertheless, if we achieve those mescales then it will mean that the project is back up and running with a view to moving towards Stage 2 Concept Design. We will endeavour to make the Stage 1 report available for your consideraon as soon as it is possible to do so.

    I apologise that I cannot be of more help at present however please be assured that we are not far away from being able to re-commence work on the Powderhall project with a view to proceeding with the Concept Design from this summer onwards.

    ----

    May 2021

    7 Parks & Green Spaces

    7.a Delays to Stage 1 of Powderhall NW-SE Green Corridor

    H Tobermann: I have escalated this matter to CEC Director of Place, because his staff working on Powderhall were redeployed to SfP. Hence this green corridor scheme has been pushed back, yet is widely acknowledged to be very worthwhile.
    A McIntosh: this matter has become of interest to the Better Broughton campaign.

    ---

    {Extract from e-mail between LCCC Chair and CEC Head of Place May 2021}

    As you know, the above project is a key interest of Leith Central Community Council. While the Green Corridor's potential to connect a large percentage of our area's population to the North Edinburgh walking and cycle path network clearly ticks a multitude of boxes, the delays and "re-prioritising" of workloads that Barry Clarke alludes to below are very regrettable.

    LCCC has largely stayed out of the controversies around SfP which we regard
    as ephemeral as some of the elements of the scheme but are concerned that this has meant that the progress of a vital piece of green infrastructure has suffered while other projects have continued apace or jumped the queue (in this context, you may be interested in Napier University Transport Research Institute's "Inverse Care Law in road safety").

    Can you reassure me that, indeed, there will be "more resources" allocated towards delivering the Powderhall Green Corridor project, as {redacted} suggested in his email below? I would be grateful if could indicate when this is likely to happen.

    Local residents have been enquiring about the progress of this project, and it would be good to see the Stage 1 report published before the summer: given that the majority of this work has been outsourced to Jacobs (they started last year), early progress should be entirely achievable.

    {Head of Place promised to ask for an update from colleagues}

    ---

    August 2021

    8 Parks & Green Spaces

    8.a Powderhall NW-SE Green Corridor

    8.a.i to note: further delays (since May) to long overdue Stage 1 report due to ‘[staff being under] intense pressure (not just from temporary schemes) and have also been impacted by Covid related absence’

    H Tobermann: a relevant report was published a year ago, but the officer who should forward it to TEC has been abstracted to Spaces for People for a long time. CEC should concentrate on core, already agreed, desired matters such as this, which potentially would benefit 30,000 people.

    I Mowat: the best use for this corridor would be a railway, with a station at Powderhall, as part of a revived Edinburgh rail network. Is this now feasible?

    J Caldwell: Lack of maintenance by Network Rail of the bridge between Dryden St and McDonald Rd is unwelcome.

    Cllr Rae: Lack of progress is indeed unwelcome. The very recent IPCC report is terrifying, and should be part of decisions on cars, houses, land-use.

    C Encombe: many people do want reduced car-numbers. LCCC wants this corridor to be used for sustainable transport

    8.a.ii to agree: to write to ward and TEC councillors, requesting resources and TEC prioritisation commensurate with the needs of our densely populated area to have access to green spaces and the North Edinburgh off-road cycle path network

    ---

    Posted 10 months ago #
  9. chdot
    Admin

    Useful bit of work assembling all that.

    Great to know that a lot of people/orgs actually want this done - esp within CEC.

    BUT

    As ever ‘money’, resources’, ‘priorities’ etc.

    Perhaps time for some of the organisations to openly and collectively say they want this to happen.

    Possibly even formalise a ‘campaign’?

    “High Line” style ideas are quite popular at the moment (trendy even).

    The main ‘selling point’ of this route is the way it would join up the NEPN with a smaller network to the east - with all sorts of other linking opportunities - an Edinburgh wide network even!

    Plus many (potential) local links along the length of the railway route. Unfortunately some recent developments have made the addition of access points more difficult.

    Also there many opportunities for improving the ‘wildlife corridor’ for the benefit of wildlife of all sorts.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  10. Yodhrin
    Member

    Honestly, I'm not all that bothered by this being delayed to prioritise other projects.

    The railway paths are very nice "green spaces" but they're not "active travel corridors", they're recreation spaces. In the summer they're humid, overgrown, and swarmed with bugs. In the autumn they're slick with mulch. In the winter they're often icy and woe betide you if it snows. Conditions are wonderful for about two and a half months in early spring, however even then they're still too-narrow shared-use paths that aren't well connected to the road network around them(some links are steps only, some have ramps but they're steep AF, some sections are cut so deeply through surrounding terrain there's no linkage at all to several streets being passed under/by).

    They are - still - an excuse not to reallocate road space away from cars and to put cycling out of sight and out of mind as much as possible; witness the planned network which you can eventually find if you dig through one of the fifteen brochures on the various projects the Council are embarked upon, which uses the Ferry Road/Hawthornvale path as the only unbroken east/west route in north Edinburgh because they're too feart to stop motorists using Ferry Road itself in the narrow sections. Not to mention that if the Council ever do proceed with looping the tram back from Newhaven to Roseburn, both the Telford and Roseburn paths will disappear.

    Edinburgh already has a fair abundance of green space, we're not dealing with the concrete sprawl a lot of places are stuck with, the priority should be projects that reallocate roadspace away from cars to active modes, both to provide infra that facilitates travel rather than recreation and to help discourage car use. I suppose it would be technically possible to make a railway path into a proper active travel corridor, but can you really see the council producing something with a 4m cycleway, 2m+ raised pavement, at least a metre clear either side of those for lighting, bins, benches etc, regrading the whole route to allow for connections at street level wherever possible, and landscaped boulevard-style greenery for most of the length save where there's abundant extra room, and then on top of all that keeping it all clear of snow, ice, debris etc all year round? Because that's an "active travel corridor", not ~3m of tarmac slapped down and the embankments left to grow wild for most of the year.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  11. chdot
    Admin

    “not ~3m of tarmac slapped down and the embankments left to grow wild for most of the year“

    Yes, needs to be done better than some/many/most off-road routes.

    “but they're not "active travel corridors", they're recreation spaces”

    Depends

    Not really for full-on speed cyclists, but there are plenty of commuters who use significant sections of the NEPN even though it’s longer and not ‘direct’.

    Plus lots of people start cycling on these paths before trying a cycle commute that involves roads.

    As ever it’s not either/or.

    More joined-up-thinking/routes the better.

    YES to redistributing road space!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  12. Yodhrin
    Member

    People travelling use the paths because the on-road provision is inadequate - plenty of people ride through parks as part of their journeys, that doesn't change the reality that parks are meant for/best suited to recreational use, it just means slowly weaving your way through groups of annoyed peds every so often is more appealing than getting buzzed by an HGV. I'm no speed demon - I'm still unfit and I ride a dutch upright - but if the paths are even a little busy you can end up doing an average speed of well under 10mph unless you want to be the arsehole who just bullies their way through.

    They also suffer from low perceived safety outside of peak usage times - if I were a young woman or elderly I know I wouldn't be too happy on several sections of the existing network in the late evening or early morning; too many concealed places next to the path, too few exits, and almost no passing traffic. Hell, frankly there are times I'm not of a mind to use them myself and I'm 6'2" with a strip mohawk and a build that can - at a distance - be mistaken for muscular rather than a lumpy sack of tatties :P

    I'm happy enough for the paths to exist and even be expanded, but at least in the near and medium term I do think there's a degree of either/or in what gets funded and I just think on-road provision and reallocation is more important for driving actual change in the city - bikes need to be seen as part of the transport mix, not as toys you pootle about with on weekends, and no matter how we might view things the reality is in the minds of most people transport = roads, therefore stuff that isn't on roads isn't real transport.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  13. crowriver
    Member

    I take all those comments on board. Yes, road space needs reallocating. Yes segregated lanes on direct routes are desirable and necessary.

    However, the Powderhall line passes through the most densely populated area in the whole of Scotland. Edinburgh may have some nice green space, but there's not much in the area traversed by this railway - a cemetery, a couple of very small parks, the rest is on the edges of the area, away from where most people live (e.g. Holyrood Park, Leith Links, Pilrig Park, Lochend Park) and is well used, especially so since the pandemic. The largest of these green spaces has a busy road running through it, clogged with motor vehicles Monday-Friday.

    The Powderhall Railway Path would not be simply a transport corridor (that is/was its function for trains), it is also a much needed green space, that can and should be open for people to use, whether on foot, bicycle, or wheelchair, scooter, skateboard. Yes the off-road paths can feel unsafe after dark, but they are incredibly popular and useful. I can't be the only person that uses the NEPN to get out to Barnton and thence to Queensferry, Fife, etc. Likewise if heading to Roseburn or the canal towpath the NEPN is a relatively stress-free option compared to city centre roads.

    So it's not either/or. We need segregated on-road routes, quiet street routes, and traffic-free paths, including railway paths.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  14. Yodhrin
    Member

    I'm not disagreeing we need them all, I just don't consider the recreational aspect to be a priority if the objective is to drive real modal shift, because as the NEPN shows if the council have the choice to pretend recreational paths are transport infrastructure to avoid confronting motorists they will, so build the on-road stuff for each area first to deny them that opportunity.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  15. chdot
    Admin

    My bold

    Permanent strengthening of the existing rail bridge on Easter Road at the junction of Easter Road and Albion Road and or in assisting with the provision of a new pedestrian bridge over the railway from the south development site and Moray Park Terrace in the event that the railway line is reinstated for use.

    £375,156

    HSG 12 TR-SA- HSG12-1

    https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/downloads/file/30304/december-2021


    ??

    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. chdot
    Admin

    I asked this at the consultation. Yes, that is the plan. @Edinburgh_CC currently working with Network Rail on the legals which are taking a long time. Good to see that the Powderhall Path is featured in many of the recent manifestos including @EdinburghSNP

    https://mobile.twitter.com/pablodelmar/status/1537491835370840065?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. chdot
    Admin

    Thank you very much for your email. I am currently still working part time on the Communal Bin Review project whilst a replacement is found and I can confirm that I am the project officer lead for the Powderhall railway Green Corridor project.
    There are currently no plans to take any updates of this project to the August Transport and Environment Committee.

    As you mention, the review of the initial feasibility study has been postponed numerous times due to the lack of project management resources within the team over the last couple of years. However, the Active Travel team has now increased its resources and we are now in a position to resume work on this project. As such we are currently in the process of reviewing the first draft of the initial feasibility study and submitting all the comments to the consultant to finalise the report.

    Exploring the lease and land ownership/acquisition complexities surrounding part of the corridor will condition the potential extent of the route, including different delivery sections and potential connections as well as their associated costs.

    I must reiterate that the city of Edinburgh Council currently has only commitment to explore the feasibility of this project and therefore there is no commitment to continue with the construction of the corridor neither in full or in sections.

    Our conversations with the lease and land owners are still ongoing and once the feasibility study is completed, we will assess the next steps and potential options to progress this project which is highly reliant on external funding by Sustrans.

    https://twitter.com/cllrscottarthur/status/1539511518068363265

    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. chdot
    Admin

  19. chdot
    Admin

    Powderhall - Community Consultation

    Welcome to this Community Consultation. This Exhibition forms part of the statutory Planning process, and has been prepared to engage with and inform the local community of the proposals to develop the former Powderhall Waste Transfer Station for a mixed tenure housing development.

    https://orbitconsultations.scot/powderhallresidential/

    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

    Probably mentioned previously -

    https://m.facebook.com/powderhallpathgroup

    Posted 1 month ago #

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