CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

The Sustrans proposals for Picardy Place/Leith Street

(275 posts)

  1. crowriver
    Member

    Here's a link to Sustrans' more active travel and public transport friendly proposals for Picardy Place and Leith Street (PDF format).

    http://bit.ly/2fzl2au

    At chdot's suggestion, maybe we can discuss here what works well in this design, and what could be improved?

    Plus points for me:

    - Leith Street and Calton Road closed to through traffic (except buses on Leith Street)
    - Public transport interchange
    - Decent segregated cycle lanes that cross tram lines at correct angle and continue to Broughton Street, Elm Row and all the way up Leith Street

    Minus points:

    - Can't think of any just now...

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. crowriver
    Member

    (Thread bumped as no-one seems to be taking a blind bit of notice).

    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. chdot
    Admin

    Patience

    CCE is ruminating.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. Harts Cyclery
    Member

    Great. Leith St is already closed, so just get on and do it!! Haha, I wish, but the closure of Leith St provides useful evidence for the viability of this design. Also, certainly would reduce traffic on the North/South Bridge/Nicolson St hell hole.

    Although, my broader theory on sorting out town is that we should largely pedestrianise the old town inside a square of Lauriston Place/North/SouthBridge/Queen St/Lothian Road. And give those routes over to private cars, but still with segregated infra...

    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. nedd1e_h
    Member

    Not all of the bike lanes cross the tram tracks at 90 degrees (e.g. at the western corner of the triangle). This could easily be improved.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    OK, that's actually pretty good.

    I'd want to see a plan for the triangle. Plaza or what?

    Also what's the experience of going from Broughton Street to Leith Street? That's one of the least pleasant things to do on a bike at the moment.

    Very keen on the bus gate.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. Frenchy
    Member

    Minus points:

    - Can't think of any just now...

    Deil's advocation - Increasing traffic levels through Holyrood Park and on the Pleasance isn't something I'd generally be in favour of.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. PS
    Member

    We need to put ourselves in councillors' shoes, and those of the developers and drivers. What would be lost by going to the Sustrans design? And does it make things untenable?

    I'll give this more thought later, but things that spring to mind:

    Developers need people to be able to access their massive car park (and the one at Greenside). May not be popular here, but it's happening. Sustrans design allows for that, if you are coming from the north/east. Reduces access from the Bridges (but that's not insurmountable in my view - anyone approaching from south of the university could go via Abbey Hill. [What they should have done is an underpass from the London Road roundabout under Picardy Place/Plaza to the car parks, but too late for that.]

    Cars heading from Leith Walk/Broughton to Southside: inconvenienced but again would soon learn to go via Abbey Hill or up the Mound or Lothian Road, depending on their destination.

    Cars heading Leith Walk to West End: would come up a against a set of traffic lights at Broughton St. There is a set of lights there, but they're for a ped crossing, so there is likely to be a longer wait which will back the junction up a bit. However, reduced use of Leith Street due to bus gate may mean that the overall effect here is limited.

    Broughton Street: already traffic light-controlled, so little impact (beyond induced demand due to St James development, which is going to happen anyway).

    A Picardy Place plaza presumably limits what can be done with this notional hotel possibly planned (if the common weal issues don't sink that anyway). Is anyone bought into that, beyond the council thinking it could raise some income for it?

    etc...

    I can see the bus gate/closing Leith Street being the big issue because WE FEAR CHANGE, but surely not insurmountable? The upside of reducing traffic on the Bridges/Leith Street is surely a good thing as long as you accept that some (not all - people will be encouraged onto buses/foot/bike) of that crosstown traffic will move to the Mound/Abbey Hill/Holyrood Park/Lothian Road...? And a Plaza as the entrance to the St James Centre/the new hotel/Omni is good for footfall/business.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. Klaxon
    Member

    For an analysis of the impact of the bus gate, just observe the traffic across the roundabout at any time over the next 12 months, but add in your head a bus trundling past every 30-45 seconds

    Exceptions to this will be Saturday afternoons and bank holidays after St James Galleria opens when there will be a much higher % of destination traffic than now.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. Morningsider
    Member

    Actually quite hard to fault this design, much improved pedestrian space, better cycle facilities, priority for buses, easily accessible tram stop and car access is maintained to all premises.

    The Council considers the triangle to be a development site (various Committee papers about this if you care to search). Not necessarily a bad thing - it would re-create the street frontage that previously existed prior to the development of the St James Centre (http://maps.nls.uk/view/75512864).

    If Councillors are worried that this might be a bit too radical, probably worth pointing out the Corporation of the City of London's decision to restrict access to possibly the busiest urban junction in the UK to buses and bikes only between 7am and 7pm on weekdays, pending a final design soultion: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/transport-and-streets/traffic-management/Pages/Bank-On-Safety.aspx

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. rbrtwtmn
    Member

    Just one very important note... in any analysis/assessment of the options it is essential that we remember that it is NOT essential to account for the continued throughput of general traffic. This is where the ECC designs go wrong - starting from the assumption that traffic must be accounted for, that existing/increased traffic levels are a given. A better way to look at this might be to consider increased traffic on other routes as a risk to be countered (not as an inevitable result)... so the question becomes 'what would be necessary to ensure that after this intervention traffic is not allowed to increase on the alternative routes identified'.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. kaputnik
    Moderator

    One thing I'd like to see in the Sustrans proposal is greater consideration of buses. I think this is really key to get "Edinburgh" on board beyond those agitating for better walking and cycling conditions. Bus passengers are the commuting majority so get them better served and suddenly it doesn't seem to be a wacky suggestion from the green fringes.

    By my calculations, 99 buses/hour use Picardy place at peak times, or 1.65 every minute (or one every 36 seconds). With exception of the number 8, which does Broughton Road, they are all coming from/to Leith Walk or London Road and going from/to Leith Street or York Place. Yet the Sustrans proposal seems to me to have the road layout facing the wrong way. It should be a "Y" with one arm each for Leith Street and York Place and the tail down towards Elm Row. The Sustrans road layout seems to favour the Broughton Street - Leith Street route which will nearly all be private vehicles headed for the St. James car parks.

    Either that, or add a bus-only route on the east side of the triangle giving direct, priority access to Leith Street for buses coming from Leith Walk and London Road.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. I were right about that saddle
    Member

    @kaputnik

    You have articulated what I could not. Thanks.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. Klaxon
    Member

    A similar ‘local bus bypass’ as mooted by kaputnik can be observed here

    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. crowriver
    Member

    One negative impact of the current Leith Street "closure" (Calton Road still open) is the abysmal year long gyratory created at Abbeyhill. It's truly a hostile and unpleasant experience as a pedestrian.

    However, this only exists because an official diversion sends buses and general traffic via Abbeyhill. Buses would still use Leith Street under the Sustrans plans, so reducing current pressures on areas like Abbeyhill and York Place.

    Also the sheer nightmare that is the Abbeyhill gyratory provides handy direct evidence of how awful Picardy Place would be with one. See also Hanger Lane in London; Armley gyratory in Leeds; etc. They're just horrible places for al, whatever transport mode they use.

    We do need to point to evidence of increased road capacity leading to induced demand (links anyone?). We also need evidence of reduced road capacity leading to reduced demand, the so call traffic evaporation effect (links?).

    This last is really important. One of the key bits of whataboutery I encountered while trying to get Holyrood Park closed to through traffic (which I still think needs to happen) was "where will all the traffic go?" Answer is, some of it will disappear, i.e. people will decide not to make certain journeys by car. Very difficult to convince people (drivers) this will happen without evidence.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. chdot
    Admin

    “A better way to look at this might be to consider increased traffic on other routes as a risk to be countered (not as an inevitable result)”

    +1

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. chdot
    Admin

    “Very difficult to convince people (drivers) this will happen without evidence”

    Yes, but the point is ‘Edinburgh’ just needs to get on and do stuff like New York has.

    Unfortunately UK laws make this difficult.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. Morningsider
    Member

    crowriver - I quite like this paper from the Victoria Transport Policy Institute on induced demand. It is recent, pretty comprehensive and fairly easy to understand:

    http://www.vtpi.org/gentraf.pdf

    The ever reliable Rachel Aldred has some good stuff on traffic evaporation at:

    http://rachelaldred.org/writing/thoughts/disappearing-traffic/

    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. Rob
    Member

    Induced demand should be really easy to understand on a personal level. Who hasn't had thoughts like:

    1. I'd love to live in Dalkeith/Fife but commuting through Sheriffhall/FRB would be a nightmare
    2. I would drive into town but its the festival and I'll never get parked so I'll take the bus instead

    It is a tiny step from thoughts like these to:

    1. If they increase the capacity through Sheriffhall more Edinburgh workers will move to Dalkeith/Fife, increasing traffic
    2. If Edinburgh had more parking, more people would drive

    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. crowriver
    Member

    "It is a tiny step" for 'us', but a giant leap for driverkind.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. crowriver
    Member

    @Morningsider, great, thanks!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. Harts Cyclery
    Member

    Indeed. Important to remember that just because x number of cars use one road doesn't mean that x will migrate to the alternate. The whole point is to encourage people (through making driving less convenient) to make the choice of walking/cycling/public transport, which should mean a number of cars significantly lower than x.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  23. Blueth
    Member

    As far as I can remember, Morningsider, tbe original street layout there was largely a police box and a public toilet (reinstatement of which would be welcome) and a taxi rank/office. The passage of time may mean this is not fully accurate of course.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. chdot
    Admin

    CITY transport bosses have bowed to public pressure and agreed to more consultation over the controversial road layout proposed for the top of Leith Walk.

    Earlier this week cycling campaigners criticised the lack of public involvement in deciding what should replace the Picardy Place roundabout as part of the St James Quarter development.

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/transport/further-consultation-on-leith-walk-junction-layout-1-4573422

    “cycling campaigners”

    Probably (mostly) true, unfortunately...

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. acsimpson
    Member

    Were living streets not involved too?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. Morningsider
    Member

    Blueth - I think that was a smaller island next to the triangle. Good photo here:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbhq/16248074148/

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. chdot
    Admin

    "

    “The scale of public unhappiness at the plans put forward has been unprecedented, and if the council are genuinely listening and changing their plans to reflect that feedback, that’s great news.”

    "

    Read more at: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/transport/further-consultation-on-leith-walk-junction-layout-1-4573422

    "public unhappiness"

    Not just 'cyclists' then

    "unprecedented"

    Nice notion, but perhaps not entirely true(?)

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. Stickman
    Member

    Transport Committee papers are out. Picardy Place on the agenda.

    http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4250/transport_and_environment_committee

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. crowriver
    Member

    So now we get the official narrative on what has happened until this point (Item 7.4).

    Alas, there is this very important paragraph near the end:

    ---

    5.2 Any fundamental review of the current design could put at risk these agreements, the delivery programme, and Scottish Government funding, with resulting further risk to the delivery of any revised layout and to the extension of the tram.

    ---

    Talk about holding a gun to councillor's heads! Planning officials and/or certain key office holders are clearly aiming to railroad this through. Maybe with a wee bit of tinkering at the edges as a sop to "public feedback".

    Basically, "If you don't let us get our gyratory the new St James and the tram are all DOOMED!"

    I call bullsh1t on that. These are people who prefer to do what they want, without any tiresome and time-consuming interference from the public who'll have to live with this mess for the next 30 years or more.

    Yes, I'm angry.

    A glimmer of hope here or chink in the armour that officials have donned:

    ---

    6.4 The GAM agreements were entered into following approval by Council on 10 March 2016. The Transport and Environment Committee can consider the road and traffic implications of the design of the new Picardy junction under its remit. However, any more fundamental change to the package of works or the contracts in place would require the approval of Council.

    ---

    So, in fact things could be changed...

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. Blueth
    Member

    Thanks for finding that Morningsider.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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