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"Councillors Rejected Gritting Plan"

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  1. chdot
    Admin

    Today I was reminded that, in November, Edinburgh's councillors had the chance to add these cyclepaths to the priority gritting list.

    They declined to find the money.

    If you think that it would be a good use of your taxes you might like to contact your councillors.

    Details.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  2. effemm
    Member

    Presumably by *not* gritting these paths, the Council is leaving itself open to legal action from path users who suffery injury and/or financial loss as a result.

    I wonder whether there was a "Ford Pinto" discussion among the Cooncillors, where they decided that the likely cost of any legal action would be lower than the cost of gritting in the first place?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  3. spytfyre
    Member

    my councillors must be getting sick of hearing from me since I discovered the writetothem.com site years ago...

    Posted 7 years ago #
  4. chdot
    Admin

    "my councillors must be getting sick of hearing from me"

    Probably - but they DO pay attention to the volume of complaints if sent as individually worded letters/e-mails.

    Which is one reason Spokes has been so successful over many years - persistent literate members.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  5. spytfyre
    Member

    what amuses me is that one of the three councillors for my area *cough* Gordon Buchan Tory *cough* has not made their contact details available for the site to let me contact them... hardly fair

    Posted 7 years ago #
  6. chdot
    Admin

  7. spytfyre
    Member

    nifty - job done!

    Posted 7 years ago #
  8. chdot
    Admin

    I believe that the 2010/2011 budget is still being worked on so NOW is a great time to lobby for things.

    Though this particular item has been on the go since 12 March 2009 when "a motion for priority gritting of Cycle Routes was raised. The decision of the Council was to note that this action was already planned to review gritting treatment routes and priority levels in preparation for next winter".

    I think that means NOW.

    So another year of indecision...

    Edinburgh Council Signs Cycle Treaty! (That was May 2009)

    Posted 7 years ago #
  9. uana2
    Member

    I am fairly sure the Councillors didn't say no. Instead the report recommended that they consider the additional £70k it would cost to grit the paths within their budget discussions for the forthcoming year. So this means that things are to some extent still open. The main problem of course is that facing a 90 million funding shortfall over the next 3 years, finding any extra money for things will be very difficult.

    This said writing to Councillors has got to be worth it. It increases the chances of positive action from nothing to something. Who knows, with the City's Brussels Charter commitment to achieve 15% of all journeys by bike by 2020 they will have to do much more to encourage bike use.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  10. SRD
    Moderator

    Do we really _want_ more salt on our bike paths? I can see the point if it actually were _grit_ but as we have discussed elsewhere, this is basically a misnomer; it is just salt. And we all know what that does to our bikes, shoes, gardens etc. Obviously sometimes we need salt to melt ice, but I would be wary of encouraging too much use of it, especially through wildlife areas, along canals etc.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  11. SRD
    Moderator

    And then the Guardian goes and says the same thing!

    Posted 7 years ago #
  12. chdot
    Admin

    Of course it's all a question of 'balance'.

    The Guardian article ends with -

    "The Environment Agency says it is not unduly concerned, though. "While there are minimal short-term impacts to the ecology of watercourses, the salt intake is not prolonged enough to cause significant long-term damage," says a spokeswoman. "As salt from roads tends to enter watercourses during a thaw, the salt is diluted relatively quickly. We do sample streams in the spring and have found no evidence of significant impact on wildlife from river salt intake."

    Certainly more desirable than just chucking piles of rock salt on top of snow (as happened on North Meadow Walk) is clearing the snow and adding minimal amounts of salt to stop surface water freezing.

    It would of course help if there was a proper/regular patrol/maintenance regime for the off-road network that allowed local knowledge to build-up (e.g. locations prone to surface water/freezing) and other issues - glass, vandalism etc. dealt with.

    As anyone using the Innocent Path much last year will have noticed, it was well into the summer before the verges were cut back.

    Any tiny (unintentional) benefit to the wildlife was largely paid for by the inconvenience (and sometimes danger) caused to pedestrians. Of course (in some instances) cyclists should have been more patient/careful, but a properly managed core path network shouldn't be too much to ask for.

    Before Services for Communities was created (a sensible combining of the 'direct action' bits of various Departments) I was at a 'focus' meeting.

    I suggested to the new boss that he should consider having a few staff on bikes so that they could deal with the network quickly and efficiently. Needless to say I wasn't taken seriously.

    On another occasion I offerrd to lend a local team an 8 Freight to try out. Would have been useful for carrying basic tools, removing litter etc. The idea was well received but I never heard anything more.

    IF the council is about to find £70k for off-road routes perhaps 'gritting' shouldn't be the first priority.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  13. SRD
    Moderator

    But the studies they refer to are based on previous year's usage. This year must have much higher levels.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  14. chdot
    Admin

    And more snow.

    I'm not saying 'salt has no consequences' or that that it's only/best/optimum solution.

    The issue is whether off-road paths should be 'abandoned' thus disantantaging walkers (pavements is a whole different issue!) and cyclists and forcing some onto narrower road space.

    There may well be birds killed by salty roadside water, bit many more will die due to cold/lack of food.

    So clear the paths and feed the birds - and cut the vegetation when it grows back too much!

    Posted 7 years ago #
  15. Cyclingmollie
    Member

    SRD - bikes are going to get covered in salt in winter whether it comes from main roads or cycle paths. I agree that salt is only effective to a few degrees below zero. But ungritted cycle paths can be like ice-rinks while gritted roads just a few metres away are fine.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  16. SRD
    Moderator

    Yes, doubtless 'gritting' cycle paths is a progressive move. I am just a bit sick of everyone saying 'more salt' as a solution over and over again on the news, comments etc. It seems very shortsighted and unsustainable. a few more snowplows for attachment to rubbish trucks, tractors, streetsweepers (even just pick-ups) etc would drasticlaly reduce the need for salt and be a one-off (or long term) solution. Not to mention snow tyres, chains etc It is appalling that ambulances were getting stuck and needing tows from bog-standard 4x4s. Obviously, they will always have little clearance underneath, but they could have the possibility of tyre change or chains and be much better equipped. It just seems silly to put more and more 'grit' on heavy snow. Salt is good for ice and for keeping run-off from freezing. It is not a snow-removal strategy. I used to think the UK very sensible, because they used 'grit' not salt, now discover it is just salt by another name. Depressing.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  17. Cyclingmollie
    Member

    SRD Depressing indeed. I don't think anything will get properly done until cycling is normalised. Like wheelchair access didn't really become common until it was considered "normal" to be in a wheelchair. I mention wheelchairs as I worked in the field of disability for twenty years.

    Posted 7 years ago #
  18. chdot
    Admin

    Think we can agree, from this and other threads, that while last few weeks may be a rare event, there are various issues that need to be addressed about encouraging more people to cycle in Edinburrrrgghh.

    This is the first UK council that signed up for 15% of journeys by bike by 2020.

    Who wants to start a new thread?

    Posted 7 years ago #
  19. SRD
    Moderator

    Yes, it's unusual, but there is almost always some snow. A *little* investment other than just stockpiling salt would be more sustainable. anyway - new thread started as demanded!

    Posted 7 years ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

    I never demand...

    but thanks

    Posted 7 years ago #

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