CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

Leith Walk: revised plans

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  1. gdm
    Member

    @Bikeability Edinburgh - agree that we can't simply have a half-baked scheme which appears to those who don't actually cycle to have everything which we're calling for.

    Councillors will simply see segregated lanes and think, "yup - that's what they asked for, now where's my rubber stamp?"

    Given some of the plans have cycle lanes that again seem to lead into junctions that don't have a clear delineation of where each road user goes and who has priority then, as you say, they're just not fit for purpose. It's the old tried and tested message of a lack of political leadership, ambition and bravery and this is where we need our transport conveners to step up to the mark.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  2. Calum
    Member

    Yes, there is: on Tuesday 23rd July.

    I will be turning up, and making quite plain my view that

    >The design is utter garbage, just like a great deal of the rest of (what passes for) the cycling infrastructure, and as such those responsible for it are not up to the job
    >The 10% modal share target has not the slightest prospect of coming anywhere close to being achieved under such conditions
    >Those who purport to represent the interests of "cyclists" are too easily satisfied and as such fail to adequately represent either existing cyclists or those who would like to cycle but do not feel able to.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  3. allytibbitt
    Member

    GL feedback to CEC/Sustrans on enhanced design in advance of next consultation event:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/147471909/GL-Enhanced-Leith-Walk-Design-Comment#fullscreen

    Posted 8 years ago #
  4. bdellar
    Member

    Greener Leith have posted a lovely new take on the "improved" design:

    http://greenerleith.org.uk/blog/guest-post-an-alternative-design-for-leith-walk-2905

    Posted 8 years ago #
  5. PS
    Member

    Good post that - shows it ain't too hard to do.

    One change I'd make, though, it to have the two way cyclelane on the north/west side of the street as it approaches Picardy Place, primarily with the thought of connecting up to the city centre and George St/Princes St - the easiest route (have you seen the width of the street?) is along York Place and up into St Andrew Sq. I'd have a cycle-specific phase on the lights at the top of Broughton St to allow a wave of cyclists onto York Place.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  6. SRD
    Moderator

    PS - I beleive the designer was hoping that it would in fact encourage the city to look at LW & Princes Street/ north bridge together and realize the the obvious route for connection was Leith Street, not York Place

    see here for example: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/files/scotland/policy/Edinburgh-City-Centre-Bus-Tram-integration.pdf

    Posted 8 years ago #
  7. allytibbitt
    Member

    You would also like to think that some bike permeability would be built into the new St James Quarter plan.

    This could open up other routes into the city centre from Picardy Place, other than the straight Leith Street/York Place choices the council is faced with at the moment.

    http://www.stjamesquarter.info/content/register-square

    Posted 8 years ago #
  8. PS
    Member

    @SRD I like that Sustrans doc. Seems eminently sensible.

    Two drivers for my preferring York Place are:
    a) Leith Street is not a cyclist-friendly street given heavy bus use and lack of segregation;
    b) York Place's gradient is far more manageable.

    Both of these issues would be mitigated/managed by the proposals in the Sustrans doc.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  9. DdF
    Member

    @bdellar That is a very nice design by Iain Longstaff. Looking at it, it is fairly similar to the current council/Sustrans design in their segregated section, but very different in their unsegregated section. That suggests to me that the difference is due not to inability of the designers but to different views about priorities.

    Looking at the map nearest the foot of the walk, my impression is that Iain gives a great deal more space to cycling, and he gets that space by deleting the onroad cycle lanes, removing some bus lane, removing a stretch of car parking, taking some pedestrian space and taking a bit of roadspace at the junction [this is all from a fairly quick look - please someone say if I have got some of this wrong]. So it seems to be more a political decision about priorities rather than a technical one, or at the least a combination of both. Certainly from the perspective of encouraging cycle use it would be great.

    @PS It should absolutely not be a question of York Place or Leith St. Both are vital (as in the Princes St v. George St debate). Many cyclists travel between the Bridges and leith walk - and I suspect as more than those travelling between Geo ST and Leith Walk. Also agree with Ally re further permeability should be provided via St James - this was an issue in the 2008(?) initial consultation, and from memory the design brief(?) was amended to support this, after much lobbying. Again from memory, though, there is a big problem with gradients.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  10. PS
    Member

    @DdF Both are vital

    Yep. Agree with you on that. Leith Street is a stinker of a road at the moment. One of those classics where attempts to restrain and direct pedestrians have made it extremely hostile to cyclists. Is there any need for it to be a dual carriageway, thereby encouraging drivers to think they should be doing 40+?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  11. Calum
    Member

    @allytibbitt Good to see Greener Leith are still pushing for further changes.

    @bdellar Interesting to see that alternative design; it looks much better. What really disturbs me are the views of that councillor:

    "He was worried that cyclist that want to go fast with the cars, would not use the proposed cycle tracks and consequently get hassle from car drivers. Thus some painted lanes would be needed for “vehicular cyclists” as well as a bike path for normal bike users, a concept known as “dual-networking.”"

    Oh dear. See how well this notion works out in Cambridge: http://goo.gl/maps/xWxNx

    If they simply rearranged the space on this street, they could have one generous cycle path suitable for fast and slow cyclists. But no - instead they have a narrow shared-use pavement and two narrow cycle lanes. Classic British rubbish, and the last thing Leith Walk needs. WHY do these people think they know what they're doing?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  12. sallyhinch
    Member

    The 'dual network' - the idea that you design one set of routes for fast, competent cyclists and one set for wobbly beginners who are assumed not to be in much of a hurry - is unfortunately written right into page one of the cycling design guidelines. Unfortunately although it sounds superficially sensible, it results in exactly that sort of compromised design, which works for neither. It is also, unfortunately, what a lot of cyclists have campaigned for, as the fear of losing our right to the road sometimes trumps the desire to allow 8-80 year olds to cycle and hence this sort of bastard compromise develops as a result

    Posted 8 years ago #
  13. Calum
    Member

    @sallyhinch It's ludicrous, isn't it? I'm frankly sick of the UK and all the idiotic received wisdom floating around.

    Quite apart from the dubious merits of the idea, there's never been the money for one network, never mind two.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  14. Dave
    Member

    The scenario described doesn't really make any sense, from a public policy perspective anyway.

    At the moment the only people who are able to ride are the ones who are willing to put up with constant low-level aggro and the ocassional explosion of danger (otherwise they've long-since given up).

    Those riders are already happy to be on the road, but supposing that segregated cycle facilities did make them feel less comfortable there - well, crikey! A segregated facility for those who aren't happy on the road is sitting there waiting for them.

    Dedicating money and space to people who are too bold to ride on a segregated path but too timid to do so without a cycle lane is just bizarre.

    In a country with 2% cycling modal share, it's pretty twisted to worry about whether existing cyclists' feelings will be hurt by a segregated facility which at least potentially might bring the other 98% on board; something that will never be achieved by a painted line on the road.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  15. sallyhinch
    Member

    @Dave I think it reflects that it's generally the existing cyclists who campaign, rather than the ones who might cycle if the facilities were there. So you could argue that the politicians and road engineers have been giving us exactly what we've been asking for. In my experience it's only been in the past 2-3 years that most campaigns (national ones anyway) have started asking for Dutch style facilities. Prior to that much cycle campaigning has been more about 'right to ride', training, traffic calming and reduction and driver education. There's also long been this persistent myth that segregated facilities are more dangerous for cyclists, which I still hear the CTC trot out from time to time these days.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  16. chdot
    Admin

    I still have some reservations about the whole "Go Dutch" approach. This was adopted by the London Cycle Campaign and on the face of it is working wonders (with the help of Boris - and his unexpected appointment, Andrew Gilligan.)

    I think the main elements are more money and a strong challenge to the 'you can't do that, it will interfere with traffic flow' entrenched attitudes.

    Edinburgh is not too doing too badly on money (compared with many other places) 6% is better than the previous 5%. But it's still a % of the transport budget. Cycling is 'just another means of transport' - and a 'minority' one at that.

    We should be glad that Edinburgh and Scotland still have cycling 'targets', but this increasingly seems to be as a result of pressure from noisy cyclist types rather than any joined-up-good-for-people/planet-policies.

    As Sally says "it's generally the existing cyclists who campaign". Increasingly people who ride bikes don't see themselves (or want to be seen) as "cyclists".

    Imagine if all the people who walk called themselves pedestrians and got organised.

    That would put an end to pavement cycling.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  17. Calum
    Member

    Well, the Netherlands has the highest rate of cycling of any country in the world. Are they doing it wrong? Is none of their knowledge applicable?

    Once you've got the money, what would you spend it on? Once you've challenged the Smooth Traffic Flow agenda, what accomodations for cycling would you ask for at the expense of motorised traffic?

    The LCC's Go Dutch campaign was very much about challenging the Smooth Traffic Flow agenda - taking space away from general road traffic and dedicating it specifically to cycling. That was the whole point.

    It is very easy for Edinburgh to set targets. Loads of places, including Edinburgh, were (by targets set in the distant past) supposed to have a 10% cycling modal share right now. None of them achieved that because they all pursued feeble, confused, and ultimately doomed strategies. The cold, hard reality behind the frothy "Scotland's top cycling city" rhetoric is that Edinburgh has not been particularly successful at encouraging cycling. The modal share is 2%, barely better than the national average.

    Time to try something else.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  18. chdot
    Admin

    @CC if that is a response to my post, you are probably right. Especially -

    "Time to try something else."

    I was partly thinking about the recent visit to The Netherlands by the Minister - which could allow the 'but that's not Scotland' attitude to continue.

    This thread is mostly about Leith Walk where the 'main' issue is about segregated cycle lanes.

    I think challenging the "Smooth Traffic Flow agenda" is working. The result is the the (possible) removal of the London Road roundabout.

    One stumbling block is buses. There is a general acceptance that these should not be inconvenienced. At present they are delayed by other vehicles (not usually bicycles) including other buses.

    The tram down Leith Walk was intended to deal with this - though somehow there still wasn't 'room' for decent cycling provision (and parking of course!) There aren't so many buses in Dutch cities - presumably because so many people cycle.

    It would be quite nice to see segregated cycles lanes the whole length of LW (as long as they didn't give way at all the side roads!)

    The only trouble is that that perpetuates the whole business of "traffic flow" this time for bikes as well as buses/cars.

    One thing it's hard to learn from the Netherlands is how to deal with all types of traffic on a major street which is residential, a significant shopping street and a main thoroughfare with a disproportionate amount of space reserved for moving (and parked) vehicles - that's also on a steep hill.

    A 20mph limit would be good (may well happen) - though enforcement may be a problem and speeds can't legally be enforced on bikes.

    Is bicycle speed an issue in Dutch towns/cities?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  19. sallyhinch
    Member

    I think the Dutch are better than us at not mixing their streets up - the whole 'sustainable safety' approach is much more than just bicycles; they start by dividing roads up into big through roads (trunk roads), access roads (i.e. residential or shopping streets) and 'distributor roads' that join the access roads to the trunk roads. Each type of road, and each junction between different types of road, gets its own set treatment, all laid out in the CROW manual. So they don't have so many of these complicated roads that are a big bus route AND a shopping street AND a residential street and a through route all at the same time. So I agree that sometimes it's hard to 'Go Dutch' because the Dutch would just say 'well, I wouldn't start from here', with somewhere like Leith Walk.

    Perhaps the Danish example is more instructive because they seem to have done less in the way of disentangling modes of traffic in the Dutch way, and done more simple mitigation with cycle tracks alongside heavily trafficked roads. Less pleasant to cycle along, but more straightforward to implement - as long as you're prepared to start steadily restricting parking to make those routes feasible.

    As for speed - make the tracks wide enough and you can have a fast and a slow lane for bikes. A concept of which we can only dream...

    Posted 8 years ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

    "As for speed - make the tracks wide enough and you can have a fast and a slow lane for bikes"

    I was more thinking of interacting with pedestrians.

    It would perpetuate some of the current LW 'equity' problems if fast motors were just replaced by fast bikes.

    There's more to 'civilising cities' than making life less dangerous for people on bikes - even if that more will use bikes.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  21. sallyhinch
    Member

    Ah right - got you now

    Although the NL doesn't have much in the way of hills, they do have scooters on the bike lanes (which are a bit of a menace). Some of the lanes I saw in Groningen have 'speed bumps' which are intended to slow scooters, especially at points where they interact with crossing pedestrians or approach roads.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  22. chdot
    Admin

    Imagine LW done like this (no dual carriageway) -

    "

    Mark Treasure (@AsEasyAsRiding)
    23/06/2013 17:56
    Can't imagine a child this young cycling on this kind of road. Why cycle tracks are so necessary

    http://pic.twitter.com/khDufEpjFR

    "

    Posted 8 years ago #
  23. sallyhinch
    Member

    Just saw this - a closer look at the Bethnal Green lanes http://thisbigcity.net/the-good-and-bad-of-londons-controversial-new-bike-lane/

    It's an example of what parking-segregated bike tracks can look like when they're a bit half-hearted (as in Leith Walk). At least they have moved the parking meter though - and they're on both sides of the street which is good

    Posted 8 years ago #
  24. gdm
    Member

    Those Bethnal Green lanes show exactly the kind of compromises in quality which we're forced to make - and WILL be forced to make - with similar design on Leith Walk. The pieces which just have to make you weep is when they stick a pole right in the middle without a thought to how that might possibly (possibly!) compromise your progress.

    The key thing is the comparison to scenes like the one in this video which features a roundabout, a fairly high volume of traffic and even tram tracks added to the mix just for extra Edinburgh-themed relevance. The thing which stands out soooooo clearly for me is the calm confidence and assurance of the cyclists.

    Compare that to the Bethnal example. You couldn't be calm for a moment for fear that you either get doored, have to give way to something more important than you (a lamppost) or just knowing that within the space of a few dozen yards the whole thing will come to an abrupt end and you'll be unceremoniously dumped back into the raging maelstrom of traffic.

    HOW do they not get it?!

    Posted 8 years ago #
  25. sallyhinch
    Member

    I suppose one thing they've got right is the fact that it looks pretty easy to get from the bike track to the pavement in the event of a door opening suddenly - rather than confining you to a vertical-curbed channel that you can't escape from. Other than that, it's a pretty compromised implementation

    Posted 8 years ago #
  26. chdot
    Admin

    Ever get the impression that plans for LW are done by people who have only seen it at 'rush' hour and are mostly concerned with 'traffic flow'?


    Leith Walk Friday 4:30

    Posted 8 years ago #
  27. chdot
    Admin

    "
    July 23 Leith Walk – exhibition / consultation
    Exhibition 2-8pm, McDonald Rd library. Revised plans for Leith Walk in early June were a big improvement, but left scope for further beneficial changes which were suggested by Greener Leith and supported by Spokes. [These documents are at spokes.org.uk : documents : local : Edinburgh : Leith Walk. See also Spokesworker 10.6.13]. Unfortunately there are rumours that subsequent changes have if anything moved backwards. We will find out at the exhibition: please attend and leave your comments.

    "

    From Spokesworker

    http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=9854#post-117204

    Posted 8 years ago #
  28. SRD
    Moderator

    Drop-in Event, Tuesday 23 July, Nelson Hall, McDonald Road Library, 2:00-8:00pm

    A drop-in event will be held in the McDonald Road Library on Tuesday 23rd July from 2:00-8:00pm so that local stakeholders can view the proposed designs and street layout for the Foot of the Walk to Pilrig Street and the Pilrig Street to Picardy Place sections of Leith Walk. These plans are getting close to being finalised after a detailed consultation and design process and we are keen to talk to local people and businesses regarding all aspects of the proposals.

    As the construction work is being undertaken in a phased manner, with the Foot of the Walk to Pilrig Street section commencing first, we are aiming to have a finalised draft design for this section ready by the beginning of August in order to allow us to proceed with the required Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) process prior to the work starting. We will also be displaying the Pilrig Street to Picardy Place section at the same time to allow local stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the emerging design for this section.

    Council Officers will be in attendance to discuss these most up to date designs for the Leith Programme and hope to hear your feedback on them, in particular, aspects of the proposals such as parking provision and the location of domestic waste bins.

    We look forward to a wide range of people attending and providing their views so please let other local people and businesses know about the event.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  29. mgj
    Member

    Sod the plans, just resurface the whole road, or just the greenways if you have to, and then argue about the best way to promote cycling. At the moment it's a bumpy slalom track, even with front suspension.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  30. gdm
    Member

    Got a response from Keith Brown via my MSP on whether the Government would give additional funding for LW redevelopment given it seemed to hinge on CEC getting additional monies. While it features much of the usual gumph, it seems there are options around the Transport Scotland link. I'd imagine, however, that there's the likelihood of significant compromise ahead when CEC don't receive the full funding pot for the latest design - something of a worry given the extent to which the designs are 'compromised' already.

    "We are committed to meeting the shared vision that by 2020, 10% of everyday journeys will be made by bike. Investing in cycling infrastructure is a major contribution to achieving the vision.

    As a result, over this year and next the Scottish Government has provided Sustrans, a charity with expertise in cycle infrastructure, with over £17 million for community links projects. This funding is available to all local authorities to bid into and local authorities are asked to provide matched funding for such projects.

    Since September 2012, we have announced an additional £9 million of investment from UK consequentials for cycling projects and the City of Edinburgh Council was awarded £600,000 of this for improvements to the A90 cycle path from central Edinburgh to the Forth Road Bridge.

    On the Leith Walk proposal, Transport Scotland is currently in discussion with City of Edinburgh Council on both the evolving design and funding for this project.

    I hope these comments reassure your constituent that this Scottish Government is committed to enabling Scotland to become a safe and active cycling nation."

    Reassured, Keith? No.

    Posted 8 years ago #

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