Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cycling provision on Leith Walk - and beyond

There's been quite a bit of discussion about the Council's revised plans for the upgrade and improvement of Leith Walk, particularly with regard to the provision for cyclists. The plans do now include improved facilities for cyclists - not as much as some would like, but in my view still a considerable improvement in the situation at present. One big defect in the latest revision, however, is the cutting back of the 'two-way' cycle lane just to a short length between Picardy Place at the 'Omni' down to the London Road junction. This means any cyclist travelling north down Leith Walk would have to use one of the busiest bus stop areas, at Elm Row. The two-way section should be continued from London Road down to the Montgomery Street Junction at the very least.

Similarly, there need to be proposals for how cyclists travelling south into the City Centre once they reach the end of the cycle lanes are expected to continue their journey. The Picardy Place has been one of the most dangerous areas in the city for cyclists for years - and when the area is fully reopened      shortly with the new tram stop, it is likely to get even busier. There are various plans to redevelop the area, and one day the tram will no doubt be extended down Leith Walk, and the plans for both of these would include improved cycle provision in this area. But all this is years away, and uncertain.  The planners need to come up with some ideas, now, for how getting across this dangerous junction can be made safer for cyclists (and actually for drivers as well). An 'interim' solution won't be perfect, but surely something is better than nothing, if the benefits of changes further down Leith Walk are not to undermined by poor conditions at its top?

On the theme of making cities fit for cycling, I'm pleased to see that the report 'Get Britain Cycling', with which I was involved, is to be debated in the House of Commons on 2nd September. I'm certain there will be a lot of MPs who will want to speak, but I hope to be able to get into the debate for at least a few minutes, drawing on the Edinburgh experience, both the good and not so good!

1 comment:

clockworkdoorbell said...

Glad to hear that you'll be at the debate, and you're right about the hazards of the top of Leith Walk.