August 2009

Old Dalkeith Road consultation

Edinburgh Council is consulting on major proposals for higher bus priority between Cameron Toll roundabout and the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. Comments must be submitted by 27 August, and there will also be a staffed exhibition on Sat/Sun 15/16 August.

The proposals will also have a big impact on cycling conditions. The scheme has not yet been discussed by our planning group, but the first impression is quite positive, though with several caveats. Officials have assured us that the details are still under discussion and they are very keen to hear views from users of the road before finalising the plans.

Old Dalkeith Road cycling conditions have been a huge problem for cyclists since the NRIE opened. There was a major improvement several years ago when, following extensive Spokes pressure, the first cycle lanes were installed. Then, more recently, thanks to growing pressure from NRIE staff cycling groups as well as from Spokes, some further improvements were made. However, serious problems remain, with onroad car parking at several locations being the biggest danger and deterrent to using a bike. The new scheme is aimed firstly at buses, and replaces the city-bound cycle lane by a bus/cycle lane – but it also has several significant benefits for safer and more enjoyable cycling conditions.

The consultation letter and proposals map are now on our website, downloadable here.

For more background details (not essential) you can also see the original report to the council, giving the rationale for the scheme here.

Here are some initial thoughts

– The cycle lanes should all have coloured surfacing.
– For much of the way the existing cycle lane is replaced by bus/cycle lane, but with double yellow lines throughout (i.e. 24-hour no parking).
– A cycle lane should be included across all side-road entrances (for example, Walter Scott Avenue) – the law allows this, although bus lanes must stop at side roads.
– The final section is a segregated bus lane. The council has confirmed to us that this is in fact a shared bus/cycle lane, though that’s not clear on the map. However, it’s only 4m width, which is not comfortable for buses and bikes to pass each other – 4.5m is the norm for that. This is important, since bus drivers will be wanting a clear run on this segregated section.
– Leading up to Cameron Toll roundabout cyclists are also allowed to use the road, and this will probably be preferred by many cyclists who are going straight on, as the bus route appears to turn left into the shopping centre. An ASL is shown where OD Rd reaches the roundabout, which is good. However, there should perhaps be a lead-in bike lane for the leftmost straight-ahead traffic lane.
– Onstreet car parking remains in the first section. Ideally this would go. If the council don’t allow that, could the central hatching be removed in those sections, and only started closer to the central islands? This would give cyclists added width passing parked cars.
– In the Bridgend section the cycle lane is removed, BUT double-yellow lines are introduced, which is a great improvement. Presumably there is a road width problem, but if possible the bike lane should be kept.
– From Bridgend to NRIE the existing cycle lane appears to be unchanged. Is this existing double-yellow all the way? – if not then it should be.

Please help us, yourself and other cyclists, as follows…

a. Most important – submit your own comments to the consultation. Say why this route is important to you, as well as giving your comments. Email no later than 27 August. Same address for questions/clarifications.
b. If possible attend the exhibition, and discuss your points with the officials. Cameron Toll Shopping Centre, Sat 15 Aug, 10-4, and Sun 16 Aug 12-4.
c. If you have comments on our initial thoughts above, or if we’ve missed anything, please let us know.
d. If you know anyone who travels to the NRIE or uses Old Dalkeith Road by bike, please tell them about this.

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