November 2009

Old Dalkeith Road – plans changed!

Despite the extensive work that has gone into developing these proposals, councillors have decided on a major last-minute change.  However, it is possible that the eventual net outcome will be beneficial to cycling conditions, for the reasons below.

Our Oct 20 news item covers the Old Dalkeith Road story so far.  However, councillors have now decided that the segregated bus/cycle citybound section is not cost-effective, and will be removed from the plans.   Spokes has contacted the council, and we are assured that the rest of the proposals will remain largely as currently proposed.   It is hoped to issue revised plans for consultation in December and to implement the scheme in summer 2010.  This raises several issues…


This is a further opportunity for the council to re-think the remaining main problems – namely the main-road car parking in the area of Toyota Garage (which has its own offstreet parking), Cameron Toll Gardens (which has side-road parking space), and just after the recycling centre and close to a central island (is there space on the recycling depot access road?)


a. The bus lane is now to be a weekday peak period lane i.e. 7:30am – 9:30am & 4:00pm – 6:30pm; Mon – Fri, rather than 24/7 as previously proposed.  This is a big disappointment.

b. Presumably the bus lane will now continue onroad all the way to Cameron Toll Roundabout, given the scrapping of the segregated section.  Obviously no plans have yet been prepared for this section.

c. Regarding (a) and (b) the width of the bus lane will be very important.  There needs to be space for buses and bikes to overtake each other within the lane – this also means that if (unfortunately) car parking is allowed in the bus lane, cyclists will still be able to stay inside the lane.   In general, we would like to see the traffic lane(s) at the minimum necessary width, leaving the remainder of the carriageway width for the bus lane to be as wide as possible.

d. On approaching Cameron Toll roundabout more width should now be available (given the scrapping of the segregated bus lane).   Therefore, for straight-ahead cyclists a prominent lead-in lane should be provided at the left hand side of the straight-ahead traffic lane.

e. Roundabouts are difficult and dangerous for cyclists, and this is a large one taking a lot of traffic.   The council should consider ‘advance cycle traffic lights’ which give cyclists a few seconds to get started city-bound before the main traffic lights turn green.  Such advance lights are common in European cycle-friendly towns.


The scrapping of the segregated bus lane means a large financial saving within the traffic budget.   We understand that some of this may be allocated to other cycle schemes within south-east or south Edinburgh.  If you have ideas, please email your local councillors and copy to Spokes.  Ideas most likely to be accepted will be…
– new schemes, not maintenance
– schemes which encourage/cater for as many cyclists as possible.
For example, onroad coloured lanes/advance stop lines have a better chance than lengthy offroad proposals, although shortish useful offroad cut-throughs/links might work.   Bike parking/access in local shopping or other community areas are other examples.  The council will also be considering cost-effective schemes to benefit pedestrians and/or bus users with some of this money.

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