Princes Street has re-opened to traffic, so this is the first street in the city where you will encounter tram lines.
Cycling on and around tram tracks can take some getting used to, needing special techniques to avoid getting your wheel stuck in the grooves. Although this is tricky, with the potential to fall off if you get your wheel stuck, there are high levels of cycling alongside trams in cities such as Amsterdam, San Francisco and Munich.
With Princes Street already open and more tracks being rolled out over the next year, tram tracks will be a permanent feature in Edinburgh from now on, so the Bike Station and TIE are holding a training event on Princes Street for any cyclist to come and try cycling around tram tracks in relative safety and under the expert tutelage of qualified cycle trainers. You will be able to cycle in a coned-off, traffic-free part of Princes Street as well as in the traffic, which should be quieter on a Sunday.
Date: Sunday 13th December
Time: 11am – 2pm
Location: come to Castle Street
Spokes hopes to take the opportunity of the tryout/training session to ask participants for their views on the present and future of Princes Street.
FUTURE OF PRINCES STREET
To maybe clear up a bit of confusion, there are several stages ahead – and there is always scope for the following to change too!!
a. Immediate – Since Princes St opened, several problems have become apparent, and at least a couple of cyclists have already slipped on the tramlines. The council is looking into urgent remedial measures, and this tryout is another initiative to help cyclists. Also, you can enter any practical suggestions in our survey sheet above at the tryout. And/or you can email suggestions for early practical action to firstname.lastname@example.org.
b. 2010 – In 2010 the Traffic Regulation Orders for when the tram is running will open for objections [probably Feb/March]. The tram Traffic Regulation Orders are already online, but at objection time there will be exhibitions, and further info. They cover traffic and parking restrictions, what turns are allowed where, etc. We can use these to fight for such as bike exemptions to the left-turn bans at the foot of the Mound, Lothian Road and Dalry Road. Some of them may come into effect soon after; others not until trams are operational (2012).
c. 2012 and beyond – There may be major changes to Princes Street and the central area once trams are running. A consultation on this is expected early in 2010. Options in the consultation are likely to include…
(i) a European-style 2-way cycleroute in Princes St on one side of the trams, with no buses in Princes St;
(ii) As (i), but with buses allowed one-way and with one-way buses the other way in George Street;
(iii) Princes St staying just like it is now; no cycle facilities;
(iv) As (iii) but a cycle route (most likely cycle lanes) in George St, alongside some buses and cars;
(v) Some other options are likely too.
Spokes continues to lobby to try and make tram/bike integration as safe and successful as possible, although it is sometimes far from easy. A major achievement is that Edinburgh will be the UK’s first tram system to try out bike carriage on regular services. Many minor improvements to the onroad conditions have been agreed, many others remain under discussion, and some arguments have been lost (such as the central island in Princes Street, using valuable space which should have been used to give bikes more width on the carriageway). The pressure on councillors from many individual Spokes members and others played a big part in TIE commissioning the TPi report which has come up with many practical suggestions to improve cycling conditions across the tram system.