Note – This article was substantially updated on 26.2.10. New update in March 10 news item.
Consultation is now underway on the Traffic Regulation Orders for traffic restrictions to allow the tram to run.
The TROs cover banned turns, parking restrictions, etc. For example, they say that cyclists must dismount to turn left from the foot of the Mound, from Lothian Road and from Dalry Road. Note that the council intends to experiment with a ‘bypass’ of the banned turn. You could object to the ban, but say you would withdraw the objection if and when a well-designed bypass is provided.
They include a Constitution Street no-entry – we do accept there is a rails danger there for many types of bike, but the Council should be providing an alternative via Kirkgate rather than forcing cyclists into a right-turn and cobbles at Henderson Street, so you could object but say you would withdraw if such as an alternative is provided.
There are probably many more examples of cyclist problems in the TROs. We may put more detail in an early-March edition of Spokesworker, so if you have thoughts please send them to us soon.
For more details and how to object to the Orders see the Council trams TRO webpage. On that page you’ll find a link to a summary leaflet of the tram TRO drawings and also a link to the full tram TRO drawings – which are pretty massive (a 40MB file) but do contain a great deal more detail. If there’s too much to look at, concentrate on the places you use most. The final date for objections is 20 March.
If you send in an objection please copy to Spokes asap so we can consider including your points in the Spokes objection.
Note that the council intends to provide signed and improved cyclist alternative routes to some of tram routes. These should be very helpful for some cyclists, and for some journeys – but they won’t suit everybody, and for many journeys the main road used by the tram will still be by far the most direct and convenient. Therefore it is vital on these roads to retain conditions which are as safe and welcoming as possible for cyclists – and that means making sure the TROs are as cycle-friendly as possible.
Your best bet by far is the staffed exhibition (with experts) at City Chambers, High Street, Feb 22-Mar 20, 11am-3pm Mon-Sat [open till 7pm Thurs]. You can also pick up a printed copy of the above summary drawings leaflet there. But just going to the exhibition and talking is not enough. If there’s something you don’t like, you should object.
The plans should also be available for inspection (but no one to talk to) at these libraries €“ Central, Portobello, Leith, W Hailes, Blackhall, McDonald Rd.
FURTHER POINTS [It’s not essential read this!]
1. More tram/bike info [not TRO stuff] – remember our tram/bike website page in downloads – public transport above.
2. Detailed TRO background in ordinary English language – ‘Statement of Case for Traffic Regulation Orders‘ a 75-page document which includes a cycling section (6.7), TRO timescale discussion (chapter 7) and comment on all the lengths of the tram route – cycling referred to in most of those sections (appendix 2).
3. The actual Traffic Regulation Order schedules – these are in two documents – moving traffic schedules [i.e. prohibitions on turns, entries, etc] and stationary schedules [i.e. parking restrictions].
4. TRO timescale/procedures Some unusual procedures are being used. Instead of these TROs (TRO1) being modified in the light of objections, it is intended that they will be passed exactly as they are, in July, so that the legal position for trams to run is in place. Then a second set of TROs (TRO2) will be drafted, based on the comments and objections lodged during the current objection period. Finally, a third set (TRO3) may be drawn up if further changes are considered useful based on early experience of tram running. If you really want more on this see the Committee Report on the Tram TRO timescale [pdf 526k] – and it’s also explained in chapter 7 of the 75-page document in (2) above.
5. What do the TROs mean in practice? – this is a hard question to answer [if we discover faults in the comments below we will correct this] – because certainly there are examples where road layouts don’t correspond to what the current TROs say. For example, as we understand it cyclists are allowed by the TRO which is currently in force to turn left from Dalry Rd at Haymarket – but the road layout and signage effectively prevents this. The council has known about this for many years, but done nothing about it. Similarly, the road layout at the foot of the Mound has recently been changed to prevent left turns, although the new TRO banning left turns won’t be passed till July at the earliest. Maybe the council has some legal flexibility, as obviously installing a facility on the exact date a TRO is passed could sometimes be tricky! Maybe there’s also some relaxation for experimental schemes.
However, the long-term on-the-ground position is very likely to be as in the finally approved TROs, so it is vital that they are good for cyclists. After all, the main ruling party on the Council is the Lib Dems, whose City election manifesto promised ‘A model cycle-friendly city‘ [Spokes Bulletin 98]. And they have signed up to the Charter of Brussels with its target for 15% of all trips to be by bike by 2020. If you are very unhappy with any of the above, you can always contact your councillors.