May 2010

Everyday cyclists want more/better onroad facilities + action in Princes St & Picardy Place

An 85-person survey at the Spokes public meeting on the Council’s forthcoming Cycling Action Plan sees more and better-maintained onroad cycle facilities and conditions as the top priority.  Top areas where cycle-friendly decisions are essential are Princes Street and Picardy Place.

On 23 March Spokes held a public meeting on the Action Plan, addressed by council Transport Convener Cllr Gordon Mackenzie, and with over 100 people in the audience.   Our questionnaire at the meeting asked for ideas to inform the Action Plan development.   The Survey Report is now available, and is included as a download in our page of documents related to the Action Plan.

Clearly the 85 respondents are not representative of all existing or potential cyclists, but they form an impressive group of people who get around the city by bike for their everyday journeys.  It is cycling as essential transport, not as sport or as a hobby.  At least 75% of respondents used their bike frequently for each of work/education, shopping, visits and leisure.  They are therefore in an excellent position to comment on the Council’s existing provision for cyclists, and how it could be improved.  Respondents lived all round the city, with a slight predominance in south-central Edinburgh.

Important messages from the survey are…

  • Top priority is more and better onroad facilities, especially cycle lanes
  • Close second is better maintained road surfaces and coloured surfacing
  • The council should also experiment with fully-segregated onroad facilities
  • Top priority corridors needing action are City Centre to Leith, and East/West across the city centre
  • Top blackspots are Picardy Place and Haymarket

These top points support many of the most critical and difficult issues on which Spokes has long been campaigning…

  • The significance of Edinburgh’s coloured onroad cycle facilities in encouraging more cycle use, and making cycling feel more comfortable – and the need to maintain and extend them [for example, see p7 of Spokes Bulletin 105].
  • The critical importance of a high quality east-west cycle route in the Princes Street – consultation on the long-term future is expected later this year.
  • The critical importance of cyclists being treated properly in the redevelopment of Picardy Place – highlighted above as the city’s worst blackspot, and central to the top corridor (city centre to Leith).  The present Picardy Place plans do not consider cyclists adequately, as the council itself now admits [Spokes Bulletin 106, p3] – and at present we are not at all confident that the eventual outcome will be properly safe and welcoming for cyclists.

It is particularly interesting that the top corridors and top blackspots are in the City Centre and Leith Walk area, even though most respondents live elsewhere in the city.  This suggests that cycle-friendly outcomes in these areas are absolutely critical if the Council is to build a ‘model cycle-friendly city’ [Lib Dem Edinburgh manifesto] and meet its Charter of Brussels target of 15% of trips by bike by 2020.

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