From Fortress Waverley to Welcoming Waverley! Spokes congratulates Network Rail on its change of heart, to allow cycle access from Waverley Bridge, thus also removing pushed-bikes from the congested pedestrian footway…
Little more than a year ago, Network Rail banned cycling on the ramps into the station, forcing walkers and dismounted cyclists to share the narrow footway, along with pushchairs and luggage of all sizes and types.
Now a cycle lane will be installed on the north ramp – and pedestrians will no longer be jostling along with bikes, panniers, etc.
‘Fortress Waverley’ brought about a heavy and continuing flow of complaints to Network Rail [who were responsible], to ScotRail [who were not responsible], to MSPs, MPs and Councillors – our article on Fortress Waverley includes some typical quotes from affected members of the public. The story even reached the UK Parliament [see 2.23pm-> here] and the UK media [Guardian article]. Our tweets were passed on many times.
Amongst the many people who deserve special thanks for the decision are…
- Jim Eadie as a local MSP and chair of the Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee
- Sarah Boyack as a local MSP and Spokes member
- Alison Johnstone as a local MSP and Spokes member
- Mark Lazarowicz as (former) MP for Edinburgh North & Leith
- Cllr Lesley Hinds as Edinburgh Council Transport Convener
- Ewan Jeffrey our Spokes Bike/Rail contact person
- Transform Scotland with its Interchange Project
- The ScotRail Alliance the new link-up between ScotRail and Network Rail, which brings the Abellio cycle-friendly approach into Network Rail’s consciousness
- You! – if you lobbied politicians about this matter
It is worth saying that all the politicians listed above made considerable efforts on this matter – not just emailing Network Rail, but speaking in Parliaments or the Council, visiting the site with officials, and so on. They did this because many constituents were contacting them – thank you if you were one of them! Of course, other politicians certainly helped too, but those above deserve special mention. Spokes and Transform volunteers, too, spent significant time on this campaign.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
The Network Rail news release says the new arrangements will be in place by early October. We should add that Spokes has not seen the detailed plans and nor do we think has Sustrans, and therefore we cannot vouch for the detail or whether there are any obvious potential teething problems.
Beyond that Abellio has promised [within 3 years, but maybe much sooner] a staffed Waverley ‘CyclePoint’ providing bike repair, bike hire, supervised bike storage and local cycling information.
Edinburgh Council is also planning a segregated cycle route connecting from Leith Walk to Waverley’s Calton Road entrance (where the CyclePoint may perhaps be located).
Further on … our dream is the reinstatement of a cycle/pedestrian bridge from Calton Road to the Old Town, enabling many cycle and walking trips to avoid The Bridges and Waterloo Place. A campaign to Re-Bridge the Gap was started in 2009, but got nowhere. With Edinburgh stepping up its efforts on walking and cycling, and with a segregated connection planned from Leith Walk to Calton Road, now seems a perfect time to revive the idea! Obviously it would be very costly, but it could well be the sort of prestigious and historic project to attract major outside funding, such as from the Lottery and/or special Sustrans grants – indeed Sustrans has inspired several major innovative bridge schemes such as the Millennium cycle/pedestrian Tyne bridge in Newcastle.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- To raise any points about routes to Waverley or other Edinburgh stations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local councillors. If you want to follow-up bridge idea, councillors are probably your best bet initially.
- For any wider bike/rail issue, contact your MSPs and/or if you think it affects many people ask Spokes to raise it at the ScotRail bike forum [though we cannot promise to raise every issue]