June 2017

Double deputation!! .. Tramlines/CityCentre + Sheriffhall

On June 29 morning, Spokes was making 2 deputations – one at Edinburgh Council (on tramlines and city centre issues) and one at the Scottish Parliament (on Sheriffhall roundabout and wider trunk road/cycling issues).  Watch both here…

Martin McDonnell presents the Spokes deputation. Click to watch [go to timeline 1:00:00]


At Edinburgh Council we were giving ‘constructively critical’ support to a Council motion, developed by the SNP, Labour and Green parties.  The motion followed the recent tragic death of Edinburgh University medical student Zhi Min Soh, in which it is suspected that tramlines were implicated.  The motion promises improved conditions for cycling and walking at the West End junction, along the onstreet tramlines in general and, more widely, in the city centre as a whole.

Whilst very pleased to see this cross-party motion, which was passed unanimously after minor amendments at the meeting, to ensure consultation with other road users, our deputation emphasised several areas where the Council needs to go further, including…

  • a bigger effort to install segregated cycleroutes on main roads
  • the action plan “to improve the public realm in the city centre” must include substantial reduction in motor traffic
  • it should also include a segregated cycleroute on the north side of Princes Street [this would not feasible on the south side, due to the Mound pinch point].

The motion is item 9.1 in the meeting agenda.  The minor amendments are in this tweet.   The full text of our deputation speech is here.  To watch, click the picture above and go to 1:00:00 on the timeline.

  • Contact your councillors about any cycling issues that concern you, particularly in your local area.  Find Edinburgh coucillors here and all politicians here.  It is really important that all councillors (not just the Transport Convener) appreciate that they have many constituents who want better cycling conditions.  Incidentally, it is best each time you write only to raise one or two issues that most concern you, not a whole list
  • If you feel strongly about some of the issues in the above motion, or our deputation, ask your councillors about that – or ask if you can meet them at their surgery to discuss.
  • Retweet our tweet about this article.


At the Scottish Parliament, Spokes was supporting Michaela Jackson of Gorebridge Community Development Trust, at the Petitions Committee.  The petition was prompted by the Scottish Government choice of Option B – the worst for cycling and walking – for the rebuild of Sheriffhall roundabout, and asks for active travel provision to be incorporated into all new major infrastructure projects, particularly on commuter routes.

David French, Michaela Jackson, Dave du Feu at the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee. Click to watch [go to timeline 1:04:15].

The petition was introduced by Michaela, who pointed out that inadequate cycling and walking provision, together with encouraging more car use, is wholly contrary to the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland which aims for 10% of all trips to be by bike in 2020 and, even more importantly, is seriously detrimental to Scotland’s ambitions to reduce climate emissions.  Michaela’s notes.

Dave du Feu from Spokes then explained how the Option B choice, which effectively rules out a direct pedestrian/cycle bridge, is out of kilter with recommendations and policies from SEStran, Sustrans, the government’s own Trunk Road Cycling Initiative, and more.  Dave’s notes.

David French from Spokes then outlined the problems of the roundabout from the user perspective, and how the government’s proposals fail to make it any more attractive to the person travelling on foot or by bike.   David’s notes.

There then followed a lengthy Q/A session and an initial short discussion by the Committee as to what follow-up letters should be sent by the Committee to which organisations.

A transcript of the entire session is here [Click New Petitions then Active Travel] and you can watch the session by clicking the above picture and going to 1:04:15 on the timeline.


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