September 2017

No-way and 1-way problems top our Low-Cost competition

30.9.17 Latest: Transport Cttee motion by Cllr Chas Booth asking for competition entries to be followed up by the Council Localities.  See item 9.1 in the agenda and item 23 here in the approved minutes of the 5.10.17 Committee.
28.2.19 Committee report on action by the Localities – see appendix to the 28.2.19 Business Bulletin.

Poorly-designed entry points to cycle routes, and 1-way streets which ban 2-way cycling, dominated the prizewinners in our summer competition seeking low cost ways to boost cycle use…

Obstructions and irritations which could be resolved at low cost clearly affect many people – there were 57 entries to our summer competition, far outstripping the usual 35-40 entries to our previous competitions.

First prize went to Goff Cantley, one of two entrants who highlighted the kerb, steps and bollard which make entry to Holyrood Park from Dumbiedykes a struggle for people with bikes, pushchairs or, even more so, wheelchairs.  And the nearby cycleroute down from St Leonards Hill (adjacent to the new Skelf Pump Track) ends in a kerb and a car-parking space!!

Holyrood Park stepped entry from Dumbiedykes

Goff says the entry point is “a small but formidable barrier to all wheeled users, be they buggy-pushers, wheelchair users or cyclists … this could be so much more user friendly.”

Other frustrating entry points, some again featuring kerbs and/or car-space obstructions, included…

  • Rutland Square towards the Exchange, nominated by two entrants including second prize winner, Judith Stark
  • Charlotte Square to Randolph Lane (which should be cured by the West-East cycleroute)
  • Spottiswoode Street to the Bruntsfield Links path, with a communal rubbish bin blocking the (kerbed!) path entry point

Spottiswoode Street entry to Links path – not quite banned, but certainly binned

  • and an ancient chicane relic on the East Lothian coastal route (see Spokes East Lothian map) near Prestonpans, to which third prize-winner Shane Voss would like to take an angle grinder!

East Lothian coastal path historic sticking point


The government’s Cycling By Design technical advice [4.2.2, 4.2.1] states, “There should be a presumption in favour of cyclists being made exempt from all one-way street restrictions.”  Contra-flow cycling can be enabled in various ways, depending on local circumstances – for example, a special lane, or purely by signing, or by a one-way car ‘plug’ at one end of the road.

Three prizewinners nominated one-way streets where 2-way cycling is badly needed to avoid inconvenient and/or less safe alternatives…

  • Lammermuir Crescent in Dunbar, a quiet residential road which is an important walking/cycling route to the secondary school and a primary school, 1-way for historical reasons which are no longer valid, and resulting in illegal contra-flow cycling.
  • Salisbury Road in Newington would have several design problems, including linking into the road system at the east end, and car parking issues, but would help large numbers of people and needs tackled.
  • Canning Street would give many West End commuters a relatively quiet way home rather than facing the West Approach Road or the Torphichen triangle.   Fortunately this is to be tackled, as a connection to the West-East route, but not till 2019 at the very earliest.

Prizewinners also came up with several innovative ideas, including…

  • Moving from Primary to Secondary school often brings a fall in cycle use, and ideas to tackle this were suggested by a parent
  • The ultra-wide relatively boring section of Seafield Promenade could be made more interesting – and a destination for families – with painted fun features to develop cycling skills
  • Waverley Station bike parking could be shifted around to cover both ends of the station (though there may be temporary problems with major works just starting, to install additional platforms)
  • More systematic approaches to identifying quick fixes, such as this competition seeks, to improve cycling conditions.   We do have some concern that this might detract from staff time on major projects, and so any new system should be accompanied by a clearly understood process as to how reports will be treated.

There were also some innovative ideas amongst non-winners, including…

  • Removing dead bikes from parking racks, possibly via local Community Councils
  • A Haddington cargo-bike trial as part of the ongoing Town Centre consultation [this might be able to run using the Sustrans Scotland ‘cargo bike library’ of loan machines]
  • Traffic light speed sensors  to change lights to red when a vehicle exceeds the speed limit
  • A Family Cycling Library, with equipment for child and load-carrying, as in Hackney
  • Measures to slow speeding downhill cyclists on Bruntsfield Links
  • A female cycle-commuting buddy scheme.

See the full set of entries here [pdf, 7.2MB] – anonymised except for the top entries, and with prize-winners first and runners-up second (runners-up get a consolation prize of one Spokes map).


Many thanks to you if you entered, even if you didn’t win this time.  Thanks also to the organisers and to Chris Brace our expert advisor to the Resources Group judging panel.  Chris works for Sustrans Scotland and was a long-serving cycle officer at Edinburgh City Council.  Another judge was Martin McDonnell from our Planning Group, who are considering setting up a standing list of significant ‘low-cost fix’ problems and giving thought to how these can be prioritised so that Council cycling staff are not unecessarily diverted from major cycling projects.

  • We will be submitting the prizewinning entries to the relevant local council or other body and requesting feedback.  Edinburgh’s Transport Convener, Cllr Macinnes, has already agreed to look at implementation feasibility of prizewinning entries.  We do not intend to ask for feedback on other entries as we don’t wish to keep cycle project staff unecessarily away from major projects.
  • However, if you have suggestions for important low cost ‘quick fixes’ you can submit them by emailing or your local councillor.  Please give full details and why it is important.
  • See the results of our many previous exciting, amusing and/or interesting competitions here.
  • If you’ve a great idea for next year’s competition, let us know!  A topic that is useful to other people and which lots of people are able to participate in would be ideal.
  • Please retweet our tweet about this article.

Despite the stereotype of cycling as predominantly male we were delighted that both entrants and prizewinners/runner-ups were almost exactly gender-balanced, indeed with females one ahead on both.

As expected most location-based ideas were for Edinburgh, but there were also 6 in East Lothian (of which 3 were prize-winners!) and 2 each in Midlothian and West Lothian.

Three ideas were mentioned by two people, all of them entry points to cycleroutes…

  • Dumbiedykes entry to Holyrood Park (includes first prize)-winner
  • Rutland Square entry to offroad route through the ‘Exchange’
  • Charlotte Square/ Randolph Lane NCN1 connection

The entries have been categorized as in the table below.  Numbers add to more than 57 since some entries were categorized in more than one way.

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