New measures to raise tram line awareness at Haymarket Junction
The Council is to take steps to address the concerns raised by cyclists about a junction in the Haymarket area. The area was returned to public use on 12th October and since then cyclists have reported a number of falls.
A cycle lane has been designed and is in place next to Haymarket station and adjacent to the taxi rank. The facility has been designed to redirect bikes away from the track so they can cross at an appropriate angle when rejoining the road.
However, it has been reported that the number of taxis using the marked rank area has exceeded the three spaces allocated. This has led to queued taxis extending back into the designated cycle lane and blocking access for bikes. This means cyclists are taking the wrong line over tram tracks which can increase the risk of slipping and falling.
It has been observed that this dedicated cycle area is not being used by the majority of cyclists passing westbound through the junction. The Council has taken steps to raise awareness of the cycle lane and will continue to monitor the situation.
Transport Convener Lesley Hinds said:
“We’ve been monitoring the area closely since it came back into public use and listening to the concerns of cyclists and taxi drivers. It’s clear that we need to make some changes in the short term that will improve the situation for cyclists who pass through the area.
“The most important message for cyclists is to cross the tracks as close to a right angle as possible and to take extra care avoid getting wheels caught in between the rail grooves. Our new measures will help cyclists to get into the right position by using the designated lane to cross tracks. It’s encouraging that cyclists have come to us with their ideas and we’ll be looking further at the suggestion to improve road markings in a way that guides them safely over tracks as they pass through the area.
“We also want to make more provision for taxis so they can operate effectively in the Haymarket area. It’s important that everyone gets ready for the trams and now that the city centre is clear of tram works we’re keen to take on the views of road users about how they feel the new arrangements on the road are working and we’ll make changes where appropriate.”
The following measures have been recommended to address the concerns:
• Council to actively enforce the use of the taxi rank area to reduce the incidence of overspill of taxis.
• Council to prepare a report to the Regulatory Committee for the management of taxis in the vicinity of Haymarket Station. This could include options to extend taxi facilities in close proximity to the station and sign these appropriately.
• Additional temporary signage to be installed advising taxis of the limits for ranking
• Reinforcing the existing signage advising cyclists to approach tram tracks with caution and additional signage directing cyclists towards the cycle route.
• A road safety audit process is underway and nearing completion and further measures may result.
• Council tram team to continue to promote the cyclist/tram track interaction messages.
Signs have already been put in place this week and enforcement action is being used to keep the cycle lane clear. A report into taxi rank facilities are being prepared and road surface options will be reviewed over the coming days.
A guide to safely crossing tram tracks is available on the Council’s website. This also includes information for drivers and pedestrians.
The tram project remains in line with the revised budget (£776m) approved by the Council in September 2011, with work either ahead of schedule or in line with the revised timescale reported in December 2011. A passenger service is scheduled for operation in May 2014.