Public feedback informs Roseburn to Leith Walk cycleway plans

In response to public feedback, some changes are proposed for parts of a planned family-friendly cycleway between Roseburn and Leith Walk, ahead of a decision on the route by councillors in August.

The Council carried out a major public consultation exercise on the proposed Roseburn to Leith Walk Cycle Route and Street Improvements project from November 2015 to February 2016, which drew more than 2,500 responses.

The results of this consultation have now been published on the Council's website.

The consultation found high overall levels of support, with 67% of respondents in favour of the proposals, which are intended to provide a west to east link across the city centre as part of Edinburgh's 'QuietRoutes' network. Completing this link is a priority of the Council's Active Travel Action Plan.

However, a number of concerns were also expressed about specific elements of the scheme, particularly around the west end of the route in the Roseburn, West Coates and Haymarket areas.

Concerns were chiefly about impacts on congestion, bus services and local businesses, as well as the proposal to relocate the Haymarket Station taxi rank and the potential for pedestrian/cyclist congestion at bus stops.

Responding to these concerns and other feedback, the Council's in-house project officers have revisited a number of aspects of the proposals.

For example, off-peak loading could now be reintroduced to the north side of Roseburn Terrace to assist local businesses (previously it was proposed to remove the current loading bay altogether) and all three bus stops in West Coates would be retained, rather than one being removed.

An alternative cycle route at the Roseburn end of the cycleway has also been scoped out and will be put before committee members. This 'Option B' amendment would see cyclists diverted away from Roseburn Terrace via Roseburn Place and Roseburn Street, instead of the protected cycle track along the north side of Roseburn Terrace which features in the current proposals (Option A).

Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: "We had an overwhelming response to the consultation and the exercise has been extremely helpful to officers working on the proposed Roseburn to Leith Walk cycleway and street improvements. 

"Thanks to the feedback received, we've been able to make deliverable adjustments to a number of aspects of the scheme. In terms of the Roseburn section, local concerns have prompted us to present an alternative route (Option B) via Roseburn Place and Roseburn Street for consideration by committee members. However, we remain in favour of Option A because it will enhance the street environment in Roseburn Terrace and is more direct for cyclists - involving one road crossing rather than the three that would be required for Option B.

"After further planned consultation with businesses, community councils and the Council's Active Travel Forum, the project team will consolidate feedback and finalise the preliminary design scheme for presentation to the Transport and Environment Committee on 30 August 2016."

The main components of the Roseburn to Leith Walk cycle route and street improvements project are:

•     Protected cycle tracks, separated from traffic, for most of the route length. These will allow people from a large part of north and west Edinburgh to reach the city centre on a bike without mixing with heavy traffic
•    Several new pedestrian crossings, including on Roseburn Terrace at Roseburn Street
•    ‘Continuous footway’ pedestrian crossings of most side roads on the route, giving pedestrians priority over motor vehicles at these locations

The Roseburn to Leith Walk project integrates with other planned public realm improvements that will include cycling provision on Charlotte Square, George Street and St Andrew Square.
The high quality cycleway, which includes sections of protected lanes on main streets, would plug a gap in the cycle network and link to the city’s off-road paths.

Project consultants predict an increase of approximately 90% in cycle use in the corridor served by the route, amounting to a 16% increase in overall cycle use in the city if the route is delivered.

Among the comments received during the consultation process were: 

"Roseburn currently is not people-friendly and is dominated by traffic; these priorities need to change. Better cycle and pedestrian provision will encourage more use of the local shops."

"I am really pleased with this design. It is fantastic to see segregated cycle provision on Melville Street, which is an enormously wide street currently choked with car parking provision. This design will bring a lot of the beauty of the street back, with fewer cars and more provision for cyclists."

Regarding the Roseburn and Haymarket area, one respondent said: 

"Volume of traffic is bad enough already and interfering with road layouts is going to bring traffic to a standstill in an already congested area."

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