Dear City of Edinburgh Council, As a user of the City of Edinburgh road systems, as a pedestrian, as someone who rides a bike and as someone who regularly drives within the city limits, I am impressed with the CECs stated intent to increase the the amount of trips made by bike to 10% of all trips by 2020. It is a shame then that experimental traffic orders ETRO/14/38B and/or ETRO/14/38A are being proposed which aim to reduce and phase out the use of bus and cycle lanes in some areas of the the city, with 22kms of busy roads being affected.
I am deeply UNIMPRESSED with this.
Did you know about these plans? No – I didn’t think so.
” I write to record my formal objection to the experimental proposals put forward in ETRO/14/38B and/or ETRO/14/38A, and to request that these experiments in peoples road safety are abandoned before it is too late.I am gravely concerned about these proposals for a number of reasons, political, practical and subjective which I am outlining in brief, as follows:-1. A total of 22km of all-day bus lanes will be affected – and it appears that little or no thought has been given to the impact on pedestrians and cyclists. Bus lanes are not just bus lanes – they are bus and cycle lanes and form an important buffer between heavy vehicular traffic (such as lorries) and pedestrians. 2. It is contrary to CEC’s own policies. The Council is succeeding in the excellent policies of its Local Transport Strategy [LTS] – to increase walking, cycling and public transport use, whilst reducing car use. In the current LTS, Policy PubTrans1 says the Council wishes to give buses priority over other motorised traffic. Policy PubTrans7 says the Council will where possible enhance the bus lane network. Now they are proposing something that is contrary to their own policies and putting the hard-won Edinburgh bus/cycle lanes at risk. This proposal will reduce CEC’s ability to move towards a publicly proclaimed target of 10% of all trips by bike by 2020. 3.This will greatly increase the chances of an accident and actual bodily harm to people using bikes and to pedestrians near the kerb.
3A Impact on people using bikes. The CEC’s own LTS begins its Cycling section [9.2] by saying, “The attractiveness of cycling is dependent on the degree to which the road network is dominated by moving or parked motor vehicles.” Until we have segregated cycle facilities on arterial roads, bus lanes provide a wide area of roadspace in which this “domination by moving or parked vehicles” is significantly reduced. Off-peak lanes are really important when using a bike for shopping, school travel, and a multitude of other offpeak journey types. Many of these trips are by the less confident cyclist, who is understandably deterred by the constant presence of cars and lorries but can just about cope with the occasional well-trained Lothian Buses driver. A council with a target of 10% of all trips by bike in 2020 (not just commuting trips) should not be removing this facility – or, at least, not until segregated cycling provision is mad.The Council also proposes to allow motorcycles in bus lanes (at all times). This is likely to reduce the attractiveness of bus lanes for cycling, thus cutting use, contrary to the council’s own policies and targets.
3B Impact on pedestrians – particularly children. The CEC’s own LTS begins its walking section with policy Walk1, “The Council will seek opportunities to improve pedestrian facilities…”The downgrade of bus lanes does not appear to directly downgrade pedestrian facilities, yet that is exactly what this proposal will do for 22 kilometres of footway along Edinburgh arterial roads. Instead of being separated from the footway by the bus lane, lorries and cars will be right next to it throughout the off-peak day and all day Saturday. This means increased pollution, noise, splashing, scariness and, on occasions, danger. Finally, the council’s plan to abolish off-peak bus lanes will particularly hit school children walking home as well as families out walking to the shops or the park on Saturdays.
4. It increases pollution risk – Edinburgh City Council faces increasing problems over toxic traffic pollution, with several roads now exceeding EU safe limits and estimates by Health Protection Scotland of 200 premature deaths a year as a result. Toxic pollution (like noise pollution) declines rapidly with distance, so bus lanes are likely to reduce the pollutants breathed in by walkers and, to a lesser extent, cyclists using the bus lanes. Allowing lorries and cars into bus lanes just when children are most likely to be using the footway is a very retrograde decision.5. Lastly, but importantly, The Council is implementing these proposals without prior public consultation. Of course, people can object to the Traffic Regulation Orders but few people actually know about them. In contrast, the Council did consult in advance in affected parts of the city over the 20mph plans, Leith Walk plans, the Quality Bike Corridor, the City Centre, School Streets, and so on. There appears to be an attempt to slip this set of ETRO’s in under the radar. The public should be properly informed and a proper consultation put in place before orders of this nature should be made.As someone who has children, is a resident, a citizen, a regular pedestrian, bike user and a regular car driver in the city of Edinburgh I consider these steps to be retrograde and dangerous experiments which will result in our road systems becoming more dangerous as a result. Please therefore formally record my objection to ETRO/14/38B and/or ETRO/14/38A, and give due consideration to cancelling them before it is too late.”