LETTERS: Cycle route must not be at expense of pedestrians

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The controversy over the Roseburn end of the council’s planned cross-city bike path has rather drawn the focus away from its east end where, as part of the same route, there is a proposal to install a two-way segregated cycleway on what is probably Edinburgh’s busiest footway on the north side of Princes Street between South St David Street and Leith Street.

As someone who regularly bikes around Edinburgh, I am generally supportive of making things better for cyclists, particularly where this improves the street environment in general and reduces the negative effects of motorised traffic.

However, while I see the potential need for cycle facilities between St Andrew Square and the top of Leith Street, the space for these must be taken from private motor vehicles and taxis, not from pedestrians.

The walking environment on Princes Street is already poor in comparison to the main shopping streets of Edinburgh’s competitor cities, with excessively long crossing times, uneven surfaces, low quality materials, unfinished tram works and badly dropped kerbs.

The last thing it needs is a segregated cycleway taking further space from people on foot and causing significant conflicts at pinchpoints that are already operating well above their comfortable capacity for pedestrians, as well as at some of the city’s busiest bus stops.

I hope, therefore, that the council will withdraw this ill thought-out proposal and that future plans for cycle facilities on Princes Street will be put forward in the context of an integrated strategy for transport and traffic that has improved facilities for pedestrians – the street’s economic lifeblood - at its heart.

Tom Rye, Hazelbank Terrace, Edinburgh

Oil price warnings are not scaremongering

The latest devastating news of 150 oil rigs shutting down in the North Sea is frightening, not just for jobs but also for future revenues for Scotland.

The cuts to spending, tax increases and borrowing increases that would face an independent Scotland right now would make the Celtic Tiger collapse in Ireland look like a minor setback.

SNP politicians need to stop blaming others about austerity and start accepting that their economic case has been blown apart by world events influencing the oil price.

Perhaps, just perhaps, they won’t cry ‘scaremongering’ the next time someone questions their financial predictions.

Michelle Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh

So when is an expat not an immigrant?

It has always intrigued me as to why those white Brits working outside the UK are ‘expats’ but those non-whites working in the UK are classed as ‘immigrants’.

The word ‘expat’, of course, has softer connotations than ‘immigrant’, with all the associated baggage the latter seems to bring.

An ‘expat’ is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. Given this, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country.

This is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

Top African professionals going to work in Europe are not considered expats, in spite of how qualified they are. They are immigrants.

Instead of calling those Brits living on the Costa Del Sol ‘expats’, let’s end this outdated practice by calling them ‘immigrants’ and watch the reaction.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Secularists are the new Trotskyists

I AM pleased to see atheists have failed in their bid to remove bishops from the House Of Lords (see Neil Barber’s letter, News, February 4).

My own suspicion is that many of these tiny, secular campaigning groups have been taken over by shrill atheists who are not simply secularists at all, rather in the way that Trotsykist entryists tried to take over local Labour party branches in the 1980s.

The noisy secularists claim only to want to separate church from state. However, many suspect that they have an outright anti-Christian agenda and it was notable that when the C of E were banned from advertising in cinemas recently, the secular -humanist lobby was in support of the ban.

After all, the secular-humanists don’t want those nasty Christians having freedom to try to attract new members, do they? Mr Barber, I recall, was all in favour of references to God being removed from Scout and Guide oaths.

Gus Logan, York Road, North Berwick

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