Cyclists and cabbies slam Haymarket tram “chaos”

Cyclist Aga Kosla, 28, from Bruntsfield, at Haymarket. Pic: Jane Barlow
Cyclist Aga Kosla, 28, from Bruntsfield, at Haymarket. Pic: Jane Barlow
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CYCLISTS and taxi drivers have hit out at continuing “chaos” along a stretch of the tram line at Haymarket.

A week after a new sign was erected outside the railway station in an effort to stop riders coming a cropper on the tram tracks the situation has been branded “crazy”.

Cabs are still queuing beyond the end of the taxi rank – which has been criticised for being far too small – and on to the road, forcing cyclists to move out across the tracks.

The small sign directing riders towards a dedicated cycle lane next to the taxi rank was put up after the Evening News highlighted a succession of accidents in which cyclists were sent crashing as they crossed the tram tracks.

The main concern with the latest arrangements is that in order to avoid the tracks cyclists are encouraged to cross the path of taxis entering and leaving the taxi rank.

When cyclists approach Haymarket on the left of traffic, they are diverted into the cycle lane which puts them on the right of the parked taxis. To exit the cycle lane and go back out on to the road they then have to cross back through the taxis on their left-hand side or face heading out sandwiched between cabs and passing 
vehicles.

Aga Kosla, 28, from Bruntsfield, cycles the route twice each day. She said: “It’s all very confusing. You have to leave the road and pull in to these lights where you find yourself between both the taxis pulling out and the cars on the road you were just on. If the lights are green it can be very dangerous to get back in to the left-hand side. It’s crazy.”

This view is echoed by cabbies who have been left to queue up to 15 deep, when there is room for just three taxis to park legally.

Such tight waiting restrictions result in those dropping off passengers blocking the cycle lane down which riders are being ushered.

Driver James Mills, of Central Taxis, said: “This whole thing might have looked like it would work up in some guy’s office but in reality it’s utter chaos.”

In April, the News revealed how campaigners had identified an inherent design flaw in the road as the narrow cycle lane forces bike wheels into the tram tracks – literally railroading wobbly riders out of their saddles.

As many as two falls were being reported a day, with several of the accidents being caught on camera.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport convener, has told how a road safety audit is now nearing completion and further measures may result.

She said: “The council is fully aware of the issues being raised by both cyclists and taxi drivers at Haymarket and we have committed to taking steps to address these concerns.

“We’re also meeting with taxi organisations soon to discuss Haymarket and will shortly be finalising and implementing proposals to help cyclists cross the tram tracks in this area. We have been listening to the comments put forward.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com