The news that just 69 people out of over 1000 surveyed have indicated they will take to their bikes if the council builds its west to east cycle track shows this scheme is a waste of money in times of big local government cuts.
The survey, at tinyurl.com/whybike, asked those who lived, worked or travelled near the route if they would take to two wheels if they track were built. It was widely promoted to groups including Spokes. Results indicate that the £6.5 million scheme will lead to a cost of £94,000 for every new cyclist.
Admittedly, there are others who will use the track who already cycle into town, but the council wants to build this to help new “less-confident” cyclists in an effort to boost cycling in the city. But there are other, far better and cheaper ways to do this. The survey showed that the top-ranked element to change behaviour was “Better access to off-road paths and fewer cycling black spots at crossings” (this was council policy until recently). Why not spend the money on that instead? Fixing the potholes would help all road users, too.
If our councillors needed convincing as to the folly of this scheme they should go onto Youtube and watch the video of the traffic jam from Friday morning, where some roadworks at Roseburn created a tailback of 250 vehicles stretching from Western Corner to Donaldson’s School. The video can be viewed at tinyurl.com/MileOfCars – it accurately reflects what the impact of the track would be for the 21,000 vehicles that use the A8 here every day.
Officers have told councillors that a real-life coning trial would be too tricky, so they created a computer model instead, which shows the track won’t create nearly as much congestion. However, they neglected to factor in the impact of more than one bus stopping at any time and Roseburn Terrace, the narrow link in the route, frequently sees several buses queuing at once. The impact will be to block the A8.
The track will also lead to the loss of 40 per cent of parking and loading for Roseburn – and Haymarket – with our local shops simply becoming unviable.
We think the council is embarking on a disaster that will throttle the city – and that few will ever use. We call on residents to persuade politicians to vote against it when they make their decision on Friday.
Pete Gregson, The Roseburn Vision Group, Riversdale Grove, Edinburgh