Call for Edinburgh's latest traffic measures to be delayed amid concerns over wintry weather
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Jason Rust, Tory councillor for Colinton/Fairmilhehead, has formally requested a delay in implementation of new cycle lanes and other changes on Lanark Road, scheduled to start on Monday.
He said problems with clearing snow from temporary cycle lanes on Comiston Road last week had sparked concerns about similar issues arising as part of the latest roll-out of Spaces for People measures.
The lanes on Comiston Road went uncleared for several days, forcing cyclists to use the main carriageway rather than risk icy surfaces.
Cllr Rust claimed going ahead with the new measures would increase the risk of accidents and called for the plans to be put on hold until the weather improves.
In a letter to transport convener Lesley Macinnes, he said: "The recent snowy and icy conditions in Edinburgh have highlighted safety issues with the implementation of the Spaces for People Scheme on Comiston Road as the council has been unable to keep the cycle lane clear of snow and ice.
“As the width of the road for motorised vehicles is less than it was prior to the introduction of Spaces for People scheme, this places cyclists who choose not to use the cycle lane at greater risk of being involved in an accident and seriously injured or killed.”
He said it appeared that the gritting lorries clearing the carriageway and the mini-tractors clearing the pavements both pushed snow into the cycle lanes.
He added that the hill at Lanark Road meant cyclists could reach 30mph.
He said: “One can envisage what potentially would happen if a cyclist going at this sort of speed, hits an icy patch on the segregated cycle lane."
Fellow Tory Susan Webber, who represents Pentland Hills, said she had taken part in a zoom call with concerned residents earlier this week and backed the call for postponement of the Lanark Road scheme.
She said many roads in the area had not been gritted.
“If we can't make it safe for people to walk around, we shouldn’t be having money spent creating more challenges for winter maintenance,” said Cllr Webber, “I just think it's reckless.”
The council said it would not delay the scheme, pointing out parked cars currently meant cyclists had to use the same carriageway as other traffic all the time. Lines for the scheme will be painted next week and bollards will be installed in early February.
Cllr Macinnes said: “Attempts to link the development of safe cycle routes on Lanark Road under Spaces for People to our winter weather response on an entirely different road is not helpful. Both efforts are of great importance to this city.
"We are still committed to continuing to roll out our Spaces for People measures as soon as possible and the recent need to increase restrictions has demonstrated that it’s more important than ever that we provide routes for people to make essential journeys, or take daily exercise, on foot, bike or wheelchair while physically distancing.
“We’ve been doing everything we can to tackle snow and ice over recent weeks and our roads services teams have been working around the clock to treat priority pavements, cycle paths and roads.”