Aggressive pro-cycling policy may be slowing - John McLellan

The last council’s aggressive pro-cycling policies posed such a significant threat to Lothian Buses that the company was in the bizarre situation of putting its biggest shareholder at the top of its business risk register.

That may be about to change, with new transport convener Scott Arthur telling the Evening News that plans to prevent bus services crossing the city centre should be reconsidered.

The proposal to change the company’s cross-city routes to a hairpin pattern where they “kissed” the city centre came with an expectation it would also fund a free city centre “hopper” mini-bus service to link the routes. It meant passengers on the 23 from Morningside to Inverleith, or the 26 from Craigentinny to Murrayfield, would need three buses instead of one.

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The implications were obvious to everyone except the zealots holding sway until last month, and there will be relief at the Annandale Street depot that some sense might be returning.

Sadly, that might not extend to the controlled parking zones (CPZ) about to be broadened out to districts where there is no demand, such as Willowbrae, after a pause to push them beyond the election. Cllr Arthur sees no reason to revisit that decision, but at least appears willing to listen to advice from local councillors.

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In saying he will take CPZ plans forward if ward councillors agree they are “desirable” for their communities then it should follow they will be dropped where they are opposed. It might not please the cyclo-extremists, but it would be pragmatic.

A cyclist on Prince Street wearing an air pollution mask. Pro-cycling policy in Edinburgh which impacted on bus travel on Princes Street may be scaled back under the city's new administration. PIC: Jon Savage.