Lesley Macinnes: Help us get cyclist safety and new trams right

The council is working to help improve cyclists' safety around the tram route. Picture: Neil Hanna
The council is working to help improve cyclists' safety around the tram route. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Have your say

We need to talk about safety. Specifically, how we can help cyclists stay as safe as possible around Edinburgh’s tram tracks.

Today, we’re launching a new consultation on our Consultation Hub on proposed changes to road layout and traffic signals, primarily along the on-street section of the route between Haymarket Yards and York Place.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes is transport and environment convenor at Edinburgh City Council. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Councillor Lesley Macinnes is transport and environment convenor at Edinburgh City Council. Picture: Ian Georgeson

This is the third of four phases of work to help improve cyclists’ safety around the tram route.

This very important project was already under way prior to the tragic death of student Zhi Min Soh following a collision at the west end of Princes Street at the junction of Shandwick Place and Queensferry Street.

The first phase saw new red-surfaced cycle lanes guiding bikes across tram tracks at the safest possible angle installed at a number of key locations, with clear signage encouraging other road users to give cyclists the necessary space to cross safely.

By the end of this month, phase two will be implemented, with new Advanced Stop Line (ASL) boxes introduced at five sites (Elder Street, Princes Street at Waverley Bridge, Princes Street at The Mound, Princes Street at South Charlotte Street and the Haymarket junction).

During the development of the designs the council has consulted with Living Streets, Sustrans and Spokes.

In this new consultation, which runs for a month from today, various options are on the table, including new early release signals for bikes. These give cyclists an extra head-start ahead of other traffic. Such signals have already been implemented at the junction of Leith Walk and McDonald Road. In other UK cities similar signals have been installed and in York they have been credited with reducing collisions.

Other proposed changes include a new stretch of cycleway where Princes Street meets South St Andrew Street, realigning or introducing new traffic islands to improve access at key junctions and, perhaps most significantly, consideration of the option to make Grosvenor Street accessible only to bikes from Clifton Terrace.

Another crucial aspect of the tram cycle safety project is to ensure any lessons learned or solutions identified are applied when planning the potential continuation of the tram route down to Newhaven.

No final decision on extending the tram to Newhaven will be taken until towards the end of this year. However, since the Outline Business Case was approved in September, the tram project team has been working hard with a range of stakeholders to develop an outline design and map out how the tram to Newhaven project might be delivered and managed if it does go ahead.

As part of this process, we’re running a major public consultation from Monday, March 19, through our Consultation Hub and a series of public events and special interest forums.

These channels are your chance to influence a whole host of things, from how traffic is managed and local businesses supported during construction to what the road layout could look like, including active travel provision, with trams operating down to Newhaven.

As with the cycle safety consultation, we’re listening very carefully. We want to hear from as many people as possible to help us get this right, so make sure you have your say.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes is transport and environment convenor at Edinburgh City Council