Has Christmas come early? Cycling infrastructure planned for Edinburgh?!

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Has Christmas come early? Cycling infrastructure planned for Edinburgh?!

A good friend linked me to this (disappointingly brief but) incredibly promising article on the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-24729900

According to the article, George Street is to undergo a radical transformation in order to make it more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. The massively wide Georgian street has been described by Edinburgh Evening News as “Edinburgh’s most prestigious shopping district”, and it currently uses its space to accommodate four lanes of traffic as well as curb-side parking and parking along the length of its central reservation. The fact that it doesn’t even have a cycle lane makes this new bicycle-friendly proposal all the more astonishing!

Not even a cycle lane! This new proposal comes totally out of left-field
Not even a cycle lane! This new proposal comes totally out of left-field.

Pedestrianising George Street will undoubtedly increase footfall and therefore increase spending in its notoriously overpriced shops. In spite of the fact that this program of pedestrianisation was thus likely to have been motivated more by economic ends than environmental ones, I am hopeful that the benefits of having a space like this will initiate significant knock-on effects. Even though this is just a modest first step in the grand scheme of things, the fact that it is being implemented so centrally means that city planners are at least beginning to question the antediluvian rationale that prioritises the motor vehicle over everyone else. That said, they haven’t actually implemented anything yet, and so I’ll withhold my praise until I’ve seen it with my own eyes and ridden it with my own wheels.

On the Dutch 'fietsstraat', cars are guests. This means that they can still drive here, but they must respect and prioritise people on bicycles
Cars are considered to be guests on the Dutch ‘fietsstraat’. This means that although they can still drive here, they must drive slowly and treat people on bicycles with due respect.

This news comes just days after a number of articles were published on the topic of cycle safety regarding the ‘lethal’ tram tracks on Princes Street : http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/cyclists-condemn-dangerous-edinburgh-tram-lines-1-3147144. Perhaps the idea is to get cyclists to avoid tram-routes altogether by providing good infrastructure elsewhere…

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2 thoughts on “Has Christmas come early? Cycling infrastructure planned for Edinburgh?!

    Valerie said:
    October 30, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I do hope that ‘pedestrianising’ streets in Edinburgh helps. It may take time but it will surely help the city. Sadly, an attempt to pedestrianise a single road in Panjim, the capital city of Goa did not work. The shop owners cribbed that they were losing business and it was opened for traffic within a month or perhaps less.

      waltonharry responded:
      October 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Yeah, they had a similar problem in Groningen (in The Netherlands) where the business owners were worried about how people could get to their shops if everything was pedestrianised. It actually ended up working to their advantage, check it out: http://vimeo.com/76207227

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