Friday, 16 August 2013

NC10 Leith To Portobello

I work in Leith, and live in Portobello. My work is near to the Water Of Leith path, and the NC10 cycle route runs from the Water of Leith path to Portobello. So in theory, I should have a pretty much off-road route from work to home. 

But I don't use it.

Why not? Well, because the NC10 is only off-road from Leith Links. You have to cross Leith on-road, and the roads are nasty.

To start with, you have to go along Tolbooth Wynd. This is narrow, cobbled, very bumpy, and you often have a person in a car behind you trying to force their way past you. 

Tolbooth Wynd makes a sharp left, and this is when cars often take their chance to overtake. Queen Charlotte Street is off to the left, but it's no entry for cars. So drivers assume they can pull round and overtake safely enough. 

However, there is a small entrance for bikes onto Queen Charlotte Street. 

So on a bike, you have to indicate right while doing a sharp left on bump cobbles and braking, cut across the flow of traffic and move into the small opening. This is often blocked by parked cars...

Beyond that, there is a contra-flow cycle path on the left, as you can see in the image below:

This is always covered by bins and parked cars, so you are forced to cycle wide into the door zone of the parked cars, and into the oncoming traffic, who mostly think they're on a one-way street. I've had abuse shouted at me loads of times for going "the wrong way" down here.

After Queen Charlotte Street, the NC10 takes you on to Links Place. This is a wide road, which wouldn't be too bad if the council hadn't built pinch points. I assume these were put in to try and calm traffic and to give pedestrians an easier route across the road. 
In my experience, car drivers speed up near pinch points to get through before any oncoming traffic, or in order to overtake a bike. I don't like pinch points The council are obviously aware of this, so they helpfully built bike access route inside the pinch points. 
Here's the first one, filled with bins:

Here's the second one, with a car parked in it, and on the pavement too: 

The third one is blocked by a van:

The fourth one doesn't have any access:

And the last one has a disabled parking bay right before it. I think disabled parking bays are a great idea, but this one does make the pinch point access lane much harder to use. as you can see in this image, a car was pushing past me into the pinch point...

From that point on, it's pretty much segregated and pleasant cycle path the whole way home. But, with that half-mile of unpleasant road, the whole thing is unusable for me. 

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