Thursday, 8 August 2013

Seafield Pavement Cycling

The new path from Portobello to Leith is quite nice in places. When it was first opened, there was a sensible left turn from the shared pavement on Seafield Road to Seafield Street: a nice dropped curb led you across Seafield Road and on to Seafield Street

Since then, there have been some "improvements", and now you are asked to cross on to the pavement on the far side. You do a sharp right turn onto the pavement, taking care not to hit any pedestrians sitting outside the cafe. Then you make your left turn, looking out for people going in or out of the cafe, or coming round the blind corner. Then you can turn right back on to the road, turn left to face the right direction, and move safely onwards. 

I tried it this morning:

Given that there is increasing conflict between pedestrians and cyclists in Edinburgh, why on earth would the Council construct something like this, which is pretty much guaranteed to create conflict and tension, when such a good alternative already existed?

Update (22/8/13)

I received this response today from the Council (with thanks to Councillor Maureen Child for taking this up):

Dear Councillor Child
Thank you for your e-mail dated 8 August 2013 from your constituent, Barnaby Dellar, regarding the above location. 
I can confirm that cycle/pedestrian crossings were recently installed on all the arms of this junction as another phase in the delivery of the Leith – Portobello ‘family friendly’ cycle route. These are designed to enable less confident cyclists to be able to connect between Seafield Street and the shared use footway on the north side of Seafield Road, and also in the reverse direction.
In order to legally permit cyclists to get between the western crossing of Seafield Road and Seafield Street the footway on the corner of the junction was redetermined to permit its use by cyclists. This was designed on the basis that there was a relatively wide footway on the south side of Seafield Road (approximately 4m) and that pedestrian flows in this area are at the lower end of the scale. The footway around the corner was also widened as much as possible. 
It should be noted that a significant constraint to the width of the footway has been introduced by the unauthorised introduction of tables/chairs and erection of an ‘A’ board by a newly opened cafe on this corner. We have made contact with the proprietors to request that these are removed from the footway. 
On his blog post, Mr Dellar refers to a dropped kerb that he used to access Seafield Street from the Seafield Road footway. I note that this kerb remains in place and is still available for cyclists to use. However, cyclists should be aware that this could bring them in to conflict with pedestrians crossing on the Seafield Street arm of the junction or with vehicles exiting right from Seafield Street. 
Should you require any further information, please contact me on the details provided.  
Yours sincerely 
Brian Sharkie 
Strategic Planning Manager
This describes *what* the council have done quite well, but not *why* they did it. 

They seem to think there'll be less chance of conflict if cyclists ride round a blind corner on the pavement than if they cross a line of pedestrians with full visibility. Crazy. 

On a more personal note, I love cafes with seats outside. If my complaint about this stupid design means that the cafe are told to get rid of the seats, I'll be very annoyed. 

1 comment:

  1. It's just stupid planning from someone who likes to make pretty drawings with little yellow and white lines and some red speckled shading! You actually rejoined the road too early there, looks like you're supposed to come off the pavement behind the bin.