Comments on the draft Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs)
Draft plans (not currently public):
- Marchmont to Kings Buildings (via Blackford) is a popular walking route for children attending James Gillespie’s High School and James Gillespie’s Primary School. It is also a popular cycling route for university students travelling between their accommodation and the Kings Buildings.
- Segregated cycleways should be provided on Marchmont Rd and Blackford Ave. They should be suitable for all cyclists (ages 8 to 80, all abilities and all bicycle types). Convenient, direct and contiguous segregated cycle lanes are proven to make cycling safe and to induce new journeys to be made by bike instead of by other modes.
- Cycling pinch-points should be removed at the entrance and exit to the gyratory by means of cycle bypasses (with physical segregation, kerbs, bollards, etc.)
- The footways on Kilgraston Rd should be widened.
- Continuous footway should be used in many more locations. Most of the side roads along the proposed active travel corridor are (or should be) low-traffic non-through routes. One-way sections (with cyclist exemptions) on the entrances and exits of the side roads will improve the safety of the continuous footway and reduce rat-running on side streets.
- The bend-radii of some of the build-outs and existing junctions need to be further tightened to further slow vehicle speeds and shorten pedestrian crossing distances.
- On-road, painted-on cycle lanes have been proven time and time again to be unsafe and will not attract new cyclists (those who wish to cycle but won’t because of perceived or actual danger). This scheme is repeating the mistakes of the past, namely the £600k “Quality” Bike Corridor (QBiC) along the Causewayside / Mayfield Rd corridor. The QBiC failed to attract new cyclists, is widely deemed unsafe, is often parked over and is only for the “fit and the brave”. Experienced cyclists do not use painted-on cycle lanes, preferring instead to take primary position (“taking the lane”) which is safer in terms of avoiding close- or unnecessary motor vehicle passes, safer in terms of visibility and sightlines, reduces the likelihood of car-doorings, and helps avoid debris, drains and potholes near the kerb.
The use of continuous footway is good, however the number of locations where this has been applied is inadequate. Most of the side roads along the proposed active travel corridor are (or should be) low-traffic non-through routes and many more of them could have continuous footway treatment. Continuous footway should have no change in surface materials throughout the crossing in order to give clear visual priority to pedestrians. The side streets should be made one-way at their entrance/exit with the main road with a one-way exemption for cyclists. Steep and abrupt ramps should be provided to slow vehicles to the absolute minimum speed. Lining should not cross the footway or cycleway, nor lead-in to it. An example of well designed continuous footway, with an adjacent segregated cycle lane, (as could be used on Marchmont Rd) is shown below:
Image taken from the excellent Robert Weetman quality checklist for continuous footway and with real-world examples in Continuous footway design details (Aside: This blog features examples of good and bad designs from the Netherlands, the UK and even an example from Leith Walk, where the later addition of paint/lining changed the junction from being good to mediocre – the devil is in the detail.)
The following junctions on Marchmont Rd should also be given continuous footway, with the side road converted to one-way (with cyclist exemptions) at the entrance/exit to the main road: Warrender Pk Tce; Marchmont Cres (North end); Warrender Pk Rd (both sides); Spottiswoode Rd; Thirlestane Rd. The map below indicates how one-ways at the side-road junctions could be organised to allow continuous footway on most of the junctions with Marchmont Rd.
The following junctions on Kilgraston Rd should also be given continuous footway, with the side road converted to one-way (with cyclist exemptions) at the entrance/exit to the main road: Hope Tce; Blackford Rd; Dick Pl; Grange Loan. The map below indicates how one-ways at the side-road junctions could be organised to allow continuous footway on most of the junctions with Kilgraston Rd.
The following junctions on Blackford Ave should also be given continuous footway, with the side road converted to one-way (with cyclist exemptions) at the entrance/exit to the main road: Grange Tce; South Oswald Rd; St Albans Rd; Mortonhall Rd; West Relugas Rd. The junction with Charterhall Gr should also be given continuous footway (but not one-way). The map below indicates how one-ways at the side-road junctions could be organised to allow continuous footway on most of the junctions with Blackford Ave.
A series of Liveable Neighbourhoods are proposed by JGPS travel committee. The Marchmont to Kings Buildings route should be designed to be compatible with the Liveable Neighbourhoods plans (map) , to avoid the need for re-work and subsequent delays and expenditure.
The pavement build-outs and tightened bend radii are generally good and will improve pedestrian safety by means of shorter, more direct crossings, slower vehicle speeds and better sightlines. At some junctions, the bend-radii have not been tightened enough, commensurate with the status of the side road.
The following junctions / locations should have their bend radii further reduced (to a radii similar to the ones at the junction of Warrender Pk Tce and Marchmont Rd):
- Warrender Pk Rd / Marchmont Rd
- Spottiswoode Rd / Marchmont Rd
- Thirlestane Rd / Marchmont Rd
- Whitehouse Tce / Kilgraston Rd
- South Oswald Rd / Blackford Ave (North build-out)
- St Albans Rd / Blackford Ave
- The cycle lanes along Marchmont Rd should be moved to the inside of the parked cars and given proper protection i.e. segregation (see also “pinch points” & “danger points” sections below).
- JGPS travel committee propose a series of Liveable Neighbourhoods which include a section of segregated cycleway along Blackford Ave between the junction with Charterhall Rd and South Oswald Rd. For compatibility with the Liveable Neighbourhoods plans and to avoid expensive and time-consuming re-work, the section of cycleway between these two junctions should be segregated (unidirectional on both sides).
- Pinch-points exist at the following locations on the main motor-traffic route and will create severe danger to cyclists. Remedial work to the designs needs to be carried out to remove these pinch points. The pinch points on Marchmont Rd can easily be removed by segregating the cycle lane (as above). The gyratory entrances and exits should have physically separated (by means of bollards or kerbs) cycle bypasses. Pinch points:
- Entrance to the gyratory southbound on Kilgraston Rd at Grange Loan
- Exit from the gyratory northbound on Kilgraston Rd at Whitehouse Tce
- The 4 Traffic islands on Marchmont Rd at the junctions of Warrender Pk Tce; Warrender Pk Rd; Marchmont Cres, and; Thirlestane Rd
- Other danger points that need to be addressed:
- Northbound cyclists on Marchmont Rd turning right into Meadow Pl (a popular way to access Leamington Walk and the Meadows cycle paths)
- Northbound cyclists on Marchmont Rd turning right into Marchmont Cres to access the shops and the Meadows cycle paths
- Double parking outside the takeaways on Marchmont Rd (could be solved by segregation)
- Risk of drivers opening their doors out on to cyclists along Marchmont Rd due to cycle lanes on the outside of the parked cars (could be solved by segregation and moving the cycle lanes to the inside of the parked cars)
- Church parking on Kilgraston Rd outside Marchmont St Giles creating a pinch point for southbound cyclists.
- “Left hooks” on to straight-on, northbound cyclists on Blackford Ave from traffic turning left into Oswald Rd / the gyratory
- The traffic light controlled junctions along the route should all be given “advance green” signals for cyclists to get a headstart across the junction, with an adequate headstart time (minimum 5 seconds)
- The footway along Kilgraston Rd is far too narrow for the pedestrian volumes. Walking there is extremely unpleasant due to: high motor traffic volumes; high levels of speeding; vehicles passing by very close to the footway; noise; fumes; and frequent crashes.
- A means needs to be found to widen the footway along Kilgraston Rd.
- One-way sections (with cyclist exemptions) on the entrances and exits of the side roads will reduce rat-running on side streets. They will also improve pedestrian safety at any continuous-footway crossings.
- The gyratory concept, with one-way sections and removal of parking may encourage higher vehicle speeds and subsequently increase noise and danger. Measures should be included to ensure that the “design speed” of the gyratory section is 20mph (or below) and so that drivers feel uncomfortable travelling faster than 20mph.
- In conjunction with measures to prevent or reduce rat-running on side streets (e.g Liveable Neighbourhoods modal filters), traffic reduction measures on Kilgraston Rd should be considered, e.g. a bus-gate or a single-carriageway light-controlled section similar to the one on Viewforth at the canal bridge.