Cyclists pack meeting where plans to 'discourage' Roseburn Path cycling over tram line use called 'appalling'

Off-road nature corridor one of two options for new Edinburgh north-south tram route

An official recommendation to “discourage” cycling if a new tram line is built along the Roseburn Path has been condemned as "most appalling" by a former City of Edinburgh Council transport convener.

Lesley Hinds told a packed public meeting on Wednesday night she backed running the tram along the former railway line, but “good quality” provision for cyclists and walkers must be retained.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
The Roseburn Path is part of an off-road "active travel" network in Edinburgh. (Photo by Lisa Ferguson/The Scotsman)The Roseburn Path is part of an off-road "active travel" network in Edinburgh. (Photo by Lisa Ferguson/The Scotsman)
The Roseburn Path is part of an off-road "active travel" network in Edinburgh. (Photo by Lisa Ferguson/The Scotsman) | LISA FERGUSON

The issue has sparked significant public interest, with people turned away from the meeting organised by Lothian cycle campaigners Spokes as part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling when the Augustin United Church venue in George IV Bridge reached its capacity of around 180.

The Roseburn Path is one of two options for a planned north-south tram line between Granton and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, with the other option along Orchard Brae to the east of the path. Public consultation on both is expected to be launched by early autumn.

The blue line option for the tram line would include the Roseburn Path, with the purple line option including Orchard Brae and Queensferry Road. (Photo by City of Edinburgh Council)The blue line option for the tram line would include the Roseburn Path, with the purple line option including Orchard Brae and Queensferry Road. (Photo by City of Edinburgh Council)
The blue line option for the tram line would include the Roseburn Path, with the purple line option including Orchard Brae and Queensferry Road. (Photo by City of Edinburgh Council) | Edinburgh Council

Ms Hinds said the Roseburn Path route would carry more passengers, enable quicker journeys, and cost less and be easier to build than the road option.

However, the former Labour councillor criticised city council officials, who had recommended that option, for stating that cycling should be discouraged. Councillors have decided to consider both options.

Ms Hinds said: “Officials putting that cycling will be discouraged was the most appalling thing because it just got everyone uptight. Councillors need to say to the officers - because it will be councillors who make the decision - we need safe cycling and walking.

“If you are going to put a tram [on the path], it has to have cycling and walking provision and it has to be good quality.”

Ms Hinds, who lives in north Edinburgh and has used the path for 40 years, said using it for trams could also increase safety for walkers. She said: “I wouldn’t go there at night.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Euan Baxter, of the Save the Roseburn Path campaign, told the meeting the council had made no guarantees over cycle space on the path if the tram line was built on it, and 3,500 trees were at risk.

He said: “The path is an active travel passage we shouldn’t be losing.” He said there was insufficient space for trams, walkers and cyclists.

Mr Baxter said it was a key part of a network connecting north Edinburgh with the city centre, with such off-road routes crucial for encouraging more walking and cycling.

The Save the Roseburn Path campaign says increasing numbers of walkers and cyclists are using the route. (Photo by Lisa Ferguson/The Scotsman)The Save the Roseburn Path campaign says increasing numbers of walkers and cyclists are using the route. (Photo by Lisa Ferguson/The Scotsman)
The Save the Roseburn Path campaign says increasing numbers of walkers and cyclists are using the route. (Photo by Lisa Ferguson/The Scotsman) | LISA FERGUSON

He said the increasingly-popular path was a vital “urban green space” as a “linear park” that provided physical and mental health benefits and helped address the “biodiversity crisis”.

Mr Baxter said the road option “makes more sense” and had a larger catchment area. He said: “Trams would be transformational for Granton, but they should replace cars, not people using a local park.”

City council transport and environment convener Scott Arthur said on Thursday: “To be clear, no decision has been taken on the route for the tram extension from Granton to BioQuarter.

“I'd also highlight the decision at the last transport and environment committee that an open and transparent consultation on the route should take place later in the year.

“For the Roseburn corridor, officers have clear instructions to explore the potential of installing a high-quality walking and cycling route alongside the tram line.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’ve also learned key lessons on walking and cycling, particularly from the Trams to Newhaven project, and will continue to use this learning to inform our future work. I’m sure we can arrive at a positive solution on this next phase of the tram network expansion."

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.