Below is a briefing on how City of Edinburgh Council is working with Midlothian Council and Transport Scotland to ensure active transport is supported and promoted as part of the proposed upgrade of Sheriffhall Roundabout via the Edinburgh City Region Deal.
The consultants who are developing the design for the Sheriffhall junction upgrade on behalf of Transport Scotland have held a series of design workshops with representatives of both Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils. This process is ongoing and our Active Travel team is providing input on the proposed facilities for walking and cycling. Transport Scotland’s consultants tell us that their client intends that the new junction should be an exemplar active travel scheme.
Much of the A7 south of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (ERI) is within Midlothian, however the section north of ‘The Wisp’ is within this Council’s area.
This Council is supportive of the suggestion that the junction upgrade should include works to improve conditions for walking and particularly cycling on the entire road corridor from appropriate points in Midlothian south of the junction, north-westwards to the ERI.
The above was part of the verbal comments given to Transport Scotland’s consultants recently, at our last meeting. The essence of our response was that, whilst high quality segregated provision through the junction was essential, it would be most productive for the project to deliver a good standard of walking/cycling provision from origin to destination, rather than an excellent standard through the new junction coupled to no enhancement of the remainder of the route. The latter approach would leave a number of cycling-related issues on the route between Sheriffhall and the ERI, particularly for less confident cyclists – the key group when seeking to increase mode share for travel to work.
This Council is focussing its active travel investment in the locations where there is potential for the greatest impact. Its significant Active Travel budget is already essentially committed for several years to come and does not cover the work discussed above on the sections of route within Edinburgh (though the Council is participating in work considering an upgrade to cycling connections to the Bioquarter from the Cameron Toll/Kings Buildings areas). However, the Council would welcome any decision from Transport Scotland to include the links discussed above as part of the Sheriffhall junction upgrade scheme. As roads authority, the Council would be happy to collaborate with development, design and delivery work.