A702 Update – Bus Lanes, Traffic Lanes, Bus Stops and 40mph on Bigger Road

Below is an update on the A702 Spaces for People project. The main focus is safety issues associated Bus Stop Boarders (I wrongly called these floating bus stops previously), the new Bus Lane, the Bigger Rd speed limit and an issue at the Fairmilehead crossroads.

Bus Stop Boarders

Me: See attached (tweet in header image) from Living Streets on Bus Stop Boarders. Are these also off the table for the A702?
Council: “Bus Stop Bypasses are still proposed on the A702. These will be part of Phase 2”
Me: “Why are the bus stop boarders being removed from other schemes but not the A702?”
Council: We have decided to omit Bus Stop Bypasses from some schemes, this is primarily to reduce costs associated with delivering these. Broadly, the criteria we have applied are as follows:

If a road is: 20mph AND local or secondary AND serves less than 10 buses per hour, we will not generally use Bus Stop Bypasses. On these roads it will be reasonably safe for someone cycling to overtake a stopped bus. You will note that each of these applies for Pennywell Road; Causewayside and Buccleuch Street.

If however a road is 30mph (or more), OR; Strategic, OR; serves more than 10 buses per hour, we generally will use Bus Stop Bypasses.

There are some exceptions to the above and there will always be consideration of the site conditions – especially gradient. For example, we are not proposing Bypasses at bus stops in lay-bys on a downhill grade where people cycling do not need to change direction in order to overtake a stopped bus.

Comiston Road is a busy strategic route, has a speed limit of 30mph and at times a steep grade. Expecting people cycling to move into traffic in order to pass a stopped bus on a road like this – especially when travelling uphill – will significantly increase the risk, and limit the attractiveness of using this route by bike, especially to less confident and beginner cyclists.

The detail of our Bus Stop Bypass design will make clear to people cycling that they should give way to pedestrians, and that they should reduce their speed on the approach to bus stops.

You may be interested in the attached research reports looking at the operation of the Bus Stop Bypasses that have already been installed on Leith Walk between Pilrig Street and Macdonald Road. This research has been circulated to Transport Spokespersons for each party as well as relevant stakeholders (SPOKES; Living Streets; Edinburgh Access Panel; Edinburgh Bus Users Group).

The first is a report produced by Edinburgh Napier University which considers specifically the nature of the interactions between Pedestrians and Cyclists at these Bus Stop Bypasses during November 2017.

The second is a report produced by AECOM Ltd which considers several elements of the Leith Programme, including the Bus Stop Bypasses, Albert Place cycle-priority crossing, and Middlefield continuous footway. This report considers these elements against various indicators to provide an overall picture, across three assessment periods: November 2017; May 2018, and November 2018.

You will note that this monitoring demonstrates several interesting findings:

  • The overall number of people walking and cycling increased over the study period
  • The proportion of cyclists entering the footway, and pedestrians entering the cycleway decreased over time
  • The frequency, of interactions between people walking and cycling at the Bus Stop bypasses was very low with the vast majority of users not being involved in any form of interaction,
  • The typical severity of the interactions that did occur between people walking and cycling at bus stops was also very low, with most conflicts which did take place being minor in nature
  • These outcomes are consistent with other studies within the UK
  • Those conflicts which did occur were most often when cyclists and pedestrians were facing the same way and a pedestrian stepped into the cycleway. It is anticipated that installing cycleways with a level difference will reduce this type of conflict, and others, to even lower levels

I hope this is helpful, please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Me: Can you confirm which of the studied stops use the same design as proposed on Comiston Road? If the answer is “none”, does CEC have any data which explains specifically the nature of the interactions between pedestrians and cyclists? When you say “we have decided to omit Bus Stop Bypasses from some schemes”, can you be clear about who “we” is? I understand there was a meeting with the Edinburgh Access Panel and Living Streets etc last week. Were their views on these stops discussed? Can the notes from the meeting be shared?
Council: [awaiting reply]

New Bus Lane

Me: I am getting lots of general e-mails from constituents about the A702, but the new bus lane at Fairmilehead crossroads is an issue that keeps coming up. I had a look at it yesterday, and I could see that southbound drivers were quick to merge (in the rush for the lights) alongside cyclists where the cycle lane ends. I feel the original proposed design was safer for cyclists, but making the bus lane 24/7 would be an improvement. Local residents are requesting off-peak parking in the bus lane.  Can these three options be considered?
Council: We will look into extending Bus Lane operation hours to 7am – 7pm on both bus lanes on the affected section of the A702 (northbound and southbound) to protect cyclists outside peak hours. We will not be introducing off-peak parking as this would be incompatible with the bus lanes being safe for use by cyclist

Traffic Lanes on Biggar Road

Me: Northbound traffic on the Biggar Rd still forms in two lanes (see header image). This leads to a sudden merger of traffic as it enters Buckstone Terrace. Making the left-hand lane for left turning traffic only would be safer. Can this be considered?
Council: This is already part of the designs. I believe this will be don

Biggar Rd Speed Limit

Me: This must be the shortest section of 40mph road in Edinburgh and zero protection is offered to cyclists. Can we make it 30mph?
Council: I will liaise with our Road Safety Team. If this section is already proposed to be reduced to 30mph then I will look into delivering this as part of SfP.
Me: Yes, Biggar Rd was scheduled to be 30mph.

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