Last week we highlighted frustrations that cycle path funding was apparently being used by the council to build a path on Leith Links that would be impossible for some cyclists to cycle on.
Now it’s come to light thanks to enquiries made by Leith councillor, Chas Booth, after our blog post, that officials have admitted that they’re going to need to reinstall the chicane gates and tactile paving that has recently been added to the Leith Links path close to St Mary’s Primary School.
Despite this acknowledgement, officials are still refusing to follow the official standards set-out in the Scottish Government, Cycle By Design, guidance document.
In a written response to Cllr Booth, a council “Strategic Planning Manager” said: “I can confirm that the barriers and tactile paving have not been installed correctly. The Council has raised these issues with the contractor and they will be returning within the next week to correct the work before the path is re-opened.
“This will include moving the barriers to provide a 2.5m gap between them and aligning the ends of the barriers with each other. Whilst Cycling by Design defines a ‘desirable minimum’ gap of 3m this is not an ‘absolute minimum’ and we have also taken into consideration the concerns raised about the speed of cyclists by parents of schoolchildren. A wider space (1.5m) between the wall and the ends of the barriers will also be provided.
“The incorrect tactile paving will be replaced with a ladder/tramline pattern to indicate to visually impaired people which side of the path is for pedestrians and which for cyclists.
“This applies for the section of path in front of the school (either side of the chicanes) which is to be segregated with a white line as per the plan shown to, and agreed by, the Leith Links Steering Group.
“Once the above works have been completed the path will be re-opened to the public.”
So there you have it. This decision begs the question: How much slower does this “undesirable minimum” 2.5m gap make a cyclist go, compared to a 3m gap? And do council officials know this? Or is this 17% reduction in space that was supposed to be between the gates just an arbitrary number officials plucked out of the air?
It remains to be seen whether a 2.5m gap between the gates is sufficient to allow people with tag-alongs, child bike trailers, wheelchairs, double buggies and tandems to move slowly through the gates, or whether officials are deliberately planning to force users of these wheeled objects to chew up the grass in the Links further.
Here’s hoping a 2.5m gap is sufficient for everyone.
Photo Credit: Chris Hill