Roundabout plans leave cyclists in a spin

Michaela Jackson and Robert Simpson, two Spokes members who are not impressed with the proposed development of the Sheriffhall Roundabout.
Michaela Jackson and Robert Simpson, two Spokes members who are not impressed with the proposed development of the Sheriffhall Roundabout.

The preferred option chosen by the Scottish Government to replace the notorious Sheriffhall Roundabout has left local cyclists fuming.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf recently announced the highly anticipated redevelopment plans, choosing a flyover which will keep local routes on the A7 and A6106 separate from the A720 traffic, while local roads will also be served by a new roundabout.

However, this has angered cyclists who claim it is bad news for those on two wheels.

Michaela Jackson, of Gorebridge Community Development Trust, last week handed a petition with 322 signatures into Holyrood requesting a cycle bridge at Sheriffhall.

She said: “The current preferred option is the worst option for cyclists and pedestrians, and has been chosen against the recommendations of (transport charity) Sustrans.

“The South East Scotland Transport Partnership has also highlighted Sheriffhall as a key barrier to cyclists in Midlothian and recommended a separate cycle bridge.

“The Scottish Government has not actually published why they came to this decision, we are pushing for them to do so.

“Investment in cycling pays itself back so I can’t see why they came to this decision. We want a bridge for cyclists at Sheriffhall and I can’t see valid reasons for not doing that.”

Lothian cycle campaign Spokes has written to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP asking for a pedestrian/cycle bridge at Sheriffhall.

Ian Maxwell, from Spokes, said: “We are concerned at what has been proposed as it is not at all attractive or safe for cyclists. The original proposal included provision of a bridge for cyclists and our feeling is that this would be better, but what they are now proposing is dangerous and is actually worse for cyclists than as it is at the moment.

“We feel that the government just doesn’t seem to be joining up their trunk road policies with cycling policies, they are ignoring cyclists. This deters people from using their bike. We will continue to push as we just don’t feel that this is a proper solution to the issues that have been raised and it’s disappointing that they have not listened to us.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Grade separation at Sheriffhall will improve access for pedestrians and cyclists compared to the existing arrangement. By allowing Edinburgh City Bypass traffic to pass over it will significantly reduce congestion and improve accessibility for all modes of transport including pedestrians and cyclists.

“Provision for all non-motorised users will be developed in further detail as we progress the development and assessment of the preferred option, in consultation with local interested groups, including Spokes, as we look to publish draft orders in 2019.”