Speaker after speaker claimed to 'be a cyclist myself' and rhapsodised about Edinburgh's amazing oof-road cycle routes. To paraphrase one audience member 'there are lots of places that people can already cycle, amazing cycle paths'. And, that's perfectly true, but they don't take you into the city centre to work! Others suggested that the NCN route (the one that runs down the tram tracks) is under-utilized, and needs better signage...
The real answer, as Peter Gregson* himself, admitted "The problem with cyclists is we don't want to take funny awkward routes".
And, of course, he's right. There are lots of reasons that cyclists don't use existing 'funny awkward' routes - like ones that take you through a park full of kids and pedestrians, up and down hills, and through dodgy intersections - but they will use safe, well-designed routes, and even more importantly, so will people who don't currently cycle, as we're seeing in London:
Cycling now major transport mode in LDN: 645,000 journeys a day, 10% up from 2013. Morning rush trebled since 2000 pic.twitter.com/3gZPIwp0EE
— Sustrans London (@SustransLondon) August 4, 2016This shows, if nothing else does, why 'quiet routes' won't increase cycle use enough to make a difference, but good infrastructure will.
If we take seriously concerns about pollution, congestion, the massive expansion Edinburgh is under-going, and the inability of our road network to cope with increased single-occupancy vehicle usage, then we need to build direct, easy to use arterial networks.
Reducing car usage is what will enable emergency vehicles to get through our streets, deliveries to shops, and essential traffic. It's the excess car use that blocks up Roseburn and keeps the buses from running.
Transforming the environment into one that doesn't privilege rampant car use - but allows those who need cars to do so - is the main plank to keeping Roseburn moving, and that means cyclists too.
* The individual behind the 'anti' campaign.