We go to Jack Brown's, which was the only optometrist in town that had frames to fit the then sixteen-month daughter when the Eye Pavilion sent us out with a prescription. We now all go there; they're lovely people with an excellent service. Luckily, it's also very central, located at the east end of Edinburgh's main shopping area on Elder Street, just off York Place, where the new tram-line will terminate.
But - no surprises to regular readers - it's nerve-wracking to get to by bike. The proposed new bi-directional bike lane on George Street, which is supposed to solve problems of cycling in the city centre will deposit us about 400 metres away, but those 400 metres are composed of either a series of right turns across busy streets including tram tracks, and a section of 'shared use' pavement cycling on an already too narrow pavement, or a dismount and brisk walk through a pedestrianised shopping precinct with about 30 intimidating bollards on either end.
|James Craig Walk|
So, two of the three possible routes involve either dismounting and walking, or using a pavement that really ought to be restricted to pedestrians. The third option involves cycling down Queen Street, which despite being marked as a 'quiet route' by cycle streets, is a thoroughly unpleasant 6 lanes of traffic, with added tram tracks to turn across when it becomes York Place.
Depressingly, this is what cycling in our city centre has become - thoroughly unpleasant and often dangerous - and I see no evidence that a '£10 million cycle path' will in fact provide a “ high quality, family-friendly east-west cycle route ... right through the city centre" nor will it "make it as easy as possible to cycle in the heart of Edinburgh.”. If it does, I'll be the first to celebrate - along with my friends at Jack Browns, whose business would no doubt be just one of many that would benefit.