New early release signals for cyclists planned for Edinburgh tram route

New traffic signals which give cyclists a head-start ahead of other traffic are being proposed under the latest plans for safety improvements along Edinburgh’s tram route.

Early release signals, which are already operating at the junction of Leith Walk and McDonald Road and have been successfully used in other UK cities such as York and London, are part of a range of proposals going out to public consultation today.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s transport team has been working closely with Spokes and Sustrans, in consultation with Living Streets, to develop a programme of road changes aimed at improving safety for cyclists along the tram route, in particular between Haymarket Yards and York Place.

The first phase was implemented in autumn 2017 and consisted of new red-surfaced cycle lanes at a number of key locations to help make it easier to cross tram tracks.

Phase two comprises new Advanced Stop Line (ASL) boxes at five locations along the on-street section of the route - these are set to be installed and operational by the end of this month.

As well as the early release signals at 14 junctions along the on-street section of the tram route, the plans include two options for the Haymarket junction at Grosvenor Street, changes to the cycle lane alignment at Haymarket Station and a new mandatory cycle lane where Princes Street meets South St Andrew Street.

Other proposals include a new traffic island at Haymarket Yards, a new crossing following cycle desire lines over the tram route at Cultins Road and improvements to the traffic island and ASL box at the junction with Princes Street and South Charlotte Street.

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “With the first phase of cycle safety improvements already in place - and, according to our feedback, well-received by cyclists - and the second phase just weeks away from being implemented, we’re now looking to the public for feedback on our proposed designs for Phase three, which we aim to put in place later this year.

“Road safety is absolutely paramount and we’ve been working extremely closely with our partners to refine these designs. Early release signals for cyclists have been credited with reducing collisions in cities where they’re already used so these are a particularly desirable option.

“The consultation is now live on our Consultation Hub and will run until 11 April 2018. We want to hear from as many people as possible to ensure we get this right so please do have your say and spread the word.”

The consultation on Phase three of tram cycle safety improvements runs from today until April 11, with the bulk of the proposed changes planned to be implemented towards the end of 2018.

The fourth and final phase of improvements will comprise improvements to the road layout at the Princes Street/Lothian Road/Shandwick Place/Queensferry Street/Hope Street junction to address safety for cyclists and pedestrians. This phase of the project will be progressed as part of the Central Edinburgh Transformation programme.

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