The prospect of Scotland becoming a cycling nation receded even further into the distance this week, when Edinburgh’s SNP councillors appointed Frank Ross as their group leader. Councillor Ross is not keen on cycling infrastructure, and he’s got a real bee in his bonnet about “cyclists”. He gets very worked up about how “they” are always cycling in Waverley station:
He is, of course, unable to supply evidence of his assertions – the data (if anybody even bothers to collect data on such an inconsequential “problem”, which I doubt) would only demonstrate the triviality of his complaint. It is a non-issue. Curiously, when a taxi driver killed a pedestrian on Waverley bridge, a week earlier, Ross was silent on the matter.
Lately, Ross has been keeping himself busy by sticking the boot into the council’s plan to built a segregated cycle route through the city centre (what’s the protocol for when the deputy leader of the council opposes council policy?). He made a big show of signing a petition against the route set up by local busybody Peter Gregson. Amongst other things, Gregson believes that “the removal of the staggered crossing at Devon Place will make crossing the West Coates road more dangerous”. What he doesn’t mention is that the staggered crossing is planned to be replaced by a direct crossing:
Of course, staggered pedestrian crossings have no genuine safety benefit; their purpose is to reduce the amount of time drivers have to wait at red lights. Gregson also pretends that the existing cycle route – riddled with dangerous tram lines –
– is somehow more suitable than a segregated cycleway. The fact is that people like Peter Gregson love street designs that prioritise cars – and when it comes to preserving them, any lie will do. That Frank Ross is prepared to associate himself with Gregson’s grubby, regressive little petition says a great deal.
Frank’s also fretting about the impact the cycleway will have on business. Cars mean business, you see. People on bikes don’t spend any money in shops. Bikes bad.
Frank reckons that bus lanes are good for cycling (there’s that “they” again)!
Indeed, Frank sees no problems with the current road layout:
What point I was missing was never made clear. To be honest, I think it’s fair to say that Frank took a bit of a dislike to me. Irony can be very ironic sometimes:
One party member was not happy with the whole episode:
And that’s a great note to end on, I think!
Frankly, I think Frank Ross is a standard-issue, lowest-common-denominator fossil fuel addict with some truly wild delusions. The SNP really are scraping the barrel with this one. I wouldn’t have thought they’d be so short of talent these days, but there you are.
As easy as it is to take apart Frank’s half-baked opinions, the fact remains that he’s likely to be leader of Edinburgh council in little more than a year. The SNP are obviously set to make significant gains, and Labour significant losses. The awful prospect of an SNP majority is very real. We should all fear the incoming Ross regime and what it will mean for active travel.
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