I regularly walk both from my house at the Doon Steading to the A1 and also from my house up to the village of Spott. There are several places on the road where there is no visibility and where there is nowhere to step clear of the road.
Resident of Spott, Summer 2019
I wanted to write to add my support for funding for a feasibility study for a walk/cycleway from Spott to Dunbar. There are a number of reasons for consideration for such a path. These include:
It is becoming increasingly important to encourage more people to use sustainable transport (cycling) and walking for their own health benefits. In order to do this there must be suitable provision for people to do this safely and on a surface / path that is suitable for that purpose. A dedicated cycle path would provide this.
The current road between the village and the roundabout at the A1 and ASDA junction has no pavement or side path and is quite narrow in parts. In particular the section known as Canongate which has high sided banks on both sides. In addition this part of the road has three sharp bends that do not allow the pedestrian, cyclist or driver a long range view of the road ahead. On some bends the visibility is less than circa 20 metres (I have not done any formal measurements). At normal sensible speeds this may provide the driver with less than x (possibly 3) seconds to react to a pedestrian. At night or in poor visibility this may be reduced. This is the only access route from the village to the essential amenities of Dunbar town, so all residents have to use this route. The rural environment of the village requires a certain amount of farm and agricultural traffic which further compounds the safety issue with such a narrow road.
Due to the absence of any pathway the opportunities for anyone with an impairment that requires a wheelchair are limited to travel to and from the village by either car or bus. The provision of bus services, whilst welcome is infrequent and probably not sustainable for small numbers of users.
The ability to walk / run / cycle safely from the village and back to essential services in Dunbar would increase the opportunities for residents to leave their car behind and use sustainable transport. On many occasions my wife and I would happily walk to the shops at ASDA for groceries if there was a safe path. We would also walk into town to use the social amenities in the evening or catch the train for an evening out in Edinburgh knowing we could walk home safely after an evening out. That option does not currently exist for residents of Spott. The only safe options are to leave the car in town or at the station (assuming there is parking availability) or use a taxi. Both incur an additional two car journeys.
The 1.3mile walk from the A1 / ASDA roundabout to Spott village is a manageable and enjoyable walk if a pathway was available. It could potentially reduce the car journeys that villagers currently have to make.
The landscape and terrain of the upper section of the road through Canongate could be challenging to construct a cycleway / path but the long term benefits would far outweigh the initial capital cost of construction and the safety benefits of reducing the risk of serious injury are obvious. An options feasibility study would be an excellent starting point. Considering the potential additional financial benefits of the Community benefit Fund outlined in the accompanying leaflet, potential costs could be mitigated by using some of this funding as well.
For information I often run and cycle on the road in question and I sometimes wonder what would happen if a large farm vehicle came down the Canongate at any speed whilst I was cycling up. I consider myself a competent and experienced cyclist and runner but understand why many people would not even contemplate this with the existing road conditions.
Resident of Spott and Lead Manager of sportscotland, Summer 2019