Waverley Fortress Whinge

I’m in a bad mood and I have a blog. So here, have a whinge.

I’m not the only one thinking of the changes to Waverley Station are really just turning it into a fortress. Beyond how annoying it is to have to walk behind slow pedestrians on a very narrow pedestrian walkway, I’m fully expecting that there’s going to be an injury as a result of the location of the barriers at the top of the walkway.

I was regularly commuting from the North end of town when the conversion from Train Station to Fortress commenced. I started my coast down Waverley Bridge and found, out of nowhere, that there was a barrier preventing me from continuing to coast down the North Ramp into the station. I stopped abruptly at the barrier, dismounted and walked, certain there was a mistake — they had only JUST made North Ramp a dedicated cycle space! I wondered what they were up to that they’d need to temporarily close the ramp. Ooh, were they going to actually paint a cycle lane to let the pedestrians know that they ought not stand there and smoke? No.The next day was when I’d spotted the signs that said that this was going to be the way it is until further notice. No official explanation why. I tweeted Network Rail to ask, no response. I emailed to ask why they had to close it to cyclists, no response. I know, now, that many other cyclists also emailed and wrote letters, but still no response. Sure, we’ve got theories, but none that explain the blanket ban.

Time passes, annoyance increases.

I’m now commuting from the South end of town, and could much more easily enter the station from the Market Street entrance…. But the escalators are a bit too steep to take the bike down, the bike is a bit heavy for carrying down two flights of stairs, and the lifts are slow. Besides which, there’s road works on Market Street so I need to get past the temporary lights, navigate around the potholes, and squeeze between the cones to dismount in the first place. It’s a stressful way to end an otherwise lovely journey.

I tried going North up Waverley Bridge and turning right down the South Ramp. I wait for traffic and, as soon as it’s clear, I turn across traffic — to find there’s nowhere safe to dismount. The orange-and-white barriers that they’ve installed more recently are flush with the kerb against a moving lane of traffic. So traffic needs to be clear enough not just for me to cross traffic, but for me to cross traffic, slow to a stop, dismount, and get onto the pavement. Sure, there’s a bit of paint on the road to say that the kerb is meant to come out further than it physically does, but tell that to a taxi that’s just pulled out and is skirting the kerb closely because there’s a bus coming the opposite direction.

I had a word with the Network Rail staff in the office to ask if they could, at VERY least, move the orange-and-white barriers further back so I at least had somewhere to dismount. The fellow at the desk looked genuinely surprised that he’d not considered cyclists needing to dismount somewhere, to transition from being a vehicle to being a pedestrian on their stupidly narrow ramp footways. He said he’d speak to his manager about it. The next day, one of blocks forming the barrier at the top of each ramp was moved to the side, giving me somewhere to cycle to where I could dismount. By the following day it looked like the barrier blocks had been moved back.

Seriously. Waverley Station planners, whoever you may be, this is ridiculous and dangerous — fix it.