New £9m cycle route proposed for Edinburgh

Edinburgh City Council will consider a proposed route linking the east and west of the city following a survey by Sustrans

Edinburgh Castle (Photo: Saffron Blaze/CC3.0)

A proposed £9m cycle route in Edinburgh, linking the east and west of the city, will be discussed at a council meeting on Tuesday, following a poll by Sustrans and Edinburgh City Council.

The Bike Life 2015 survey, conducted between May and June of this year, found that 74% of Edinburgh residents wanted more money spent on cycling.

Members of the Transport and Environment Committee of the council will meet on October 27 to consider the proposal to put the route to a public consultation.

The proposed route, which runs between Roseburn and Leith Walk through the city centre via George Street, aims to "provide a cycle route which is designed for less confident cyclists who may be concerned about safety," according to Edinburgh City Council website.

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Edinburgh has garnered a reputation as Scotland's most cycle-friendly city since it became the first local authority in Scotland to ringfence funding for cycling, when it agreed in 2012 to allocate 5% of all transport spending to cycling.

According to the report that will be considered by the committee, the route would tie in with ongoing cycle-oriented projects, such as an upgrade of provision for both cycling and walking on Leith Walk and George Street and the proposed remodelling of Picardy Place and could be completed as early 2019.

The report estimates that one-way commuter cycle trips made across the route would increase by 88%, which would result in the number of people cycling to work across Edinburgh to rise 10,872, an increase of 16%.

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But Ian Maxwell, chairman of Spokes, a cycling campaign group based in and around Edinburgh, welcomed the plans but added that more needed to be done to encourage people to take up cycling as a mode of transport.

“Edinburgh has got lots of really good off-road routes, but we have always had these links that needed to be created," Maxwell told the Edinburgh Evening News.

“The problem with putting any routes through the city centre at the moment is that unless there is associated traffic control, it’s going to be good but not ideal.

“It sounds like we’re looking for the impossible, but we’re not. We feel that priority should be changed to be more in favour of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.”

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