City cycle network ‘will cost tens of millions’

A cycle network for the Capital will cost tens of millions. Pic: Phil Wilkinson

A cycle network for the Capital will cost tens of millions. Pic: Phil Wilkinson

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A JOINED-UP cycle network for the Capital could be achieved within ten years, but will cost “tens of millions” of pounds following years of under-investment, a senior city transport figure has said.

Deputy transport leader councillor Adam McVey said that links could be created “within a decade” if current levels of spending on cycling are maintained.

The list of projects includes the proposed cycling highway between the Roseburn path and Leith, and between Roseburn and the Union Canal.

However, the improvements will end up costing between £10 million and £20m.

Mr McVey said: “Some of the existing networks can be connected with improvements to signage and minor road alterations, but other projects will take significant investment, such as installing segregated cycle lanes.”

In 2012, councillors pledged to spend five per cent of the transport budget on cycling, rising by one per cent per year to reach a goal of ten per cent. Cycle campaigners welcomed the “catch-up strategy” aimed at clearing a backlog of works.

Off-road cycle links are seen as crucial to making the Capital cyclist friendly, and encouraging commuters to ditch the car and take to the saddle.

Cyclists have slammed Edinburgh’s infrastructure as being disjointed and dangerous, with poor links between stretches of cycle lanes in places such as Leith Walk and George Street.

Mr McVey’s comments were made at the last meeting of cycling campaigners Spokes.

Cllr McVey said: “Medium to long-term, the council’s priorities are to link up the family-friendly cycle network and enhance cycling provision along key commuter corridors.

“We should move significantly towards a holistic cycling network in the Capital over the next decade.”

Ian Maxwell, a spokesman for Spokes, said completion of links to the Roseburn cycle path would be a “major achievement”.

He said: “Obviously we’re keen on as much investment as possible, but we find it very encouraging that Edinburgh has increased its proportion of transport budget spend for cycling, and we are leading the field in Scotland, and therefore should be commended.

“It should be pointed out that this follows an extended period when very little was spent on cycling infrastructure.

“It’s a catch-up strategy we’re talking about, but we’re definitely seeing the numbers of cyclists on the streets to ­justify it.”

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com