A £5 million boost has been handed to the Capital in a bid to improve the city’s walking and cycling facilities.
The cash windfall – distributed by sustainable transport charity Sustrans to the city council, Napier University and the Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust – will go towards a series of projects aimed at encouraging more people to ditch their cars and take to the streets.
Improvements planned as part of the scheme include funding designs for a new cycle route linking Leith Walk and the off-road network at Roseburn – providing residents with a safer path directly through the city centre.
Sustrans will also be supporting the drive to ensure cycling and walking facilities are at the centre of proposals for the new Little France Park, part of a larger development area in the south-east of the city.
The extra funding will even be used to boost ambitious plans to transform West Crosscauseway, between Nicolson Street and Chapel Street, into a haven for cyclists and pedestrians – restoring the historic street in Edinburgh’s university quarter into a welcoming space for residents to walk, cycle and socialise in.
Today cycling groups and political figures from across the city welcomed the cash injection and insisted the move demonstrated a step change in attitudes towards sustainable transport.
Ian Maxwell, chairman of Spokes, said it was an “exciting time” to be a cyclist in the city, with “long-standing issues” finally being addressed.
He said: “They are making some of the important links across the centre of town which will make it so much easier to cycle. Increasing numbers of people are cycling in Edinburgh and we would hope that if these changes are made even more people will take it up.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said the council “welcomed” the extra funding from Sustrans.
She added: “We are committed to creating a safe and attractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists in Edinburgh, and this funding will allow us to further develop projects encouraging walking and cycling in the city.
“This is an exciting year for cycling in the Capital, with the upgrade of the National Cycle Network Route amongst other significant improvements. Now, thanks to this partnership, we will be able to progress more new schemes including the transformation of West Crosscauseway for people travelling by foot or bike.”
Tom Bishop, Sustrans’ community links coordinator, said: “Sustrans Scotland is delighted to announce that we will be directing funding into these projects in Edinburgh. The developments will provide both those who live in and visit Edinburgh with excellent facilities to travel actively.”