ON-STREET bike sheds are to be introduced to the city as part of a £50,000 scheme aimed at encouraging people to take up cycling.
Five roll-top secure bike units are to be introduced to streets dominated by tenement flats, where residents often struggle to find safe places to keep their bikes.
The scheme is to be piloted in South Oxford Street, two locations on Warrender Park Terrace, as well as Lonsdale Terrace and Douglas Crescent.
Initially the “bike bins” will be free of charge. However, if the trial is successful and the shelters are rolled out further across the city, a £5 monthly charge will be applied.
City chiefs hope to have the scheme up and running by mid-April.
Covered cycle racks are a regular fixture on residential city streets throughout Scandinavia.
Talks took place last year between the council and city residents in a bid to identify those areas where demand will be highest.
Ian Maxwell, of city bike charity Spokes, said: “Bike parking for those living within tenements has been an issue for many years and we have been keen to see the council experiment with a solution such as this. It’s good to finally see it happening.
“If the council wish to get more people cycling around the city then schemes such as this are what’s needed.”
The move is one of a range of measures by the council aimed at increasing the number of people that use bikes to get around the city rather than other more polluting modes of transport.
Last week, the Evening News revealed how seven per cent of the city‘s transport budget will be spent on a number of cycle lanes and other improvements.
An ambitious target of reducing overall car journeys by city residents to 31 per cent by 2020 has been set – from its current figure of 43 per cent.
This goes hand-in-hand with the council’s long-stated target of 15 per cent of commuter journeys made by bike by 2020.
A council spokeswoman said: “This is one of the first schemes of its type in the UK so there has been research in to different solutions available and their suitability for Edinburgh’s streets. We have also been consulting with the local communities affected to ensure an optimum solution for them.”
Back in 2006, the council introduced a trial scheme where bike racks were introduced in tenements in a bid to cut down on rows between neighbours about bikes blocking stairwells, and to cut bike thefts.
The trial was not judged to be a success following problems including difficulty getting agreement from all residents, space restrictions, planning concerns and maintenance issues.
Now officials hope that the “on-street” alternative will prove more successful.