The city council will roll out on-street bike storage across the Capital – despite cyclists being charged more than motorists are for some parking permits.
A total of 128 new secure cycle units will be introduced over the next two years – but leases will cost £84 a year – more than some annual car parking permits are on the periphery of the city.
The Green transport spokesman, Cllr Chas Booth, called for a principle to be established so vehicle permits remain more expensive than leasing the new cycle storage units.
He said: “If the council is serious about encouraging people to cycle, it should ensure that secure and affordable cycle parking is available, particularly for those in tenements, so I warmly welcome this scheme.
“But it sends completely the wrong message to residents if the cost to park a bike is more than it costs to park a car.”
Cllr Booth withdraw a formal amendment calling for the cycle permits to remain cheaper, in order to ensure the project goes ahead.
He added: “There is very strong demand for this secure on-street cycle parking. The sooner we can get this up and running, the better. The delivery of the project is absolutely crucial – that needs to go ahead.”
Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “One of the measures of success is that it increases the number of journeys undertaken by bike.
“I’m very keen to see this project get implemented and then form a basis for expansion. We can’t be unambitious in our plans to spread this as far and as wide as we can throughout the city. This would allow us to look at it in the future so we don’t end up creating very expensive parking spots for bikes that aren’t used.”
Since beginning in July 2014, bike parking trials have proved popular, with pilot scheme units at full capacity and waiting lists for each site, plus requests for additional storage in more than 200 different streets.
Plans to increase available on-street bike parking were first approved in November 2016, when it was agreed to roll out 20 to 30 new units a year over three years.
Conservative transport spokesman Cllr Nick Cook said: ““Provided that the charges are proportionate and don’t leave us out of pocket, the should be decided on the basis of what they are going to cost us to install, operate and maintain the facility.”
Half of the funding for the £600,000 project is being provided by active travel group, Sustrans. Sustrans Scotland community links manager, Dave Keane said: “We are pleased to be involved in supporting the introduction of secure on-street residential cycle parking through our community links programme.
“By providing facilities for secure storage, we hope the move will enable more people to own a bike and make it even easier for Edinburgh residents to choose to travel round the city in an active and sustainable way.”