Inverleith cycle path dug up after a year

The ripped-up bike lane in Inverleith Park. Picture: Scott Louden
The ripped-up bike lane in Inverleith Park. Picture: Scott Louden
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A CYCLE path in Inverleith Park has been ripped up by the city council just a year after it was built.

The bike lane was part of the £140,000 Craigleith to Botanic Garden Cycle Route – described by the council as an “important development” when it was first opened.

But now it is being removed because of a supposed “conflict” with pedestrians.

Campaigners accused the council of “squandering” cash earmarked for improvements to the Capital’s cycling infrastructure.

John Lauder, national director of Sustrans Scotland, which coordinates more than 2000 miles of national cycle network across the country, said: “We are bewildered as to why this relatively new path has been dug up. Despite not being directly involved with its installation, Sustrans is still of the opinion that it was an improvement for both cyclists and walkers in Inverleith Park.

“Also, from a purely financial perspective, it does not make sense to uninstall this infrastructure so soon after it was put in place.”

The city plans to spend £1.8m on cycling initiatives in this financial year – seven per cent of its total transport budget – and wants at least 15 per cent of all 
journeys to be made by bike by 2020.

Kim Harding, one of the founders of the Pedal on Parliament campaign, claimed the council lacked staff with sufficient professional competence to achieve that target.

He said: “We have seen the Quality Bike Corridor, described by Dutch experts as ‘rubbish’ and not fit for purpose.

“We have seen major transport projects like the introduction of the trams, where cycle provision is a bolt-on afterthought – the most expensive approach – rather than an integral part of the project.

“We even have the situation where cycle infrastructure has been put in Inverleith Park only be ripped out again a year later without consultation.”

Pam Barnes, convener of the Friends of Inverleith Park, said the section being removed was a spur to an already existing path which had been put in without consulting park users and has caused some near collisions between dogs, children and cyclists.

A council spokesman said: “A small additional section of path within the park, which was installed last year to enhance the Craigleith to Botanic Garden Cycle Route, has been removed following concerns over cycle speeds and potential conflict with pedestrians.”