Leith Walk businesses to be offered electric cargo bikes during tram construction works
Free electric cargo bikes will be offered to Leith Walk businesses to help traders with goods weave in and out of traffic during the tram construction works.
As one of a range of measures set to be rolled out to help firms through the tram extension work2s, which are set to start by the end of the year, the city council will offer free electric cargo bikes – in partnership with walking and cycling charity Sustrans.
At least four of the electric bikes will be available, while more could be brought in to meet demand. The bikes, which are already used across Europe, can be used to service deliveries to customers and move goods around – without adding to congestion and pollution levels.
“It would alleviate some pressure on the traders that we recognise could happen on Leith Walk during the construction.
“In some ways, it’s a grown-up version of the bike messenger concept. It’s about getting things to places – sustainably, easily and more quickly by cutting through traffic. The major benefit is no emissions.”
All training for cargo bikes will be free of charge in partnership with Sustrans.
Stuart Hay, from Living Streets Scotland, said: “Substituting vans for bikes offers positive benefits for pedestrians in terms of traffic noise, emissions and pavement parking.
“Trialling a cargo bike scheme during the tram construction offers a good opportunity to test new approaches to streets management that meets the needs of businesses and the environment. There is strong economic evidence that a good pedestrian environment with high public transport accessibility is good for business.
“Innovative support measures during construction are important in sustaining the street until it’s transformed.”
Any business wishing to use the cargo bikes will need to attend a training session. The bikes will need to be booked in advance for a maximum of one hour.
Cllr Macinnes added: “Anything that helps us get rid of vans double parking or pavement parking or stopping where they shouldn’t be, would help us enormously as a city – it would help us reduce congestion and pollution. If it can become a thing in Edinburgh, it can become a very positive thing for the city.The Leith Walk version of this through the trader scheme will be an excellent entry point for this. Other businesses in other areas will see it in operation so it’s a very good example.”
The council will begin an online survey of Leith Walk businesses this week until July to help know how many electric bikes will be needed and where best to locate them.
The Union of Genius cafe, based at Forrest Road, already use electric cargo bikes to transport their soup around the Capital.
Elaine Mason from Union of Genius, said: “We make soup, salads and chilli, and supply around 30 cafes across Edinburgh, delivering three times each week.
“We deliver around 1,000 litres of soup around the city each week, all by bike.”