Public asked for views on new walking and cycling routes in West Edinburgh

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THE public are being asked their views on plans for new cycling and walking routes linking Edinburgh’s biggest business zone with residential areas to the north and south.

The city council said the West Edinburgh Link would transform cycling, walking, public spaces and accessibility in and around South Gyle and Edinburgh Park.

Concept designs created by design consultants AECOM, to be exhibited as part of the consultation

Concept designs created by design consultants AECOM, to be exhibited as part of the consultation

The proposals include more than 4km of segregated cycle tracks, linking to areas like East Craigs, Sighthill and Wester Hailes, as well as Edinburgh Napier University and Edinburgh College.

The council, which was awarded funding for the project two years ago, said the aim was a well-connected, people-friendly environment.

And it said the plans built on responses to initial engagement with people working in the area, when 88 per cent said they supported cycling and walking improvements.

Full construction is expected to start in 2021.

The public are being asked to have their say on significant cycling and walking improvements proposed for the west of Edinburgh.

The public are being asked to have their say on significant cycling and walking improvements proposed for the west of Edinburgh.

The project will also see a new bridge built across the railway line next to Gyle Park, to create a pleasant, direct route linking South Gyle and local neighbourhoods to green spaces and workplaces.

There will be traffic calming measures throughout the area, as well as of new public spaces and improvements to footpaths along the route and new road crossings as an alternative to some of the underpasses.

The council won a total of £12 million of funding in 2017 for this project – then known as the West Edinburgh Active Travel Network – and another, involving a cycle link from the Meadows and George Street.

The cash was from Places for Everyone, a Scottish Government-funded programme delivered by Sustrans Scotland.

This map shows the whole route.

This map shows the whole route.

Ian Maxwell, of cycling campaign group Spokes, said: “While this scheme is certainly a welcome addition to Edinburgh’s growing network, it is frustrating that nothing has been built in the two years since Edinburgh won this funding. The city risks losing this government funding if they cannot make some progress.”

Transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes said the West Edinburgh Link was an “essential component” of the ambition to make Edinburgh a greener, healthier and better-connected city.

“We know from initial engagement with people working in the area just how important enhancements to walking, cycling and public spaces are here. We’re now excited to share early concept design ideas, which focus on active travel and people-friendly spaces, and to work closely with local communities to shape their development.”

Sustrans Scotland Infrastructure manager Tierney Lovell said: “The West Edinburgh Link promises to make it easier for thousands of people across the west of Edinburgh to make their journeys to work, school, parks or shops by walking, cycling or wheeling.”

The drop-in events will be at: Gyle Shopping Centre, March 21, 12pm to 7pm; Westside Plaza, April 4, 12pm to 5.30pm; South Gyle Crescent, April 25, 8am-5.30pm; Gyle Shopping Centre, April 27, 10am to 
4pm.

People can also take part in the consultation online, which will run until May 10.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com