CYCLING groups have hailed plans to create a new cycling network in the capital as a “potential game-changer” for transport in the city.
Transport Scotland, in partnership with Edinburgh Council, will spend £12 million creating two cycle routes in the city centre and West Edinburgh areas after being awarded funding in a major design competition.
Campaigners say the projects, to be delivered by Sustrans, have the potential to be “transformational” and could help “propel Edinburgh to the forefront of city cycling in Scotland”
Around £8million will be spent on the West Edinburgh Travel Network, connecting the Roseburn area to the major business district, Edinburgh Park, while a further £4.3million is set aside for the ‘Streets for People’ project, linking the Meadows to George Street.
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Ian Maxwell, of city cycling group Spokes, revealed the group were “thrilled” to see the plans underway, however said he wanted to see proof the council were “serious” about the plans sooner rather than later.
He said: “We’re absolutely delighted about the proposals and the plans put forward. We notice a significant increase in the number of people cycling on the roads - particularly in the city centre - when new infrastructure is put in place.”
“I would say that Edinburgh City Council are being slightly generous with their timescale. We’d like to see a tangible effort made within the next few years showing some kind of progress in that time to prove that the council are absolutely serious about this project.”
Gordon MacDonald, MSP for the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency, hoped the announcement would help “encourage healthy lifestyles” across the city.
The city centre route will take riders through both the old and new towns before leading them up The Mound, while the West Lothian network past the Edinburgh Napier and Heriot Watt university campuses and the Gyle Shopping centre.
He added: “This project will help create a more integrated transport network in Edinburgh and beyond, benefitting communities such as Stenhouse, Saughton and Sighthill, as well as our world-class universities.”
“Active travel is a vital part of the Scottish Government’s transport strategy – and the funding for the West Edinburgh Active Travel Network will be a great boost to people across Edinburgh as we seek to become a more active nation and society.”
City centre councillor Claire Miller said: “Edinburgh needs more good quality infrastructure for cycling and walking and cycle routes being linked up through the city centre is fantastic news.”