City pledges £1.2m for cycling infrastructure

Council chiefs hope to create a network of cycle paths from Roseburn to Leith, and to the Union Canal. Picture: Rob McDougall
Council chiefs hope to create a network of cycle paths from Roseburn to Leith, and to the Union Canal. Picture: Rob McDougall
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MORE than £1.2 million will be ploughed into the Capital’s cycling infrastructure this year as plans are developed for a bike corridor cutting through the heart of the city.

Council chiefs will splash out £300,000 on two feasibility studies looking into the creation of a network stretching from Roseburn to Leith and a similar path linking Roseburn to the Union Canal.

Other projects lined up include the renewal of cycle path surfaces and improvements to Leith Walk.

The spending commitment was today hailed by cycling campaigners and city chiefs alike as an ambitious target to have 15 per cent of all journeys taken on two wheels by 2020 rides into focus.

Ian Maxwell of campaign group Spokes said: “We welcome the fact that further progress will be made on routes through the city centre, which is needed to fully join up the cycle network.

“This will make a crucial difference in persuading people to ride bikes, if they see they can ride through town in a safe manner.

“However, it’s not just a case of throwing money at it, there needs to be political will, too – that is what the real commitment entails. A number of these measures such as the east/west cycle lane will be difficult and face opposition as it requires taking space from other traffic, so the council’s commitment will be tested.”

The planned child-friendly bike corridor linking Roseburn and Leith, via George Street, is estimated to cost £7m.

For this year, a total of £305,000 has been set aside for projects such as improved street lighting and gully clearing on key cycle routes.

A further £130,000 has been earmarked for Neighbourhood Partnerships to spend on small-scale cycling projects in their communities.

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds pledged back in February that seven per cent of the city’s budget would be invested in cycling.

She said: “We are very pleased to be able to increase our funding for cycling annually, which will help us to encourage more people in the city to take it up.

“We have pledged to promote active travel and sustainable transport, so by investing in cycling infrastructure we aim to make it more accessible to everyone and many of the improvements will also enhance facilities for pedestrians.

“Our seven per cent budget commitment will allow us to carry out numerous valuable cycling improvements and developments around the city.”

Sara Dorman, of the Pedal on Parliament campaign, said cyclists knew where investment was needed.

She said: “This is to be welcomed but cyclists should be consulted on any measures to be introduced as otherwise money can be just wasted.

“Take for instance the type of tactile surfacing introduced by the council in the Meadows recently, or the introduction of chicanes which only create conflict between cyclists and walkers.”