City puts wheels in motion to link busiest cycleways

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WORK to connect two of the city’s busiest cycleways began yesterday as it emerged similar links were planned for other parts of the Capital.

The Quality Bike Corridor, running between The Mound and the King’s Buildings campus in the south of the city, aims to speed up commuter times for cyclists by extending bike lanes.

The moves will also see increased parking and loading restrictions to stop motorists blocking the route.

It will provide access to a Sustrans national cycle network that runs from Dover in England to the Shetlands.

Three new sections of bus lane will be created as part of the project, which should slash journey times and improve reliability for public transport users.

Figures for the Southside and Newington show that nearly 12 per cent of journeys to work are now being made by bike.

Transport convener Gordon MacKenzie said most accidents involving cyclists occurred on arterial roads and it is hoped this new corridor will help reduce accident rates.

“This joins two of the busiest cycling areas in Edinburgh and the hope is that it will encourage even more people to get on their bikes,” he said.

“Currently, around 20 per cent of people going to King’s Buildings are going there on bike, which is a very high percentage compared to other destinations around Edinburgh.

Asked if this could be the first of a series of cycle-friendly corridors in Edinburgh, Councillor MacKenzie said: “Yes, there will be plans put together for other bike corridors but it depends on the circumstances.

“A lot of our main roads go through areas which have lots of local shops so a balance must be struck between the need for shops to thrive and providing safer routes for cyclists. But where possible we would be looking to roll out more of these.”

It is understood that additional “quality bike corridors” are being considered at Craiglockhart and from London Road to the A1.

Marshall Poulton, head of transport at the City Chambers, said: “The council is committed to helping encourage residents to find healthy and environmentally friendly ways of getting around.”

The council has committed to spending nearly £2 million of its transport budget improving the cycling environment.

Work on the first phase of the project is due to be completed by June and the second phase – launching this summer – will see improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at the junction outside King’s Buildings.