Edinburgh Council is to begin consultation on a proposed cycle route which would link the east and west of the city. However, one campaigner has said that the ‘family-friendly’ cycleway is symptomatic of a view that cycling is only a leisure activity and not a primary form of transport.
The proposed cycle route would link the Roseburn path to Leith Walk via George Street, which currently forms part of National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 1.
Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “This route is key to our commitment to ensure safe and easy cycling across the city, and will provide an essential link to our extensive network of routes. I look forward to hearing what the public think of our proposals and would encourage anyone interested to submit their feedback.”
Project consultants have predicted an approximate increase in cycle use of 88 per cent in the corridor served by the route, amounting to a 16 per cent increase in overall cycle use in the city.
There has already been a year-long trial of a two-way cycle lane and one-way system on George Street and while cycle group Spokes felt it had been a success, Kim Harding, one of the co-founders of Pedal on Parliament, said it was the wrong road to use.
"Once again they are wedded to the idea of sending cyclists along George Street, rather than along Princes Street which is the route which most people want to use. During the George Street trial, more people were cycling along Princes Street than George Street, even though Princes Street is a bus-clogged hell hole. The fundamental problem is that cycling is still seen as a leisure activity and not as a primary form of transport.
"While there are signs of progress, the council is continuing its long history of ignoring best practice and wasting money by building badly-designed infrastructure, and often in the wrong place. Hopefully they will one day get it right."
Work is currently underway to investigate funding options for the scheme. If approved by councillors at a meeting on Tuesday October 27, plans will be put to the public for feedback. People will be able to have their say via drop-in sessions at venues along the route, briefings to various groups and an online survey.