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Edinburgh could get 20-mile 'emerald necklace'

More cycling routes around the capital

Edinburgh could be getting around 20 miles of tree-lined cycling and walking routes along established thoroughfares as part of a series of green corridors linking the Scottish capital's parks and gardens in a new vision to overhaul the city centre, according to The Scotsman newspaper.

The green corridors will boast plants and floral displays and would be created to link the Meadows, Princes Street Gardens, Calton Hill, Queen Street Gardens and Holyrood Park. The venture seeks to emulate the Emerald Necklace created in Boston, Massachusetts, in the late 19th century, which has been given a makeover in the past ten years.

The city council and Edinburgh World Heritage are discussing plans to carry out the project in phases over the next few years. Although the goal would be to create traffic-free corridors, like Middle Meadow Walk, the council is likely to insist that routes are able to accommodate at least buses and taxis.

Senior council officials believe Princes Street, George Street, Rose Street and surrounding thoroughfares are the best options to launch the project, because of the changes in traffic flow that the city's forthcoming tram system will trigger.

Boston's Emerald Necklace consists of an 1,100-acre chain of nine parks linked by parkways and waterways, originally conceived back in 1875.

Edinburgh World Heritage has offered to co-ordinate fundraising efforts to kick-start the first green corridors.

Transport chiefs in Edinburgh are implementing a range of measures as council bosses work towards ambitious targets for promoting cycling in the city, including a £150,000 cycle "corridor" across the south of the city to link Edinburgh University's George Square and King's Buildings campuses.

The council has committed itself to a goal of 15 per cent of all journeys in the city to be by bike within the next ten years. The figure currently stands at around four per cent for commuters across the city, but almost 20 per cent of those working or studying at King's Buildings travel there by bicycle.



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