Supporters move bike 'corridor' a step closer

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A NEW £300,000 bike "corridor" for the south of the city has moved a step closer after winning public support.

The route, which will link Edinburgh University's George Square and King's Buildings campuses, is among a range of measures set to be taken by council bosses as they work towards ambitious targets for promoting cycling in the city.

A public consultation by the city council found that 75 per cent of respondents supported the scheme.

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, but almost 20 per cent of those working or studying at King's Buildings travel there by bike.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city's transport convener, said: "Having gained committee approval, in principle, for the scheme, we invited comment from members of the public and other interested bodies. From the response, it was clear that we have strong support for the scheme, over three-quarters of respondents were in favour, but also that there are a number of elements that still require more work."

He added: "I look forward to reviewing the revised proposals with the local ward councillors and to work beginning on this scheme as soon as possible."

Officials hope to make cycling a more attractive option by improving safety for those on two wheels, based on evidence from elsewhere in Europe showing it to be the most effective way of getting people out of cars. However, the cycle lanes are unlikely to be continuous, due to the need for parking and loading space.

London has already launched its own "cycle superhighway", a blue path which cuts through parts of the English capital.

The council hopes the scheme will include the creation of a northbound lane between West Mayfield and Duncan Street to help protect people cycling uphill where there is a large difference in the speed between them and cars.

There are also plans to introduce traffic measures on roads which link to the cycle corridor, including George IV Bridge and Melville Drive.

Edinburgh is the only UK city to have signed up to the Charter of Brussels, a commitment to cycling which would see bikes account for 15 per cent of all journeys in Edinburgh by 2020.

However, cyclists last year criticised a decision by council bosses to put the brakes on a bike share scheme.

Council sources insisted the scheme was not a "dead duck", adding that discussions were under way with potential advertisers who could help fund the project.