A BELEAGUERED stretch of the Capital’s cycle network is to undergo a “significant” upgrade to encourage more people to get on their bikes.
North Meadow Walk – one of the busiest cycle paths in the city – has been earmarked for the investment, having fallen into disrepair.
Markings on the route have been worn away, confusing both cyclists and pedestrians, and in some parts the path is so narrow it is difficult for cyclists to pass each other.
The Evening News understands around £360,000 is to be invested in the project, which is expected to include new lighting and resurfacing work.
Councillor Jim Orr, vice-convener of the council’s transport, infrastructure and environment committee, said: “We plan to significantly improve the cycle track up to the standard of Middle Meadow Walk and hope to have this done around May and June.
“This is part of a wider plan to connect the canal to the Innocent Railway as part of a ‘family network’ running all over Edinburgh.”
The majority of the cost is to be match-funded by the sustainable transport charity Sustrans.
Cllr Orr said: “The total sum is not yet finalised but it will be several hundred thousand pounds and we will ensure that value for money is obtained.
“Cycling provision is improving year on year in Edinburgh and this will encourage even more city residents get out of their cars and on to their bikes.
“Our target is 15 per cent of journeys to work by bike by 2020. It’s ambitious but we think we can do it.”
In 2009, a revamp of nearby Middle Meadow Walk was completed. The £300,000 project saw resurfacing of the northern part of the walk, with improvements to the path’s junction with North Meadow Walk and Jawbone Walk.
Ian Maxwell, of the Lothian cycle campaign Spokes, said of the planned upgrade: “It’s very welcome because it is a very busy route. At the moment, the quality of the surface is not wonderful and there’s various problems that could be solved quite easily.
“It will mean there will be less conflict between cyclists and pedestrians on the path. There are some areas where the markings are worn away and it is not clear where everybody should be.
“It’s very narrow and I don’t know how much they will be able to do about that, but at least if the quality of the surface is improved that will help quite considerably.
“It’s one of the most heavily used parts of the cycling network and that justifies the money being invested in it.”
IN November, a city centre bicycle route which forced cyclists into dangerous traffic was branded a waste of money.
The near two-mile Quality Bike Corridor project, linking George IV Bridge to Edinburgh University’s King’s Buildings, was launched by city council chiefs who spent £650,000 on the scheme.
The criticism came just days after a major cycling conference in city where Dutch officials offered tips about how to improve cycling.