City plans £150k cycle corridor to change habits of commuters

TRANSPORT chiefs are set to spend up to £150,000 creating a "corridor" of bus and cycle lanes across the south of the Capital.

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.

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.

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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 bike.

A report to the council's transport committee sets out a number of proposals to meet its target, including more bus and cycle lanes on the route.

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 their cars. However, the cycle lanes are unlikely to be continuous, due to the need for space for parking and loading.

Gary Bell, of cycling campaign group Spokes, said a similar idea for "cycle superhighways" was being tried out in London.

He said: "Clearly, ideas like this make it easier for people to cycle and that's something we're very much in favour of.

"Evidence indicates that when we get more people cycling, the number of accidents comes down because drivers are more used to seeing people on bikes and they think 'hang on, that's my neighbour – I better not get too close'."

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 and buses. There are also plans to introduce traffic measures on roads which link to the cycle corridor, including George IV Bridge and Melville Drive, but further details of these are not known at this stage.

Transport convener Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, said: "Major investment into schemes such as this demonstrate this council's ongoing commitment to reducing accidents on our roads – and to meeting the ambitious targets laid down in the Charter of Brussels."