Major new £500,000 cycle route to be wheeled out through city

PLANS have been unveiled for a major new cycle route, which will connect the city centre with south Edinburgh.

The substantial project will see new lanes added to main throughfares from George VI Bridge to Edinburgh University’s King’s Buildings and be complemented by a series of traffic measures to aid cyclists.

The £540,000 scheme has been greatly expanded since it was first proposed and was originally set to cost just £150,000.

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However, a public consultation process found there was significant demand from local residents, along with support from Edinburgh University and its students’ association.

More than 75 per cent of those involved in the consultation supported or strongly supported it, with the most common comment being that safety should be improved.

All but half a mile of the route will become a 20mph zone to improve safety for bike users, and it will feature enhanced lanes.

A series of traffic calming measures, including new crossings at Mayfield Road and West Mains Road, new islands at Summerhall on the Meadows, and a cycle stop outside the Hotel Missoni, will be put in place.

Councillor Alastair Paisley, a keen cyclist who backs the scheme, said: “We have something similar to this in my ward, Fairmilehead, where you come down along the Water of Leith and all the way to Heriot-Watt University.

“This is a welcome addition to cycling in the city and I’m happy to support that.

“At the same time with cyclists using the main routes even more I would like to see more of them abide by the Highway Code when it comes to mixing with traffic, because you do get those who skip ahead through the red lights.”

The project runs through Southside and Newington, which are heavily populated by students, and these areas already have higher than average levels of cycling.

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An estimated 12 per cent of journeys to work in the area are currently made by bike, far higher than the Scottish average of one per cent.

Roughly £90,000 of the cost will come from the Scottish Government, while the remainder will come from the council’s own transport budget.

A city council spokeswoman said: “It’s great that we are getting close now to implementing this important new bike corridor in south Edinburgh, especially as this area is home to a very sizeable proportion of people who commute by bike.”