Green travel schemes win £22.5m backing from Transport Scotland

A dedicated cycle path running through the historic centre of the Scottish capital is among a handful of projects that will share the multi-million-pound prize in a major design competition.

Five innovative active travel schemes from around Scotland have been picked to receive funding covering half of their costs as part of the Community Links Plus competition, run by the charity Sustrans Scotland.

This year for the first time all the shortlisted contenders will receive funding.

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Two of the successful projects are based in Edinburgh, with others in Glasgow, Stirling and Inverness. Between them they will receive grants totalling £22,540,360 from government agency Transport Scotland.

“Funding all five final projects is a bold step towards a healthier, more sustainable and vibrant Scotland which designs places around the needs of people over vehicular access,” said Daisy Narayanan, deputy director for built environment at Sustrans Scotland.

“These five exemplar projects will demonstrate the wide ranging benefits that well designed places bring, such as boosting footfall for local business, improving the health of local people and creating safer environments that are more pleasant to live in and move through.”

Announcing the awards, Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “Through the Community Links Plus award people will be able to enjoy new active travel routes and, whether it is for commuting or leisure, more people across Scotland will be able to enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport.”

Edinburgh city councillors have welcomed the decision.

“We are absolutely delighted that not one but two City of Edinburgh Council active travel projects have been awarded this vitally important funding,” said transport convener Lesley Macinnes.

“As the fastest growing city in Scotland – and second fastest in the UK – it’s critical that we put people at the very heart of our transport infrastructure.

“Making Edinburgh as easy as possible to get around on foot, by bike and by public transport helps everyone in this city.

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“It will greatly improve residents’ and visitors’ health and well-being, reduce frustrating traffic congestion and harmful pollution and send a clear signal to the world that the capital is a people-friendly place where all road users are equally as important.”

The successful projects are: City of Edinburgh Council’s West Edinburgh Active Travel Network, which proposes to create a 1.5km cycle and walking route connecting the university and some of the city’s most deprived communities, and the Meadows to George Street project, which will create a safe cycle link between the Old and New Towns; Glasgow City Council’s Woodside Mini-Holland, which takes inspiration from the Netherlands and proposes to deliver a cycle-friendly neighbourhood in the Woodside community; Highland Council’s Inverness City Active Travel Network, which aims to strengthen connections between all of the city’s communities and the centre and segregated cycle-friendly routes along key routes; and Stirling Council’s Walk, Cycle, Live, which aims to improve the environment and streetscape along the A811, including an expanded pedestrianised area.