Proposed designs unveiled for next phase of Leith Walk improvements

Designs are now in development for the next phase of a major programme of investment into Leith Walk.

Proposed plans to improve Leith Walk between Pilrig Street and McDonald Road as part of the Leith Programme can now be viewed online.

An update to the street’s layout will aim to enhance the area for pedestrians and cyclists and includes a segregated off-road cycle lane on both sides of the road.

It will also prioritise public transport needs while retaining loading and some parking bays.

Design proposals for the forthcoming phase of work have been developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, and build on previous consultation findings for the Leith Programme.

This phase of work will follow the completion of improvements to the Foot of the Walk, scheduled for the end of May, which have seen the redesign of the junction between Leith Walk, Duke Street, Great Junction Street and Constitution Street.

It will also complement recent changes to Leith’s Kirkgate area, which included the addition of trees, lighting and new seating arrangements, as well as the removal of the tusk feature outside the New Kirkgate shopping centre.

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “The Leith Programme has already made a real impact on the area’s environment, and we’ve received lots of great feedback from businesses and residents to demonstrate this.

“Now we’re excited to begin planning for the next phase, which will vastly improve Leith Walk for cyclists of all abilities. I am all too aware of the challenges facing cyclists on a daily basis and this new design will provide a much safer, accessible route.”

John Lauder, National Director of Sustrans Scotland added: “Sustrans is fully engaged in the City of Edinburgh Council’s plans for Leith Walk. We are supporting the designs, with funding from Transport Scotland, that we feel will make Leith Walk a better place to live, shop and work. The designs that have been delivered so far give the Walk more of a High Street feel and make it feel safer and calmer, complementary to the city’s bold plans for 20mph streets and to have 15% of commuting trips to be made by bicycle by 2020.

“The infrastructure improvements on Leith Walk are an important development in enhancing a major city street for walking and cycling, in line with the City of Edinburgh Council’s aspirations for increased active travel.”

Harald Tobermann of Leith Central Community Council added: "On behalf of Leith Central Community Council, I welcome the fact that Phase 4 designs for the long overdue refurbishment and improvement works to Leith Walk from south of Iona Street to McDonald Road junction are finally in the pipeline, albeit at a slower pace than we would wish to see. 

"We will continue to contribute to the difficult process of refining the proposed design for Phase 4, while keeping an eye on a keen implementation timeline. In parallel, we will continue to press for the works south of McDonald Road to the top of Leith Walk to be progressed and prioritised in line with the needs of the residents, businesses, relevant public institutions and road users of the most densely populated area in Scotland."

First approved in 2012, the programme involves essential works to upgrade junction signals and road surfacing alongside improvements to the streetscape and facilities for cyclists between the Old Dock Gates on Constitution Street and Picardy Place.

The £9.1m scheme has benefitted from Scottish Government funding, granted through Sustrans Scotland, for the delivery of an enhanced design, providing significant provision for pedestrians and cyclists.

The statutory consultation on proposed designs will begin in late June and in advance of that,a drop-in session for anyone interested will be held in McDonald Road Library’s Nelson Hall on Thursday 11 June from 4pm to 8pm.

Find out more about the Leith Programme.

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