Cycling boost for Edinburgh with new dedicated bike route
Cyclists in the Capital have given a warm welcome to a new 3km bike route since its recent completion.The on-road route, known as a Quality Bike Corridor, runs from the King's Buildings Campus in South Edinburgh to George IV Bridge in the city centre and was today formally launched by the Council and its Active Travel Action Plan partners Sustrans and the University of Edinburgh.
In 2012, the Council upgraded the 3km route, which has long been popular with students and commuters, by providing new or enhanced bus and cycle lanes, changes to the parking and loading restrictions, and route signage.
The total cost of the scheme was £650,000, of which £250,000 came from the Scottish Government's Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets (CWSS) initiative with a further £100,000 contribution from Sustrans.
The project's aims were to:
- improve the safety and attractiveness of the corridor for cyclists
- improve bus priority
- address demand for kerbside parking and loading
In addition, a less-trafficked alternative is also provided, and this forms part of Edinburgh's family friendly network - details of this can be found at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/activetravel. A connection to Pollock Halls will also be signed; and the route links to National Cycle Routes 1 and 75 via George IV Bridge.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener for the City of Edinburgh, said: "Today is an important milestone in our shared ambition through the Active Travel Action Plan of making cycling as safe and appealing as we can to commuters and cyclists of all ages. We know that Southside and Newington already has an above average number of journeys made by bike (some 12%), and this new corridor will no doubt encourage even more people to take to two wheels. The work to improve the bus lanes will also be welcomed by commuters as this will increase the reliability of local bus services."
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "Edinburgh already has an admirable reputation on cycling and the upgrading of this key route will enhance that further.
"I've been working closely with the cycling community in recent months to find out their views on how we can encourage more people in Scotland to experience the benefits of cycling. What has been clear is that all the partners, including the Scottish Government, want to continue to show joint leadership in doing all we can to improve the cycling infrastructure.
"That's why the Scottish Government was keen to inject the £250,000 funding into this project and I am delighted to see it opening now."
Sustrans Scotland Director John Lauder said: "Sustrans is delighted to see this next piece of the cycling jigsaw in Edinburgh fixed into place. The city's aim to have an excellent cycle network to help people to choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and wellbeing is spot on. The council's plan for cycling is excellent and will deliver real and positive change to the City. Sustrans is delighted to be working with the council on this and other projects."
Emma Crowther, Transport and Parking Manager for the University of Edinburgh, said: "Cycling is an increasingly popular way to travel for our staff and students, and we support and encourage them to do so with cycle parking facilities, training and advice. The route between King's Buildings and Potterrow is particularly busy with cyclists, and the Quality Bike Corridor provides on-road cycling facilities which will help to make cycling easier and safer. To tie in with the Quality Bike Corridor the University has invested in a new entrance to the King's Buildings providing much improved pedestrian and cycle access."
Ian Maxwell from Spokes said: "Spokes welcomes this latest bit of progress towards achieving the aim of makng Edinburgh a truly cycle friendly city. This is already a busy route for cyclists, and we hope that now it is a Quality Bike Corridor the Council will work out ways to ensure that the cycle lanes are kept free of parked cars and the surface remains of a high quality."