Funding bid to help improve Leith Walk for pedestrians and cyclists

Following public feedback, the Council is set to seek funding from Sustrans in order to help improve provision for cyclists and pedestrians in Leith Walk.

 The Leith Programme currently has a £5.5m budget for a raft of environmental improvements to Leith Walk, Constitution Street and Picardy Place.

Members of the Transport and Environment Committee will receive an update report on The Leith Programme on 19 March 2013, with recommendations to seek additional funding for a more enhanced scheme.

This follows extensive consultation on a set of preliminary designs to gather views on a range of environmental improvements.

The Council has been delighted with the quality of feedback received through consultation, which highlighted a range of design concepts that could improve the scheme.

These included ideas for more significant enhancements between Pilrig Street and Picardy Place at the southern end of Leith Walk, making it easier for pedestrians to cross at key points and safer for cyclists using the route.

These enhancements are beyond the initial budget allocation for the scheme, and as a result, officers are now working to explore possible options to extend the scheme to include these additional elements.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport and Environment Convener, said: "We had some very useful feedback in our consultation and one of the main things people are keen to see in the final design is for pedestrians and cyclists to be better accommodated. The most challenging section for us in terms of delivering this is at the southern end, around London Road.

"We recognise the Scottish Government's commitment to sustainable and active travel and our aim is to work with the Government to deliver the best possible improvements that we can to Leith Walk while we have this unique opportunity to do so."

If funding is found, the enhancements would be the first step in delivering a longer term, more strategic vision for sustainable transport along the entire route from Leith to the city centre.

Future priority would include dovetailing with developments such as the cycling route on George Street and the accessible entrance to Waverley train station which is being developed on Calton Road.

The first phase of the Leith Programme, involving utilities infrastructure works, got underway last week.

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