Celebrating the Gilmerton to Roslin QuietRoute
Representatives from Edinburgh and Midlothian today jointly celebrated the success of a £1.9m cross-boundary cycle and walking route ahead of National Cycle to Work Day 2016.
Funded jointly by the City of Edinburgh Council, Sustrans Scotland, Transport Scotland and Midlothian Council, Route 61 has proved popular with commuters, recreational users and dog walkers since it was completed in December 2015.
Route 61 forms part of Edinburgh's QuietRoutes, a network of cycle routes for younger, new or less confident cyclists.
It consists of a new tarmac path along a former rail line from the existing Roslin cycle path to Lasswade Road, with a widened shared footway/cycleway alongside Lasswade Road, which has been reduced to a 40mph speed limit. There is route direction signage at frequent intervals.
Highlights along the way include Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin Glen and the Bilston Glen viaduct.
The route offers safer and more attractive cycling and walking access to leisure, retail, and business destinations including the City of Edinburgh, Straiton Pond, Straiton Retail Park, Edgfield and Bilston Industrial Estates.
It also provides new recreational, utility and commuter opportunities for people in communities along the route (including Burdiehouse. Liberton, Gilmerton, Danderhall, Loanhead, Straiton, Roslin and The Bush).
Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: "It's such a pleasure to come and see how popular and well-used this great new route is, connecting south Edinburgh with Midlothian and providing an easy and accessible path for pedestrians and bike-users across the bypass, which we know can seem like a bit of a barrier for active travel.
"This project wouldn't have been possible without the support and cooperation of all the partners and it stands as a great example of what can be achieved if organisations pull together.
"The City of Edinburgh Council is committed to investing in active travel and we want to encourage as many people as possible to discover our excellent and growing network of QuietRoutes. Getting out into the fresh air either on foot or by bike is a fantastic way to unwind, get some exercise and enjoy our beautiful city region."
Daisy Narayanan, Acting Director, Sustrans Scotland said: “Sustrans Scotland is delighted to see people out walking and cycling along the Gilmerton to Roslin path. We contributed funding towards the construction of this route through our Community Links Programme, which is funded by Transport Scotland, and provides investment for the creation of cycling and walking network infrastructure for everyday journeys.
“This project offers an excellent off-road route which connects the communities of Roslin, Loanhead and Straiton between Edinburgh and Midlothian and also to the wider active travel network in the area. It is a great example of partnership working with various organisations which can be used by locals and visitors to travel either on foot or by bike for more of their daily trips.”
Councillor Derek Rosie, Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for commercial services, said: “This project to construct a cycleway on the former railway line between the Edinburgh City Bypass and Lasswade Road in order to connect the two Council areas, is a great example of cross-boundary cooperation. Midlothian Council, with the assistance of funding partners, constructed the initial 3.8 kilometre cycleway between Edinburgh’s boundary at the City Bypass and Roslin Institute over several years at a cost of approximately £700,000.
"The route is off-road, tarred, has street lighting and is ideal for families and less confident cyclists. In the longer term it is hoped the route can be extended to Penicuik, Gilmerton and Shawfair and will form part of Edinburgh and Midlothian’s future cycle networks connecting to local communities, local amenities and economic sites.”
The City of Edinburgh Council's aspiration is for 15% of all commuter journeys to be made by bike by 2020. More than half of all Capital residents live in households that own a bike and 16.5m cycle trips are made annually.
IT technician James Hatfield uses the path every day to cycle from his Auchendinny home to the Standard Life offices at Lothian Road. He said: “I use the path regularly for my commute and it has been a game changer being able to avoid Straiton and the ring road junctions.”
Iain Twaddle, a qualified Trail Cycle Leader who lives locally at The Murrays, said: “I’ve used the new route and I think it’s an excellent addition to the cycle network in this area. My wife enjoyed her first outing on her new bike last week cycling out to Roslin and beyond.”
Funding for the Gilmerton to Roslin route came from City of Edinburgh Council (£784,000), Midlothian Council (c. £700,000) and Sustrans Scotland (£407,000).