Controversial city cycle link gets green light
A controversial city-wide cycle link has been given the go-ahead by councillors – despite objections by local traders and community councils. Members of the Council’s Transport and Environment Committee yesterdayrejected community concerns and instead agreed to proceed with ‘an ambitious project to create a family-friendly west to east cycle route through the city centre’.
The City Centre West to East Cycle Link and Street Improvements project aims to create a largely protected cycle way to and through the city centre, providing a crucial link from existing QuietRoutes in north and west Edinburgh to Leith Walk and intended to encourage many more commuters to choose to travel into town by bike instead of by car, reducing congestion and contributing to improved air quality as well as boosting health and fitness.
A new working group is being set up to help resolve outstanding design issues with the plans. Meanwhile work will start immediately to secure further funding and to make preparations to commence the necessary statutory processes for the scheme.
The Council’s Transport and Environment Committee voted to create the new stakeholder group, whose members will include the Transport Convener and Vice Convener, the transport representatives of the other political groups, local ward members, relevant local groups and selected officers.
A motion put forward by the Capital Coalition acknowledged “a strong division of opinion on the two options for the Roseburn area – with the majority of ‘Active Travel Forum’ members supporting Option A” and a “strong preference for Option B amongst local businesses and Community Councils”.
The stakeholder group’s discussions on this aspect and other outstanding design issues will be reported to the Future Transport Working Group, chaired by the Transport Convener and held in public, for a final decision under the delegated authority of the Executive Director of Place.
In approving the Capital Coalition motion, members agreed that this group “will also act as a ‘sounding board’ throughout the detailed design and eventual statutory processes”.
Transport Convener Cllor Lesley Hinds said: “We remain 100% committed to delivering this bold and transformational project, which will make it so much easier to cycle into and through the city centre by linking up with our already well-used cycle routes across the north and west of Edinburgh.
“Given the strength of feeling out there about certain aspects of the plans, there’s clearly still work to be done before the final route design is agreed.
“This new stakeholder group will allow all interested parties to get round the table and thrash out the remaining issues, listening to each other’s points of view and – hopefully – arriving at a conclusion which the majority are happy with so that the final route design can be agreed.”