Initiatives to make Edinburgh a better city for ‘active travel’ will be considered by councillors this week, with cycling set to recieve a considerable chunk of the council’s transport budget. Inspired by Olympic success, there’s been a sharp rise in bike ownership over the last month so the measures are likely to prove popular with the Edinburgh public.
An extra dedicated cycling officer will also be appointed to take forward the design and construction of schemes that are already in the pipeline.
A further £460,000 will be spent on routine maintenance of cycle routes and on marketing and promotion. This year the Council has also attracted £425,000 of matching funding for cycle projects from the Scottish Government via Sustrans.
Councillor Jim Orr, vice-convener of the Transport committee, said: “This programme is evidence of the capital coalition’s commitment to making it easier, safer and more attractive for people to cycle and walk in Edinburgh. It represents a record investment by the Council with 5% of our total transport budget going on cycling, and we believe this is more than any other Scottish authority in both total and per head spend. Encouraging active travel makes sense for environmental, health and traffic reasons, but Edinburgh is also a fantastic city to explore on foot or two wheels. Our investment will make the most of that.”
There will be further spending on promoting walking, with a new post focussed on improving design for pedestrians and upgrading popular routes.
The measures form part of the Council’s Active Travel action plan, which was drawn up in 2010 with NHS Lothian, walking charity Living Streets, Sustrans and the city’s leading cycling group Spokes, among others. The Council’s progress will be measured under Scottish and European schemes to promote cycling, as well as annual reports to the Transport committee.
Edinburgh’s own Sir Chris Hoy’s herculean Olympic exploits have doubtless encouraged many more citizens to get on their bikes. Yesterday council leader Andrew Burns was joined by Inverleith councillor Nigel Bagshaw and Forth’s Cammy Day among others on the freshnlo Pedal for Scotland Glasgow to Edinburgh charity cycle – his tenth in a row! It seems the capital’s gone cycle crazy!
8500 cyclists registered for yesterday’s Pedal for Scotland event which was started by cycling star Mark beaumont and Scottish Transport minister Keith Brown