Greener Leith use leaked documents in fight to get cycle lanes on Leith Walk
19 November 2012, 01.50 AM
For months the environmental and community blog Greener Leith has been campaigning to get proper segregated cycle lanes included in the planned re-modelling and re-surfacing of Leith Walk. In a recent survey of local opinion called a Vision for Leith Walk, this proved the most popular idea.
Despite having a budget of £5.5 million to spend on the work, the council have been resistant to the idea of segregated lanes, saying that it would be too costly and complicated. But they had drafted more modest plans for a protected cycle lane from Pilrig Street to Picardy Place, which were shown to community groups including Greener Leith in September.
Now, In the latest stage of the campaign, Greener Leith have published leaked council documents that they say show that the that even this modest cycle lane is being scaled back. Apparently the only protected cycle lane will be between the two roundabouts at the top of Leith Walk – a distance of about 100 metres.
This comes only a few days after the city hosted the Dutch Ambassador at the annual Cycling Scotland Conference – at which City council cycling leader Councillor Jim Orr told delegates that Edinburgh should look to the Netherlands for inspiration in meeting its goal of boosting cycling rates.
Yet as this video shows, Holland invested massively in segregated cycling infrastructure, starting in the 1970s, following mass public protests over deaths of cyclists on the roads.
Setting an example for the city
In my personal opinion, whilst what happens with Leith Walk may be most important to Leithers, really this is a issue of citywide importance. Leith Walk is going to be remodelled and resurfaced anyway – but this could be an exemplar route to see how good cycling infrastructure can change an area for the better, and help show us how we could trasform other areas of the city in the future.
And whilst the council may not have budget for the more complicated options, there may be creative but cheaper ways to create a safe cycling route - such as one side of Leith Walk having a much wider cycling and pedestrian pavement.
If you'd like to show your support for Greener Leith's campaign, you can email SNP Councillor Jim Orr firstname.lastname@example.org or Labour Councillor Lesley Hinds, the Transport Convenor email@example.com
Alternatively, if you'd like to make a comment below, we'll make sure they get forwarded on to the council.