Edinburgh to get miles of new bike lanes

52 miles of new bike lanes are due to be added to Edinburgh over the next five years, adding to the already existing 131 miles of paths and 22 miles of Travelling Safely routes that cover the city. 

Among the new routes, Meadows to George Street is planned to go from Teviot Place to George Street. 

Another will be the City Centre West to East Link, which will go from Roseburn to Leith Walk through the city centre. 

They will be included in a £118 million travel project in this time period. The project will also include lowered curbs and raised crossways, which raise the level of the road up to the pavement to assist pedestrians. 

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The council will be responsible for less than 20 percent of the cost. Other agencies will assist in the funding, including the Scottish government, which will pay £80 million in funding. 

According to Edinburgh City Council, the paths and improved public spaces will help children on the way to school. 

Councillor Lesley Macinnes’ pride in the program can be perceived when she complemented the project for “lowering carbon emissions, promoting healthier lifestyles and creating safer streets.”

Councillor Karan Doran said of the initiative:  

“We have the opportunity to transform the way we travel around the city, and really support those who have embraced walking and cycling over the last 18 months. I’m excited to see our ambitious programme of investment take shape over the coming years, and the positive impact it will have on all those who live, work and visit here.”

When asked whether the new bike lanes would improve cycling conditions in the city, Gabor, a first year student studying Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE), told The Student

“Yeah for sure. I don’t like biking with cars, really. You never know. Some people don’t look in their mirrors. In a bike lane, not only do you feel safer, but they also are more aware that there are bikers here. On the road, there are no bike lanes. They don’t expect you there.” 

This sentiment was not shared by all. 

An anonymous postgraduate biker was more skeptical when he said to The Student

“I think it’s going to be difficult because the existing lanes honestly are not functional because they are not really in the center of the city. They are on the outskirts, and if you need your bike to move within the center, you have to compete with the cars. I don’t know how that’s going to work.”

Non-bikers also had their own thoughts on the situation and it appears that their decision not to use a bicycle is generally not impacted by the project. Zeyu, a PhD student, told The Student that the new lanes have “no influence on me. Edinburgh is so mountainous that I am afraid I would not ride a cycle here.” 

In the end, whether these new lanes will actually end up increasing the number of student cyclists remains to be seen.

Image: Chris Wright