Edinburgh to deliver 50 miles of protected cycle routes over the next five years

An updated five-year programme of investment will see more than £117m invested in schemes to help people walk, wheel and cycle in Edinburgh.

Under the Active Travel Investment Programme (ATINP), the city council will deliver over 85km (52 miles) of additional safe, protected cycle routes – the equivalent of a trip from Edinburgh to Aberfeldy. These measures, which are already in the pipeline, will help children to walk, cycle and wheel to many of the city’s schools and provide significant improvements to public spaces, pavements and paths.

The ATINP supports the council’s Active Travel Action Plan (ATAP), which sets out a high-level framework for delivering a walking, wheeling and cycling-friendly city. A new ATAP, covering the period to 2030, is currently under development and is expected to be completed in summer 2022 similarly to Glasgow’s Active Travel Strategy published last week.

The City of Edinburgh Council will pay for less than 20% of the ATINP as most of the funding is secured from external sources, with more than £80m committed by the Scottish Government via Sustrans. A report to be considered by the Transport and Environment Committee this week covers a review of the ATINP. It aligns the plans with a Sustrans budget review as well as the delivery of Council projects and priorities. Changes in travel behaviour relating to the Covid pandemic are also examined, taking into account the temporary measures introduced under Spaces for People, now Travelling Safely.

In addition to several major projects to transform the city, like City Centre West East Link and Meadows to George Street, the ATINP will increase spending on key improvements to prioritise travel by foot, wheel or bike. This includes the installation of dropped kerbs and citywide bike parking.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “Supporting people to walk, wheel or bike around Edinburgh is essential for urgently lowering carbon emissions, promoting healthier lifestyles and creating safer streets. Our package of significant investment will kick-start a shift change in the delivery of schemes designed to help achieve this.

“The ATINP drives forward an ambitious programme of improvements which will, for the first time, lead to a truly connected network of protected walking and cycling routes, helping people get from A to B safely, quickly and conveniently. There is an urgency to this which many people already recognise.”

Councillor Karen Doran, Transport and Environment Vice Convener, said: “As we emerge from the Covid pandemic we have the opportunity to transform the way we travel around the city, and really support those who have embraced, or rediscovered, 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.”

The 85km of cycling improvements planned over the next five years will add to 211km of existing off-road, quality signed walking and cycling paths and our 36km of Travelling Safely routes, creating, for the first time, a comprehensive network spanning the city. As part of this, the council will be delivering improvements near more than a third of the city’s schools, helping children and families travel by foot, wheel or bike.

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