Transport minster Keith Brown used today’s cycling summit in Edinburgh to announce £3.6 million to improve cycling on Leith Walk. Leith Green councillor Chas Booth gives his reaction.
The Scottish Government announcement of funding to improve the cycle infrastructure on Leith Walk is good news, and will be welcomed by current and future cyclists in Leith.
I have long supported calls from local community groups for modern, safe cycle infrastructure on Leith Walk so I’m very hopeful this funding will allow that to happen. Leith Walk is currently a horrendous cycling experience, and was recently named one of the worst streets for cycling in the whole of the UK. So investment in improving cycle facilities is long overdue. In the council’s recent consultation on the future of Leith Walk there was also overwhelming support for improving conditions for cyclists; this funding should allow the council to respond to that public demand.
However, it’s essential this is not just a one-off initiative but the start of a network of safe cycling infrastructure across the city to allow more people to get about by bike easily and without having to mix with heavy traffic. The Green proposal for a Sir Chris Hoy cycle network was supported by the council last year: this funding may be the opportunity to start turning that idea into reality.
So, Leith Walk is being offered to us as an exemplar project. Cyclists across the capital and across Scotland will be looking closely to see where the funding is to come from which will allow others to follow that example.