Greener Leith use leaked documents in fight to get cycle lanes on Leith Walk

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 or Labour Councillor Lesley Hinds, the Transport Convenor

Alternatively, if you’d like to make a comment below, we’ll make sure they get forwarded on to the council.

Leith Walk

Thanks to KDamo for the picture of Leith Walk.

Tom Allan
Tom Allan

Leave a Comment

  1. AvatarKim

    It is truly sad that the City of Edinburgh Council thinks that it is more important to think up advertising slogans than to make the City a better place to live, work and shop. Rather that look to the most liveable cities in the world such as Copenhagen.

    Then again, they have commissioned reports from Jan Gehl, the Architect responsible for making Copenhagen on of the most livable cities in the world. So what have they done with these reports, nothing. May be that is why Prof. Gehl made the following comments in a resent Architectural meeting where he was given an life time achievement award he made the following comments about Edinburgh:

    “Edinburgh looks fantastic from the air but if you go to eye level it looks neglected and treats people as sheep.”

    “I have been coming to Edinburgh for 47 years it needs to take power from traffic engineers.”

    1. Avatartomallan

      Hi Kim, I had no idea that they had commissioned Gehl. I guess it’s one thing to ask for good advice, and quite another to actually take it!

  2. Pingback: Edinburgh’s highways department: stuck in the 1990s? | The Alternative Department for Transport

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