Anyone who cycles in Edinburgh will probably remember that Leith Walk was named as one of the ten worst roads to cycle on earlier this year and for once that’s no exaggeration – according to this map of cycle casualties 12 cyclists – and many more pedestrians – suffered serious injuries on or around Leith Walk in the last decade (along with countless minor injuries). It would seem to be good news, then, that the council is planning to spend £3 million to restore it after the abortive tram works. In fact, it’s a chance to do something really special and turn an accident black spot into an asset to the city. Spokes even commissioned a study from a Dutch engineer that showed how there could be separate space for bikes, cars, parking AND trams – so with the trams out of the picture, there’s no reason why space couldn’t be made for bikes. Segregated cycle lanes have been shown in New York to make all road users safer, not just cyclists.
So we look forward to seeing what the council proposes to do with the road – initially, the plans were to nothing other than reinstate the road as it was, complete with nothing more than the old coloured on-road bike lane which will do very little to enhance cyclists’ safety. We hope that they will have taken into account the public consultation from Greener Leith which found the number one thing people wanted was investment in ‘cycling and walking, including separate cycle lanes’. Fortunately, you do still have a chance to influence the council’s decision, before it’s too late. There are two public consultations being held next week. Both are at the MacDonald Road Library (Nelson Hall). The first is on Monday 16th July, 4-7 pm, the second on Tuesday 17th July, 10am – 12pm. You can speak to staff and leave written comments. It’s going to be especially important if you live in the area, or use Leith Walk – or perhaps go out of your way to avoid Leith Walk because of its current condition.
You can also write to your councillors and let them know that this is an opportunity too good to be missed for a city with ambitions to host the Tour de France