Core Paths – Have YOUR Say

Posted by chdot on March 17, 2007

core paths Edinburgh leaflet
One requirement of Scotland’s Access Legislation is for local authorities to identify “Core Paths” with the idea of creating a “network”.

Edinburgh had an Access Forum before it was a legal requirement and so was well placed to start the CPN process. An access forum brings together various interest groups – landowners (public and private), walkers, cyclists, horse riders etc.

City of Edinburgh Council has had an Access Officer for a number of years. The current postholder is Alan McGregor who has an interesting job interpreting the legislation and trying to ensure that the Council (as well as other landowners) complies with the letter (and spirit) of the law. The law now allows people to cycle through the Hermitage of Braid. Alan was largely responsible for making sure that the council overturned its previous ban.

On one level, identifying core paths is easy. Many are obvious – The Water of Leith, the Union Canal, the North Edinburgh Path Network, The Innocent. The difficult bit is knitting them together to create a network. Cyclepath charity Sustrans has done some of the work with its National Cycle Network – which is why part of Edinburgh’s proposed Core Path Network includes such (apparently unlikely) places as The Mound and George Street!

This highlights the fact that a usable path network – for walking or cycling – cannot be a collection of unrelated paths. Edinburgh (like most other cities) has to work harder to improve the ‘sustainable travel’ ‘experience’ if there is to be any chance of persuading many more people that it’s desirable, and possible, to drive less.

This year’s European Mobility Week has the theme Streets for People, which is highly relevant – “Road space reallocation is not about making life difficult for car drivers but it is about improving mobility options and quality of urban life for all.” Even parts of America are beginning to get the message.

The Core Path Network proposals in Edinburgh are at a crucial stage. A series of eight public events have been arranged starting next Wednesday and finishing with TreeFest in June. More details will be available on the Edinburgh Core Paths web site next week.

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