It Might Be Leith

Posted by chdot on June 2, 2008

City of Edinburgh Council is through to the next round of the ‘sustainable travel community’ bid process with its proposal for the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership area.

“It is a partnership project with Local Authorities to reduce car dependence; increase physical activity; reduce emissions and congestion; and promote sustainable places. Activities might include personalised travel planning, improvement of green space, demand management measures and reallocation of road space.”

Twenty eight (out of 32) Scottish councils submitted thirty nine bids, but only thirteen are through to the next stage (full list). Collectively their proposals “significantly exceed the funds available”. So it is likely that fewer than half will get the ‘prize’ of (a share of) £15m over three years.

The shortlisted councils include ones that did well in Cycling Scotland’s recent survey and others that scored more modestly. Top of the list was Fife, famed for its Kingdom of Fife Millennium Cycle Way, and now hoping to develop a scheme in Dunfermline. Fife and Edinburgh (and countless cycle tourists and commuters) would both benefit if money was spent on the cycle route between the city and the Forth Road Bridge!

On the other side of Edinburgh is East Lothian which did badly in all of Cycling Scotland’s nine “topic” areas. East Lothian is a great place to cycle – flat coastal landscapes, Luca’s ice cream, the Pencaitland Railway Path, the train back from North Berwick (usually room for eight bikes) and also the hillier delights of the Lammermuirs. The council has chosen to develop a scheme for Dunbar which is on the East Coast Main Line and keeps trying to get a better train service into Edinburgh. It is also becoming a Transition Town, so there should be plenty of local support.

Support, political and community, is a key element in this new Scottish Government initiative. As it says in the criteria: “Written support from local/national partners: including detailed reference to in-kind and financial support and related activities. Specific references should be made where relevant to the involvement of Community Planning Partnerships, Community Health Partnerships, public transport operators and relevant businesses and environmental groups.”

It will be fairly easy to mobilise local support for plans to improve conditions for walking, cycling and Public Transport use – and upgrade local green spaces. Leith has a wide range of local groups including Greener Leith which has already offered active support. The area even has a community radio station – Leith FM to spread the news.

Councils have until July 9th to produce detailed plans. The outcome should be decided by the end of that month.

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