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Three quarters of Edinburgh residents ‘would cycle more if services were closer’

Cycling in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)
Cycling in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

More than three quarters of Edinburgh residents would walk or cycle more often if shops and services were closer to home, a report has found.

The annual Walking and Cycling Index by the charity Sustrans found that 78% of respondents to their survey said more shops and services being closer to home would encourage them to walk or cycle.

Almost a quarter (23%) said they would like to cycle more often and 64% said that they would be more likely to cycle if there were more separated cycle lanes in the city.

The research also found that 60% of Edinburgh residents walk at least five days per week and 26% said they cycle at least once per week.

Sustrans, who aim to help people get into walking and cycling, say that choosing active travel options helps to generate more than £186 million for the local economy and cuts an equivalent of 49,000 flights between Edinburgh and New York in carbon emissions.

However, there are still 70.7 million journeys driven in the city every year under three miles.

Responding to the report, City of Edinburgh Council say they are investing more than £100 million in developing active travel infrastructure over the next few years.

Some of the work has already been carried out, including the transformation of George Street, the city centre east to west link, and more than 100 cycling storage units have been installed across Edinburgh.

Daisy Narayanan, head of placemaking and mobility at City of Edinburgh Council, said: “As ever, this report provides a fascinating snapshot of people’s walking, wheeling, and cycling habits and the immense benefits active travel can bring, not only to our own health but the environment, the economy and the quality of life here.

“Thankfully, there’s already a great deal of work under way to support this. Our strategy for 20-minute neighbourhoods will mean people across Edinburgh can live well locally, meeting most of their daily needs from within their own community.

“This is alongside investment of £108 million over the next few years to transform walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure across the capital, as outlined in our ambitious city mobility plan, including the transformation of George Street, the delivery of CCWEL linking Roseburn to Leith Walk and the Meadows to George Street route.”

Stewart Carruth, interim director, Sustrans Scotland, said: “The evidence is clear, Edinburgh residents want the option to walk and wheel to where they need to get to, and don’t want outdated and unmaintained pavements, crossing points that make walking and wheeling unsafe or inaccessible, and vehicles parked on pavements getting in their way.

“The City of Edinburgh Council can rest assured that they have the backing of the public to build on the work they have already started to make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle to get around.”