City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Olympic Legacy Should Start in Hoy's Home Town


By edg - Posted on 08 August 2012

Leith Walk - view from above

Britain's cyclists have proved indomitable at the London Olympics winning seven out of ten golds at the London velodrome, with track sprinter Chris Hoy's sixth gold medal making British Olympic history. Add Bradley Wiggins' win in the Tour de France, a first for a British cyclist, and there is no question that Britain is experiencing a golden age of sport cycling.

There has been much talk of the legacy of the Games and building on the momentum of Team GB's stunning Olympic successes.

One idea being floated by the advocacy group Pedal on Parliament is a cycle highway network named after Edinburgh's golden Olympian and "built to a golden standard".

Pedal on Parliament suggests we call it the Sir Chris Hoy Cycle Highway Network. There is, of course, the UK Cycle Highway Network. However, with many so-called cycle routes still just lines on the road, PoP is keen to see safer, separated routes for cyclists.

PoP suggests we start with Leith Walk, the broad boulevard connecting the North of City with the New Town, which has funds set aside for a £5.5 million upgrade.

Writes PoP: "In Edinburgh – Chris Hoy’s home town – there’s a huge opportunity to revamp Leith Walk with safe, separated cycle lanes as part of the work to restore the road (considered one of Britain’s worst to cycle on) after the trams work. When residents were consulted about what they’d like to see happen on Leith Walk, segregated cycle tracks came top of the list – but it appears that City of Edinburgh Council won’t even consider this as an option. Putting in this infrastructure would be the most fitting tribute we could think of to honour Sir Chris, and to encourage future Sir Chris’s to get on two wheels and follow his example."

The article goes on to point out that Glasgow, host to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, has an atrocious record for cycle safety. It suggests building safe routes to the Games venues.

Personally, I'd like to see safe cycle routes to schools in the city (Glasgow and Edinburgh) becoming a bigger priority.

Politicans have been telling people for donkeys years about all the huge benefits of cycling be it on an individual or collective level. The Olympic successes of Britain's cyclists offer a golden opportunity for them to turn words into infrastructure.

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Edinburgh City Council voted thursday to take the idea of a Chris Hoy network to the next stage:

The council motion "Agrees in principle that the creation of a city-wide network of safe cycling routes would boost physical activity; help to tackle rising rates of obesity; reduce traffic congestion and cut air pollution and would be a positive lasting legacy for the city."

but

"Notes however that the creation of such a network would need to overcome considerable technical and logistical challenges."

so the council finally:

"agrees to remit the proposal for a Sir Chris Hoy cycle network to Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee who are asked to bring forward a report, prepared in close consultation with Spokes, Pedal on Parliament, Greener Leith and any other relevant stakeholders, within one cycle to examine the feasibility of a lasting legacy for cycling in Edinburgh."