Saturday, 26 March 2016

Walk Cycle Vote Scotland

Last year, while standing for Westminster elections, I recieved many emails asking my views on a wide range of matters.  I posted as many of my replies as I old on my blog, so my views would be a matter of public record.

Here is my first reply for the Scottish campaign for 2016.

Thank you for your email on walking and cycling.

I have a confession to make.  I don't use my bicycle as much as I should.  In my last job, I regularly commuted to work on my bike as the road exposure was less than a kilometre in length.

Having previously lived in Norway, spent a lot of time in Germany and worked frequently in the Netherlands and Denmark, I know what cycle lanes ought to be like.   They are not like British cycle provision.  A painted line on the road is, to me at least, not a cycle lane.  Once on Edinburgh's existing cycle network, they are usually great.  Getting safely on to them is sometimes a challenge.

Liberal Democrats recognise this and that is why during the Coalition government, we invested £115 million to improve cycling conditions in cities across the UK. 

There are many opportunities to extend cycle lane provision in my own constituency of Edinburgh Northern and Leith.  Lower Granton Road, currently a bottleneck for traffic when cyclists are on the road, has currently only partial provision for both walkers and cyclists.  Given the funding, the existing decent cycle lane could be extended another 400m, giving relief to cyclists, motorists and allow walkers to distance themselves from traffic fumes.

I would work hard to see proper cycle provision on Leith Walk: one of the UK's most dangerous roads for cyclists.

Edinburgh is a great city for walking but I think we can do better.  We need a proper and connected walking route laid out along the north coast as part of the John Muir Way.  At the moment the path, which is well-supported in the Lothians, seems to disappear in Edinburgh.  It actually runs through the city centre. Instead, it should continue along the coast, providing local people with a superb walk, encouraging Eco-tourism and providing small businesses from Leith to Silverknowles with additional opportunities.  

Thus I am delighted to be able to support the laudable ambitions of WalkCycle campaign.

Sally, I hope members of your groups will share my vision for improving walking and cycling facilities, not just in Edinburgh but across Scotland.   If they do, please support me in Edinburgh Northern and Leith and, in view of our previous delivery on cycling, give both votes to Liberal Democrats across Scotland

If you or your members would like to follow up with their own observations and questions, I will be delighted to discuss matters further.

Kind regards,

Martin Veart
Edinburgh Northern and Leith
Scottish Liberal Democrats

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