In Pictures: Leith Connections work to start
A project to create safer, more welcoming places to walk, wheel, cycle and spend time in Leith is about to get underway.
The first phase of Leith Connections will introduce measures to limit through traffic and enhance streets for pedestrians and people cycling in areas around Constitution Street, Leith Links and the Shore.
Construction will begin in the week commencing 10 April and is expected to last until late June. Amongst the changes are improved pedestrian crossings, planting and seating in newly created pedestrian spaces, community-inspired artwork and pavement decluttering.
This is alongside new traffic layouts in several of the streets to prioritise people travelling by foot, wheel or bike. These include the closure of Sandport Place Bridge to motor traffic, bus gates at the Shore and Links Place and modal filters to prevent through traffic in some areas. All residential and business properties will still be accessible by motor vehicle, while blue badge parking will be unaffected.
Leith Connections designs draw from two years of engagement with the community and local stakeholders, encompassing online co-design workshops, public drop-in sessions and focused meetings. Some of the measures, those to the east of the Shore, will be implemented on a trial basis under an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).
The project is being funded through Places for Everyone, an active travel infrastructure programme funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Sustrans.
Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said: “Leith Connections is a really exciting opportunity to create safer, more welcoming spaces to walk, wheel and cycle in Leith, as well as for spending time with friends or visiting local businesses.
“These changes have drawn on feedback from the community, as well as the council’s own monitoring. They will also provide better connections to popular walking and cycling routes nearby, like the north Edinburgh path network and the Water of Leith walkway and soon, protected cycle lanes on Leith Walk, delivered as part of the Trams to Newhaven project.
“The team has drawn up a robust monitoring and evaluation plan so that once it’s in place, they can understand the benefits and impacts of Leith Connections. I look forward to hearing what the community thinks too, as part of the ETRO process. I shall be watching this installation closely as I am keen to see more schemes like this in Edinburgh.”
Michael Melton, grant manager at Sustrans, said: “We are pleased to be working with City of Edinburgh Council to make Leith a safer and more accessible place to walk, wheel, cycle and spend time. The Leith Connections project has been shaped by the local community, with changes including new traffic layouts, improved pedestrian crossings and community-inspired artwork.”
Officers will closely monitor the impact of the project through automatic traffic counts, air quality monitoring, market research and focus groups. Information gathered will feed into recommendations for the future of the project.
Further phases of Leith Connections will deliver protected cycle lanes running from the Foot of the Walk to Ocean Terminal (delivered in parallel to the Trams to Newhaven project) and from the Hawthornvale path to Seafield. These plans are still under development and will include additional improvements to the public spaces in the area.