January 2015

Leith Street cycling future – or not?

The cycling future of Leith Street is up for grabs in the St James Quarter proposals.  A segregated cycleroute up from Picardy Place will end at Calton Road, with no connection to Princes Street…

The St James Quarter developers have submitted their proposals for walking, cycling and motor traffic.  There are some innovative ideas which we welcome, but we have to object over the plans for Leith Street.

The proposals, with some modification, also appear to have the potential to create a segregated cycle route from St Andrew Square to Leith Street, and so to the Picardy Place/ upper Leith Walk segregated facilities which the Council has promised.   This connection, too, would depend on a Leith Street cycleroute.

Spokes has submitted an objection to the proposals because of the absence of a Leith Street cycle facility.

Our objection to the plans [pdf 208k]…

  • explains the importance of the Leith Street cycle facility – including the fact that Edinburgh’s proposed major east-west cycleroute will be much less satisfactory without Leith Street
  • points out the St Andrew Sq to Leith Street opportunities
  • praises the developers for their innovative plan to give cycle access to and through the internal galleries and the lifts which are used to overcome major height changes
  • comments on cycle parking, storage, and the need for a Bike Hub providing supervised storage, information, simple maintenance and parts availability, and a link with a future Council bike hire/share scheme.


Before Jan 30: Our objection will carry much more weight if concerned individuals – you? – also submit individual comments.

Before and after Jan 30:  Please ask your councillors to look into this and to urge the Planning Committee to insist on Leith Street cycle facilities.  Find your councillors at www.writetothem.com.

To see the (massive) plans, go to…


then paste in and search for the reference number 14/05263/AMC.

[before 30 Jan]  You can then submit comments online – you must first register and log in, a fairly simple process.  Until you are logged in the site will say you cannot submit comments.

The set of documents is massive.   It is quite possible to submit your comments without looking into them, but, if you wish to, we suggest looking at the Spokes objection, as that tells you which of the documents are [as far as we have found] most relevant.  [Let us know if we have missed anything important!]

[before 30 Jan]  You can alternatively submit your comments by email to the officer in charge, david.givan@edinburgh.gov.uk.    If so, make sure to quote the above reference number of the application and state that you are objecting to (and/or commenting on) the St James Quarter application.


Our article has prompted this excellent blog post and objection by Tom Kempton.


The council receives a continual stream of planning applications, large and small.  Keeping up with them is a massive job for Spokes, as a voluntary organisation.  We try to highlight those of particular relevance to cycling on this web page.

Over the months and years, much of the fabric of the city alters, as houses, supermarkets, shops and businesses change.   If cycling is fully taken into account in these changes, bike storage becomes easier at work and at home, parking becomes better at shops and other destinations, and route connections are established.

Please help Spokes by checking the planning applications every so often and submitting your own comments to the council on any that concern you.  We would appreciate being emailed your comments.



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