RECENT improvements to East Kilbride’s cycle network have received a mixed response from cycling enthusiasts.
South Lanarkshire Council and Sustrans, the national cycle charity, have joined forces to upgrade two routes including National Cycle Route 756, which runs from East Kilbride railway station to Glasgow.
Signs have gone up and road markings have been painted to highlight the routes as part of a drive to get more people on two wheels.
Tory councillor and keen cyclist Graham Simpson welcomed the £80,000 improvements and he hopes more people will be tempted to swap petrol power for pedal power.
He said: “It's really encouraging to see this. Anything we can do to encourage people to cycle is a good thing. It is actually very quick to get about East Kilbride on a bike and there are a number of safe routes, not just this one.
“Ultimately it is about changing attitudes and making cycling easier through the provision of cycle lock-up facilities and marked routes, such as this one."
However, Colin McCartney, a member of East Mains Community Council and a cyclist, was more sceptical. Earlier this year, at a community council meeting, he submitted his proposals for the improvement of the East Mains railway solum which runs from Showpark to Mavor Avenue.
He raised concerns about several issues including flooding, poor lighting and the condition of the pathway itself.
He is pleased some of his concerns have been addressed but he is convinced more needs to be done.
He said: “They have improved the lighting all the way along the solum which has made a real difference but the surfacing and drainage still needs to be addressed. It’s meant to be for walkers as well as cyclists but unless you have got a mountain bike or a pair of wellington boots the route isn’t up to standard.
“I know there has been work done on the drainage in the area next to the Showpark but the problem still exists. Until they get that sorted, many people will continue to give it a wide berth which defeats the whole purpose.”
Councillor Simpson added: “Mr McCartney raises a number of fair points and I think it’s fair to say this is a work in progress.”
The route in question runs from East Kilbride train station, along Kittoch Street, then left at Main Street. It then goes right up Old Mill Road and joins the path which runs beside the Showpark before coming out at Mavor Avenue.
From there it goes to Kingsgate where it crosses Stewartfield Way and heads towards Glasgow and Rutherglen along the Kingsway.
There is a feeder route which is marked from the Museum of Rural Life and follows Stewartfield Way.
A South Lanarkshire Council spokesman said: “Promoting travel by sustainable means is a key council priority and opportunities to further develop our cycling network are continually being pursued.
“There are two routes currently being implemented. The first route commences from East Kilbride train station and continues via East Mains, the Kingsgate, Nerston, Cathkin, Rutherglen and terminates at the council’s boundary with Glasgow in Shawfield.
“The second is from Kittochside along Stewartfield Way and links into the first route at Kingsgate. Works costing approximately £80,000 on these routes include both on-road and off-road cycle signing, lining, drop kerbs and upgrading existing pedestrian puffin crossings to shared pedestrian and cycle toucan crossings.”