Inverness will find out in the next few weeks whether it has won funding to create a series of significant improvements to the active travel network in the city.
These include segregated cycle tracks on Millburn Road and Academy Street, along with changes to the Raigmore Interchange.
Inverness Active Travel Network
— Sustrans Scotland (@SustransScot) August 15, 2017
As part of its Community Links PLUS competition, Sustrans – via the Scottish Government – is funding one project which delivers “pioneering and game-changing projects that inspire public bodies in Scotland to design better places and spaces for people to live, walk and cycle”.
The Inverness scheme is into the final judging stage along with four other finalists – two from Edinburgh and one each from Stirling and Glasgow.
Winning this funding would be a massive benefit to Inverness, which already has some of the highest levels of cycling in Scotland. With pioneering projects such as those included in the proposals, the city could begin to realise its ambition of being a truly cycle-friendly city.
I took part in some videos which were produced as part of the project to showcase the need for better cycling infrastructure to help people of all ages and abilities get about the city.
— Sustrans Scotland (@SustransScot) August 11, 2017
The Highland Council/HiTrans bid proposes a major overhaul of Millburn Road with the removal of one lane of general traffic for a fully segregated cycle path. A westbound bus lane and footpath would also be introduced, transforming the area into a less congested and more pedestrian-friendly area. A signalised junction would also become a feature of Millburn Road with separate signals for pedestrians and cyclists.
Academy Street would also undergo a similar transformation with the implementation of a one-way cycle track with buffer zones off the main carriageway behind the parking and loading areas.
The city-wide active travel network also plans to create a ramp from the Raigmore Interchange to the Golden Bridge that would see construction of a cycle and pedestrian friendly route to the Inverness Campus.
— Sustrans Scotland (@SustransScot) August 9, 2017
This would really connect some of the disparate cycle infrastructure that exists in the area and begin to address the problems of a growing city.
With more and more houses being built, more cars are inevitably going to be on our roads. The best way to reduce congestion is to encourage as many people as possible to travel actively – whether by walking or cycling – into the city. Bikes take up significantly less space than cars, so it would also reduce the pressure on parking in the city centre, as well as making it a nicer place to be.
Offering free parking and easy access to the city by car will only lead to more congestion, while creating (or converting) space for people to travel actively will make for a more pleasant environment in our historical Highland capital.
It will also help to address many of the health and social issues which affect so many people. Not forgetting, of course, that it’s much more fun to ride a bike than sit in a traffic jam!