The Highland Council progresses to third and final stage of multi-million pound active travel competition, Community Links PLUS

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The ‘Inverness Active Travel Network’ design submitted by the Council impressed Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links PLUS competition panel with its dynamic and strategic infrastructure proposal that aims to double the current level of cycling in the city and become the active travel leader in Scotland.

Now the top quality bid will receive up to £40,000 of funding to develop the proposal with the aim of securing multi-million pound funding to enable the project.

Hosted by Sustrans Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government, the competition delivers pioneering and game-changing projects which inspire public bodies in Scotland to design better places and spaces for people to live, walk and cycle.

At the heart of The Highland Council’s proposal is the aim to create an active city fit for the future which will promote active travel, improve community health and reduce congestion.

The ambitious proposal plans to strengthen the Inverness City Active Travel Network that connects all of the city’s communities with the centre, as well as developing seamless and segregated cycle-friendly routes along Millburn Road, Academy Street and the Raigmore Interchange. 

If successful, the plans propose a major overhaul of Millburn Road with the removal of one lane of general traffic in place for a fully segregated cycle path. A westbound bus lane and footpath would also be introduced, transforming the area into a less congested and 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.

Provost of Inverness, councillor Helen Carmichael, said: ”If the Inverness Active Travel Network project is successful in getting Community Links PLUS funding we’ll be able to create the infrastructure needed to continue with our plans to encourage more cyclists whilst promoting health, reducing congestion and creating better public spaces.”

The Highland Council’s dynamic and strategic active travel proposal is competing against four other high quality bids from Glasgow City Council, The City of Edinburgh Council and Stirling Council.

Final proposals will be presented to a cross sector panel chaired by Transport Scotland chief executive, Roy Brannen, with the winning project announced in late Summer 2017.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and The Islands said: “I would like to congratulate the five projects that have made it through to the final round of the Community Links PLUS design competition.

“I am pleased to see that local authorities have again put forward very ambitious projects which will help to create a step change in conditions for walking, cycling and place making that communities can all benefit from. 

“These kinds of place making projects are part of our long-term vision for active travel and also our recently published Cycling Action Plan for Scotland, which reiterates our commitment to maintain current levels of funding for the remainder of this Parliament.”

Last year’s winning entry was Glasgow City Council’s ‘South City Way’ project which on completion in 2018 will provide one of the most cohesive, high-quality urban cycle networks in the UK.

The exemplary project that integrates inspiring active travel with community placemaking was awarded £3.25 million of funding from The Scottish Government through Sustrans, with the investment match-funded by Glasgow City Council.

Daisy Narayanan, deputy director for built environment at Sustrans Scotland, added: “We are absolutely delighted with the extremely high quality of entries to our Community Links PLUS design competition. These proposals are exemplary in their understanding of the need to improve our streets for the well-being of everyone.

"They bode well for the future of Scotland. The Scottish Government, and in particular, Humza Yousaf MSP, the Minister for Transport and Islands, has demonstrated real vision in supporting this competition.

 "Critically, local authorities across Scotland have shown they are keen to enable access for pedestrians and cyclists of all abilities. The country is embracing the health and economic benefits of a modal shift in how we design our streets and roads.”

Community Links PLUS is demonstrating that designing places around the needs of people delivers a wide range of benefits, including boosting local economies, smaller retailers, healthier communities and safer, more attractive streets.

1 Mar 2017
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