Four local authorities to share multi-million pound travel infrastructure funding
Run by Sustrans 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 in for everyday journeys.
After an intensive three-stage process all five shortlisted projects will be awarded a grant of up to 50% of the total project costs, with the grants totalling £22,540,360, from Transport Scotland funds, delivered through Sustrans Scotland.
Each project is expected to begin development within the next two months, with Inverness City Active Travel Network (Highland Council) forecast to be complete by Summer 2020; Walk, Cycle, Live (Stirling Council) and Woodside Mini-Holland (Glasgow City Council) by Summer 2021. Both Meadows to George Street and the West Edinburgh Active Travel Network (Edinburgh City Council) are forecast to be complete by Summer 2022.
The five projects set to be funded are:
Glasgow City Council: Woodside Mini-Holland
This year’s entry from Glasgow City Council, Woodside Mini-Holland, takes inspiration from transport infrastructure in the Netherlands and proposes to deliver an exemplar cycle friendly neighbourhood in the Woodside community.
Part of the project will include a segregated cycle route along St George’s Road from Charing Cross to Possil Road and will connect to the Sauchiehall Street “Avenue” cycleway that is currently being delivered through the Sauchiehall and Garnethill Regeneration Framework.
The proposal also includes the expansion of the cycle network into the city centre, Great Western Road, Maryhill, Garscube Road and the Forth and Clyde Canal in a bid to encourage cycling as the favoured commuter option.
In addition to the health and wellbeing benefits that the extensive cycle network brings to the surrounding area, the creation of Woodside Mini-Holland will strengthen local economies and increase road safety.
Pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities at St George’s Cross Subway station will also undergo major redesign in order to improve accessibility to the station and surrounding streets.
The City of Edinburgh Council: The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network
The West Edinburgh Active Travel Network’ proposes to transform the west of Edinburgh into a high quality Dutch-inspired cycle and pedestrian friendly neighbourhood.
Included in plans is the creation of an attractive, direct and convenient cycling and walking route from the Roseburn area to the major business district of Edinburgh Park. The route will connect popular locations within a cycleable distance of 1-5km.
Destinations along the route include the Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt campuses, the Gyle shopping centre and business park, new housing developments at East Craigs and Cammo, and existing communities Stenhouse, Broomhouse, Saughton, Sighthill and Wester Hailes.
This major overhaul will see one of the most car-dominated parts of Edinburgh transformed into an active travel hotspot.
The City of Edinburgh Council: Meadows to George Street – Streets for People
The ‘Meadows to George Street – Streets for People’ project proposes to create a direct cycle link between The Meadows and George Street, as well as the Old and New towns of the city centre along Hanover Street, The Mound, Bank Street, North Bank Street, George IV Bridge and Forrest Road.
The ‘Meadows to George Street’ project will provide a major redesign for walking and cycling in the city, creating safe, coherent and attractive routes through the city centre.
The Highland Council: Inverness City Active Travel Network
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.
The plans propose a major overhaul of Millburn Road with the removal of one lane of general traffic in place of a fully segregated cycle path. A westbound bus lane and footpath will also be introduced, transforming the area into a less congested and pedestrian friendly area. A signalised junction will also become a feature of Millburn Road with separate signals for pedestrians and cyclists.
Academy Street will 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.
Stirling Council: Walk, Cycle, Live
The City Boulevard and Cowane Street project compromises of two key active travel routes that will allow Stirling to operate as a sustainable and vibrant city which is attractive to businesses, residents and visitors.
The focal point of the first route, City Boulevard, is to improve the environment and streetscape along the A811 from Dumbarton Road, along Albert Place and Upper Craigs. Included in this will be the introduction of more generously sized pedestrian routes, creating a boulevard feel and connecting the city centre to the City Park.
Route two proposes to improve the environment and streetscape along Goosecroft Road, Cowane Street and onward to Stirling University. Currently the B8052 forms one of the key routes into Stirling City Centre and priorities vehicles. The project aims to make the road accessible to all users and redesign road crossings in order to improve accessibility. The integrated network would act as a direct link between Stirling City Centre and Stirling Bridge and continue onwards to the communities of Raploch, Cornton, Causewayhead and Bridge of Allan.
Minister for transport Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted to announce this morning that all five Community Links PLUS shortlisted projects have been successful in securing funding from the Scottish Government.
“The expert panel who evaluated the bids were impressed by the local authorities’ high level of design and innovation. Each bid is entirely worthy of receiving support today and I want to thank the panel, Sustrans and each local authority who took the time to get involved in the award.
“Our ambitious Active Nation initiative is designed to encourage many more of us to make everyday and leisure journeys sustainably - on foot and by bike. To achieve this vision, we are doubling our investment in active travel, from £40 to £80m each year, demonstrating our commitment to make our towns and cities more walking and cycling friendly.
“Through the Community Links PLUS award, people will be able to enjoy new active travel routes and whether it is for commuting or leisure, more people across Scotland will be able to enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport.”
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Climate Week is an opportunity to get more people talking about and taking action on climate change, and I am pleased to be supporting the Community Links Plus active travel project, enabling more people to walk and cycle more often.
“We all have a role to play in taking action on climate change, and this is a fantastic example of how people can reduce their own carbon footprint through using greener modes of travel.”
Sustrans Scotland deputy director for built environment, Daisy Narayanan, said: “Funding all five final projects is a bold step towards a healthier, more sustainable and vibrant Scotland which designs places around the needs of people over vehicular access.
“The Community Links PLUS proposals were so impressive this year that the panel felt strongly that all the five final proposals should become a reality. We thank the Minster for Transport and the Islands for taking the unprecedented step of committing to fund each of the five finalists.
“With the backing of Transport Scotland, Sustrans will now work in partnership with all four local authorities to turn their pioneering visions into reality. These five exemplar projects will demonstrate the wide ranging benefits that well designed places bring, such as boosting footfall for local business, improving the health of local people and creating safer environments that are more pleasant to live in and move through.”