The Highland Cycle Campaign today wrote to the Highland Council in support of the Academy Street Proposals. Here is our letter:
We wish to write in support of the current proposals to redevelop Academy Street in Inverness and
reduce traffic levels through this important part of the city centre.
While we are disappointed there has been no segregated or protected cycle lanes incorporated into the
designs, we understand that there needs to be a balance struck, particularly in terms of allowing access
for public transport, business deliveries and emergency vehicles. We note that private vehicles will still be
allowed access to Academy Street, as well as Union Street and Queensgate, to access businesses in the
area, though with a bus lane to reduce the number of “non-stop” vehicles passing through.
We feel that the current proposals are a significant improvement on the status quo, and more beneficial
to the city centre than a simple “facelift” – in terms of improving what has been identified as one of the
most polluted streets in Scotland and making it part of a wider city centre area that people can spend
Reducing traffic levels by cutting out through traffic, while slowing traffic down through increased
provision of pedestrian crossings and other measures, will make Academy Street a more accessible place
for those travelling by bicycle, as well as those walking and wheeling.
We expect in the medium to longer term to see a reduction in traffic levels even in the surrounding areas,
based on evidence from Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and similar schemes elsewhere in the UK.
These suggest that the longer a scheme is in place, the bigger the impact it can have on people choosing
to travel by alternative (sustainable) means. Clearly this change will not happen overnight, but we believe
this type of scheme can help to reduce the need for shorter car journeys in and around the city –
something that is essential as Inverness continues to expand.
During the consultation, HCC committee member Brian MacKenzie had two proposals accepting: 1)
locating cycle parking (Sheffield stands) in various useful places, at street level rather than on the
footway; 2) leaving a permanently clear two-metre corridor along the building line (clear of advertising
boards, café furniture etc) to aid accessibility for pedestrians including mobility/sight impaired users.
We welcome these plans and look forward to seeing them progress to the next stage.
Convener, Highland Cycle Campaign