From the 11th December 2023 parking on pavements, blocking dropped kerbs and double parking will become an offence. The Highland Council will issue warning notices advising offenders of the change in regulations until early 2024, when fines of £100 will be issued or the vehicle may be removed.
Not just Pavement Parking…
The regulations also include other parking offences including ;
-a ban on pavement parking
-a ban on double-parking (more than 50cm from the edge of a carriageway)
-a ban on parking at dropped kerbs installed for pedestrian or cycle usage
Reporting Parking Problems
Parking problems including pavement parking, and blocking dropped kerbs can be reported to the HC parking team at email@example.com or tweet @HighlandParking.
The news has been welcomed by active travel campaigners in Highland.
The Highland Cycle campaign has long been a supporter of 20mph speed limits for built up areas in the Highlands. The Highland Council has recently begun a trial of 20mph areas and HCC will be campaigning for this. We want to see permanent 20mph zones that are supported with traffic calming measures and enforcement. Here we take a look at the road to 20mph.
First 20mph zones are introduced in the UK
The Highland Council begins roll out of part-time 20mph zones outside all primary and secondary schools in Highland.
Inverness city centre 20mph zone introduced, this was extended in 2017
The RESTRICTED ROADS (20 MPH SPEED LIMIT) (SCOTLAND) BILL is introduced at the Scottish Parliament by Green MSP Mark Ruskell. The bill is not passed.
The Welsh Government task force on 20mph publishes its report on 20mph on restricted roads – Senedd Cymru votes to support this. Legislation is approved in 2022, with the limits coming into effect in 2023.
The ‘Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party Shared Policy Programme’ includes the commitment that all appropriate roads in built up areas will have a safer speed limit of 20mph by 2025.
The Highland Councils Economy and Infrastructure committee is presented with the Highland 20mph programme. Highland council agrees to trial the temporary 20mph limits, for which it will receive funding from Transport Scotland.
Highland Council starts roll out of 20mph limits (lines and signs) in communities across the Highlands.
The Highland wide 20mph scheme went live on Monday 31 July 2023, the scheme uses one Council wide Temporary Road Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) which lasts for a period of 18 months. Permanent Road Traffic Regulation Orders will then be required to move the appropriate roads to a permanent 20mph speed limit.
In 2024 there will be public consultation and a consultation with community councils on the 20mph limits. At the end of 2024 (or early 2025) an evaluation report will go to the full council. By mid 2025 A final decision will be made on which streets should be retained at 20mph or revert back to 30mph. The remaining six months of the trial will be used to implement any permanent changes.
The Highland Cycle Campaign is member led – if you’d like to get involved with the campaign team for 20mph zones or any of our other campaigns, get in touch.
On Thursday the 28th September members met to consider our campaign goals, and what the Highland Cycle Campaign should campaign on going forward.
The following text was agreed:
The Highland Cycle Campaign wants to see a thriving and sustainable region of healthy, happy people where everyone feels able to enjoy the benefits of cycling and make the journeys they choose to by bike. We will campaign in the Highlands for cycling infrastructure that is safe, inclusive, connected and pleasant.
We then discussed what campaigns we could initially run to meet each of the 4 goals.
-20mph in built up areas -Vulnerable road user training for THC drivers
-Removing Barriers on Cycle routes
-Linked with Public Transport -Cycle ways that Connectcommunities
-Playstreets in the Highlands
Possible future campaigns
Campaigns will be reviewed at the AGM.
If you’d like to be involved in any of these campaigns get in touch.
Together with Crown Connects, I have been campaigning to get the Highland Council to set up a process that will allow local communities to hold playstreets – aiming to hold the first trial even in the Crown area of Inverness in September. Playstreets are where residents are granted a temporary road closure to allow their children to play out without having to worry about traffic.
For a wonderful example of what this could look like see this from Edinburgh:
Giving Children the Freedom to Play
This used to be a normal part of everyday life (1), but as roads have become busier and cars have become bigger and faster, children have become less able to safely use the road just outside their house for play. Closing the road for a short time, on a regular basis, gives children back this freedom (2)- encouraging energetic outdoor play in a semi supervised environment, giving them space right outside their front door to learn to ride a bike or play ball or whatever they want.
As well as this it gives a great opportunity for all residents to spend time outside their houses, hopefully growing some community connections (outdoor board games or just a chat over cup of tea with someone down the road you haven’t met before anyone?)
But we need the Highland Council to allow us to do this in a way that is accessible to all community groups. Currently we are trying to negotiate some hurdles to be allowed to implement our own traffic management rather than having to pay to have this done professionally, and to agree a position on what insurance is needed. We’ve been really grateful to have the support of local councillors David Gregg, Ian Brown, Kate Maclean and Michael Cameron. David asked a question in the most recent full council about this (side note, this is a excellent way to get a formal answer to a question from the council), which has committed the officers to investigating what is available in other places (3). We are still optimistic that we will be able to hold our pilot event and then use the learning from our experience to make this available to everyone across the highlands.
Let us Know What you think!
So, let us know – would you be interested in holding a play street where you live if a simple process was available to you? If you are then let us know, and speak with your local councillors to encourage them to support this proposal.
The latest Academy Street proposals will be discussed and hopefully approved at the Inverness Area Committee on Monday 28th August 2023.
After a long public consultation, with many feeling the original proposals were not ambitious enough – a proposal which took this feedback into account was approved by the council. However concerns were raised by BID that these plans had not been consulted on. The Highland council presented these plans at a stakeholder breakfast, which we attended on the 20th July. The next stage is for approval at the Inverness Area Committee on the 28th August.
HCC are disappointed not to see a protected cycle lane as part of these proposals, but feel that the projected reduction in traffic along with reduced speeds will provide safer and more accessible cycling. We have written to The Highland Council with a letter of support, outlining our position.
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 time in.
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.
If you are an organisation that would like to receive news and updates from the Highland Cycle Campaign you can now subscribe to our communications
Membership of the Highland Cycle Campaign is only open to individuals but we recognise that there are many active local groups in the Highlands that we’d love to keep in touch with, and who would like to keep in touch with us.
The underpass under the A9 at the North Kessock Junction was not built with cyclists in mind. 40 years ago when this section of the A9 was built the main concern was that livestock would be able to cross the road safely.
The North Kessock underpass was originally built in two parallel parts; a footpath and a cattle creep. There haven’t been cattle needing to use it for a number of years, but a small muddy patch prevented the cattle creep being repurposed for cycles. It also had a large hump on the south side and a very tight turn and narrow route beside some steps on North side.
The underpass is a key crossing point on the A9 for National Cycle Route 1. It is heavily used and the underpass was a significant pinch point with cyclists and pedestrians having to use the same narrow walkway, and regularly having near misses on a blind corner.
10 Years in the Making
The project to improve bike access was first raised in 2013 during a joint site visit by bike with Highland Cycle Campaign, Transition Black Isle, The Highland Council, BEAR Scotland and Transport Scotland reps. We cycled alongside the A9 from the underpass to the Raigmore interchange identifying and noting 13 items of concern along the way and we highlighted them on a map. BEAR Scotland wrote a report; some other items have now also been addressed. The cycle site visit was organised after a rather grumpy lot of cyclists attended a public meeting about the works on the Kessock Bridge and were offered a meeting.
The Highland Council rep said that they were responsible for infrastructure which went over or under a trunk road but had no money to progress improvements. It was raised regularly with them particularly by Anne Thomas and eventually in late 2021 they applied to Sustrans and a grant of £20000 was awarded. This was transferred to the Community Council for project management. A site meeting with the residents association (RANK), Knockbain Community Council and Highland Council discussed how to proceed. Knockbain Community Council agreed to project manage and employed a local contractor.
Fit for Cycling
It is now much improved;
with a concrete section replacing the muddy patch on the North side
New concrete approach on the south side
Wider turning areas at either end of the tunnel,
A wider turning area at the top of the North side entry slope
The ‘hump’ has also been taken out and concreted over.
The broken barbed wire fence between the beginning of the paths has been replaced with a nice (not spiky) new fence.
Art work adorns the tunnel
It was hoped that there was enough money left that the old A9 could be dug down to, leading to an additional route across a desire-line path to the ‘Walkers Car Park’ and new houses. Unfortunately this could not be found so a new shared use path was created. Unfortunately the landowner refused to have this taken round the corner to finish opposite the car park entrance, so it finished next to the road underpass on a blind corner, which was not ideal. A wooden chicane was therefore erected as the Community Council considered it dangerous otherwise, which was very frustrating to cyclists involved. The surface is also rather gravelly despite assurances that it would be suitable for cyclists but is being used by walkers, though some are still using the desire-line path diagonally across, but this land is in the process of being sold, so this may not be an option in future.
The underpass has attracted a lot of unsightly graffiti over the years. Marc, a local artist has completed 3 panels of a mural as a volunteer and it is hoped that further funding will be found to enable him to complete it with local young people helping with the project so that they have a sense of pride in it and are less likely to spoil it. The Residents Association (RANK) did apply to MFR cash for Kids but were told their structure was not eligible as it is a Community Company Ltd. Their literature says that Community Interest Companies cannot apply, but this is not the same structure. The Community Council is therefore applying to this funding source in the latest funding round and another fund.
RANK is hoping to do some community planting create an edible border along the path and has started planting some fruit bushes. It has already planted two community orchards in other parts of the village and one of the members has turned the roundabout into a wildflower meadow complete with cowslips, primroses and orchids. Poppies have sprung up on another part of the disturbed ground and are putting on a good show at the moment.
Let us know what you think!
Have you used the underpass since it’s upgrade? what did you think? let us know.