Riverside Way Update Event

A public meeting is due to take place on Tuesday 16 January to update the public on the progress made with the Riverside Way works in Inverness. This ambitious project aims to improve active travel provision along the popular route of Ness Walk and Bught Road for those walking, wheeling, and cycling.
The meeting, which is open to anyone to attend, will be held in the Conference Room at the Highland Rugby Club premises, Canal Park from 7pm to 9pm.

How to report Pavement Parking Problems

Pavement Parking is unsafe, unfair and illegal

From 11 December 2023, pavement parking will be an offence in Scotland?

The The Highland Council will be able to enforce this with Penalty Charge Notices. The Penalty Charge Notice will be £100 or the removal of the vehicle in contravention.

Also included in the ban are parking blocking a dropped kerb, and double parking

Report Problem Parking

Problem parking can be reported to the Highland Council via the parking portal.

You will need to be able to identify the location of the issue on a map in order to complete the form. The is also the option to submit photos of the issue.

You can also contact your local councillors about any issue – and ask them to escalate it on your behalf.

Areas with a high number of complaints will be be visited more frequently by parking enforcement.

Pavement Parking to be an offence from December 2023

Pavement parking on Huntly Street, Inverness

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 parking@highland.gov.uk or tweet @HighlandParking.

News Welcomed

The news has been welcomed by active travel campaigners in Highland.

The Road to 20mph in the Highlands

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.

20mph sign painted onto a road

A Timeline

1991First 20mph zones are introduced in the UK
2005 The Highland Council begins roll out of part-time 20mph zones outside all primary and secondary schools in Highland. 
2009 Inverness city centre 20mph zone introduced, this was extended in 2017
2012Groups representing Highland cyclists (including HCC) call for measures that bring about a cycle culture – including 20mph zones
2015The Highland Cycle Campaign calls for a 20mph speed limit to be introduced in all residential streets in Inverness.
2018The RESTRICTED ROADS (20 MPH SPEED LIMIT) (SCOTLAND) BILL is introduced at the Scottish Parliament by  Green MSP Mark Ruskell. The bill is not passed.
2020The 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.
2021The ‘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.
2022The 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.
2023Highland 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.

What Next?

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.

Get Involved

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.

Playstreets in the Highlands?

by Emily Williams, Cycling Mayor of Inverness

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: 

A wonderful example of what playstreets can look like

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?)

Making Progress

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. 

Notes

(1) https://playingout.net/why/the-problem/

(2) https://playingout.net/why/10-good-reasons/

(3) https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4820/highland_council/attachment/81852

Academy Street Proposals

Artists Impression of Academy Street Plans

The latest Academy Street proposals will be discussed and hopefully approved at the Inverness Area Committee on Monday 28th August 2023.

Background

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.

Our Position

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.

More Information

Take Action

If you want to see these proposals go ahead you should:

  • Comment on Common Place
  • email your support to activetravel@highland.gov.uk
  • Contact your local Councillor to let them know you support the improvements
  • Contact councillors on the Inverness Area Committee* to ask them to approve the plans.

What Next?

Academy Street Timeline

The next stages are approval at the Inverness Area Committee of Highland Council and funding approval from Sustrans.

The City of Inverness Area Committee

The city of Inverness Area Committee is made up of 23 members from the wards covering Inverness, Culloden, Ardesier, Loch Ness and Aird. Full papers will be available 3 working days before.

  • Colin Aitken (Ward 19 – Inverness South)
  • Chris Ballance (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness) Deputy Chair
  • Bill Boyd (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • Ian Brown (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)Chair
  • Glynis Campbell Sinclair (Ward 17 – Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Michael Cameron (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Alasdair Christie (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Helen Crawford (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • David Fraser (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • Ken Gowans (Ward 19 – Inverness South)
  • Alex Graham (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • David Gregg (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)
  • Jackie Hendry (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Emma Knox (Ward 12 – Aird and Loch Ness)
  • Isabelle MacKenzie (Ward 16 – Inverness Millburn)
  • Ryan MacKintosh (Ward 13 – Inverness West)
  • Andrew MacKintosh (Ward 15 – Inverness Ness-side)
  • Kate MacLean (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Duncan Macpherson (Ward 19)
  • Bet McAllister (Ward 14 – Inverness Central)
  • Morven Reid (Ward 17 Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Trish Robertson (Ward 17 – Culloden and Ardersier)
  • Andrew Sinclair (Ward 19 – Inverness South)

In Support of Academy Street Proposals

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.

John Davidson
Convener, Highland Cycle Campaign

Academy Street Stakeholder Breakfast

Artists Impression of Academy Street Plans

Thur 20th July 2023

HCC were invited to join a stakeholder breakfast this morning to hear about the latest plans for Academy Street, Inverness.

The event started with a short video along with presentations of the plans and the councils approach:

After the presentations there was some round table discussion from the stakeholders with feedback on the designs sought.

Where can I see the Plans?

” New visuals of the proposed design for Academy Street as well as a video about the project can be accessed at Common Place/Academy Street and Highland Council/AcademyStreet where comprehensive questions and answers about the proposal can also be viewed.”

How can I feedback?

You can feed back via the Common Place Portal or by emailing activetravel@highland.gov.uk

You may also copy your councillors in to your email

We’d also love to hear from you in the comments below, or email.

What’s The Timeline?

To progress to the next stage the project needs;

a) approval at the Inverness Area Committee on the 28th August,

b) and to be approved by Sustrans who are funding the project.

As yet there is no date for when the work will start.