Argyll and Bute Council has been awarded £315,000 funding from the Spaces for People Programme, to deliver temporary infrastructure to make it safer for people who choose to walk, cycle or wheel for essential trips and exercise during Covid-19.
The fund, which is administered by Sustrans and funded by Transport Scotland, will provide more space for active travel in our town centres.
Councillor Alastair Redman, Policy Lead for Economic Growth, said: “We have some initial ideas on how we help reopen our towns. Before putting anything in place, we want to consult with local businesses and residents first to find out what they think.
“We need to create more space for people to move around safely and use our local businesses as they open up. This might involve moving into public realm areas. Measures put in place will be designed to be temporary, for as long as we have to deal with COVID-19, and will focus on protecting public health, supporting physical distancing and kick-starting our economy.
“Consultations will be on-line and will be done quickly as it is vital people are given the opportunity to start getting out and making use of our town centres again as safely as possible. I would urge everyone to give us your views as it is really important that residents and businesses feel supported.”
There will be a survey for each town centre. To view the full proposals, and take part in the consultation, which is open from Thursday 16 July to Sunday 26 July, please go to: https://bit.ly/2CjKOen
Some of the initial ideas suggested include:
An advisory pedestrian one-way system on each side of the street in Longrow, Campbeltown, to reduce the need for people to pass each other on the pavement;
A segregated cycleway on the Esplanade Campbeltown;
Advisory one-way footways on Argyll Street, Dunoon, between Queen’s Hall and John Street;
Creating a covered waiting area at the Dunoon passenger ferry terminal marked out for physical distancing;
Introducing a temporary one-way system in Helensburgh to free up a running lane;
Widening the footway in part of Argyll Street, Lochgilphead, to allow pedestrians to social distance;
Looking at advisory pedestrian one-way systems within Oban;
Widening footways in High Street Rothesay; and
Implementing a traffic management system in Tobermory to help social distancing for shoppers.
Some of the funding will also be used to set up around 15 cycle repair stations in each of the main towns and at key tourist destinations across Argyll and Bute. These stations will provide basic repair tools, which members of the public can use when needed. These stations are widely found in public spaces elsewhere in Scotland, including university and college campuses, at tourist destinations and on popular cycle routes.
The cycle repair stations will help promote cycle tourism and the use of bicycles more generally for leisure and commuter users. The stations will are likely to remain once the COVID-19 situation ends.
Karen McGregor, Director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “It’s clear that people across Scotland want to do the right thing during Coronavirus. They want to look after their physical and mental health.
“They also want to make sure that they are keeping to physical distancing guidelines while still being safe on our streets.
“We hope that residents and businesses in Argyll and Bute will engage with the council on their proposals to help provide a clear picture of where temporary interventions are needed most.”