Sector - Health & Safety
Active Travel Infrastructure Initiative Launched
The Scottish Government have announced a new fund which will fund a new infrastructure programme to enable pop-up walking and cycling routes or temporary improvements to routes which already exist, in order to support physical distancing.
This will also be backed by a package of guidance and support to be given to local authorities from Transport Scotland and Sustrans Scotland for improvements such as widened pavements and cycle lanes. Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, cities throughout the world have seen rising cycle rates, and fewer car journeys, with many responding by allocating the appropriate space.
Transport Scotland and Sustrans Scotland run ‘Places for Everyone’ every year, which is an active travel infrastructure initiative. The Scottish Government have also said that the impact of Coronavirus means that local authorities will not have the capacity to design and apply for ‘complex multi-year infrastructure programmes due to the necessary focus on responding to the outbreak.’
Due to this, up to £10 million is to be reallocated from the ‘Places for Everyone’ budget to deliver the new ‘Spaces for People’ initiative with no match funding from local authorities required, whilst continuing to support previously committed projects.
Transport minister Michael Matheson said, “I’m pleased we are able to put forward a package of support for our local authorities to implement temporary active travel measures, helping to ensure that people can walk, cycle and wheel during this public health emergency whilst physically distancing and keeping safe from traffic. I have written to every local authority in Scotland to advise them that the ‘Spaces for People’ initiative is designed with agility and pace in mind.
“Our communities need this support quickly, especially with the welcome increases in cycling we are seeing across the country. At the same time, almost every journey starts and ends on our pavements in some way, and so it is vitally important that people can physically distance for those essential trips or for exercise. Infrastructure is only part of the response and I’m struck by the many organisations, including our Active Travel Delivery Partners, who are providing support to keep key workers moving and help with deliveries for those who require it.”
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