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Highland Council makes changes to Inverness city centre active travel measures

By Gregor White

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There have been complaints about the one-way system implemented around Inverness Castle.
There have been complaints about the one-way system implemented around Inverness Castle.

A new cycle lane on Ness Bridge has been ditched by Highland Council after just four days.

It was introduced on Monday as part of new measures to encourage active travel in the city centre.

The change comes after a review by Highland Council.

Other measures that were introduced on Monday include a one-way system near Inverness Council, which the council believes is "functioning as intended" despite criticism from the public.

A council spokeswoman said: "For the last four days Highland Council has monitored the effectiveness of the one-way system around Inverness Castle and the other active travel interventions.

"This monitoring demonstrates that the measures are effective in ensuring we have sufficient space to prioritise people in the city centre and that the one-way system is functioning as intended. However, it has also shown that traffic crossing the Ness Bridge has led to some exit blocking of the trunk road junction at Kenneth Street.

"Therefore, today the council has removed the temporary in-bound cycle lane over the Ness Bridge to alleviate this issue. The opposite bike lane will be modified to enable two-way cycling as soon as contractors are able to undertake necessary civil engineering works."

The council’s head of infrastructure, Colin Howell, said: "We are constantly monitoring the effectiveness of the Spaces for People interventions and our priority remains ensuring the safety and health of people walking, wheeling and cycling.

"Our monitoring enables us to observe change across the network and we are therefore able to respond quickly to any issues such as this one.

"By making some small adjustments I’m pleased to say that the one-way system around Inverness Castle will continue to operate.

"It is common for changes in road layouts and traffic management to cause issues in the initial days and weeks of implementation as people get used to the changes and adapt their travel behaviour, and we continue to monitor the changes."

The council is urging people to choose active travel and public transport wherever possible, instead of driving.

Chairwoman of the council's environment and infrastructure committee, Councillor Trish Robertson, said: "The purpose of the Spaces for People funding from the Scottish Government is for us to be able to put in place active travel interventions that provide safe space for walking, wheeling and cycling.

"It is important to remember that as the city and region recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and businesses reopen with physical distancing measures, our priority is to support people to physically distance in a safe way when visiting places like Inverness city centre.

"This often means redefining the share of available space between people and vehicles.

"I certainly have seen a lot more people of all ages cycling and walking around the city and we want to do all we can to promote sustainable active travel.

"I hope that we can make walking, wheeling and cycling a bigger part of our everyday travel, which will have multiple other benefits to our health, climate and air quality, not to mention reducing congestion."

Related article: Council says bus driver ignored road sign before getting stuck in Inverness city centre

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