Monday, 7 October 2013

Alison Johnstone MSP meets HCC Members

This weekend the Scottish Greens met for their 2013 Conference at Eden Court, Inverness. Alison Johnstone MSP was attending and kindly took time out to meet some members of the Highland Cycle Campaign (HCC).

The Highlands cover a large area but there were HCC representatives from all over.

Alison was keen to learn about some of the many issues concerning HCC.

[Pictured: Tess, Alison, ZenBike, Brian, Anne]

Dr Gus Jones (Strathspey)

  • New Housing Development. A local issue with national consequences where the interests of a small rural community are up against large business and the likely loser is the environment.

Brian MacKenzie (Inverness)

  • Flood Alleviation Scheme. The Highland Council has spent a lot of time preparing for this.The construction phase is just beginning.
  • The Golden Bridge. The one-piece 84 metre span of the bridge was lowered into position in April 2013.  Video (jump to 4:55). Opening date still unknown. Work continues on the end ramps and steps.
  • Prince Charlie Way. Part of this is planned to provide a cycle route connecting the City Centre to the Golden Bridge. Some ideas from HCC here.

Anne Thomas and Gerard Church (Black Isle)

  • Transition Black Isle. The Million Miles project focuses on safer, greener, more sociable travel. And cycling continues to be a particular success.
  • The Kessock Bridge Upgrade. Early in Phase 1 of the project, HCC provided detailed feedback of problems. The signage for cyclists (and pedestrians) was particularly misleading. Transport Scotland seemed to adopt a superior attitude and failed to engage in any genuine support of cycling policy. Touring cyclists were still getting lost as late as July 2013. It is hoped that Phase 2 will be better.

In addition, HCC is also active at a national level:

  • Cycling needs more realistic funding. The current cycling funding for the whole of Scotland is only 5% of a single project, dualling the A9. Whereas cycling should be 10% of the Transport budget.
  • Transport Scotland needs a dedicated team for cycling. This would include engineers with a professional understanding of quality cycle provision. The goal being real priority to encourage and increase all forms of cycling.
  • Stronger backing from Government to advance cycling. Government needs to get tough with landowners who stand in the way of cycle schemes for no good reason.

Your comments are welcome.

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