Friday, 17 April 2015

Pedestrianising Experiment in Inverness Centre

On Thursday afternoon I went for a cycle around the centre of Inverness. Church Street is one-way and normally one of the busiest routes. All sorts of vehicles such as buses, taxis, vans as well as cars, moving and parked, make it very congested. But this time I had an uninterrupted view from the middle to the High Street.

Looking to the left, I could see that Queensgate was closed off. It's also normally a congested one-way street. Even with bus stop bays on one side and car park bays on the other, it can still accommodate two lanes of traffic that become three lanes at the far end. And that still leaves room for a wide footway on both sides.

The reason for the closure could be seen at the far end, on Academy Street. A Fire Appliance was still in attendance at the scene of a fire that had started about 10pm on Wednesday night.
[Link to report by Chris Foote : STV News]
The building was still smoldering and the junction was sealed off.
The view from the junction back along Queensgate was completely clear of vehicles. Pedestrians were walking about freely. Some stood and watched the clear up work at the site of the fire.
There was light traffic in Academy in the West end of Academy Street. This is usually very busy with two-way traffic and street parking on both sides. Here too, the pedestrian experience was much more relaxed. Not even Poynton is ever this good.
From the closed junction looking East was a very similar picture. On a normal day, taxis in and out of Station Square regularly struggle with the main flow of buses and other traffic. Instead, people were able to walk about quite casually. The small amount of traffic that was there was moving very slowly and carefully.
Further East, on the way out of the centre, Millburn Road was surprisingly quiet particularly for about 5 pm on a Thursday. It is a dual carriageway with two lanes in each direction. I actually had to wait to catch this picture of a car.


No doubt, there are major queues on other routes as a result of displaced traffic.
Businesses will probably report lost trade. But, given time, trade is more likely to improve.
Officials and Councillors should be taking this opportunity to observe the benefits of limiting traffic access to the city centre.

It would be nice to say that one consequence was an increase in people cycling.
The Millburn Road counter data does show an increase of about 100 (above the current daily average of about 175). However this all appears to be in an hour period around 5 pm.
Unfortunately, in the light of previous experience, I'm inclined to disregard this increase simply as a bad data.

Your comments are welcome.

1 comment:

Michael McPhee said...

Would never work. how would businesses stock their shops? wheel the goods in? Also the most favourable thing would be a one way system but a full ban on cars wouldn't work. Would rather a full ban on bikes to improve safety as alot of cyclists do not know the laws and shame the ones that do