Sunday, October 04, 2015

Parallel cycling lanes next to A96 bypass "Transport Scotland were remarkably hostile" says Community Councillor

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Suburban Community Council the Chair, Dick Youngson, told the meeting that they had recently had a quite a useful meeting with Transport Scotland and their consultants Jacobs concerning the bypass. 

Brian Stewart, Secretary of West CC, made one very specific point arising out of the bypass meeting Dick outlined. He said:

“It may not be something that everyone wants to sign up to but one of the questions that came up, I was one of several people who raised it. When they get around to building the bypass, are they going to do, as they have done with parts of the A9 and as we have also got between Sainsbury’s and Auldearn, are they going to put in a cycle lane? A separate cycle lane alongside it because if they are zoning a strip of land all the way around Nairn it seems an obvious thing to improve is to do a parallel, separate cycle lane. There is no way people are going to want to cycle on a dual-carriageway but cycling is important for Nairn, cycling is a policy priority. So there is a strong argument for using the opportunity of this new build to design in cycle routes as well as just cycle crossings along this section. 

Transport Scotland were remarkably hostile, the furthest they would go was to kind of suggest at each end of the bypass where there’s junctions and roundabouts, they might put in crossing areas so that any existing cycle route could then find its way not under or over but across – which kind of misses the point. I did draw their attention to what they do up and around Dalwhinnie and what they have done with the new bit of the dual carriageway of the A9. I don’t know whether the National Park Authority insists on this but it is something that Transport Scotland will only deliver if they are prevailed upon to do it because they themselves see it either as necessary or desirable. If Highland Council is serious about encouraging healthy routes to school, about encouraging cycling and all the rest of it, this is something that at the moment isn’t in the plans and arguably should be."

Gurn comment: it would be a brave individual that cycled to Inverness along the A96 these days or even over the back road unofficial bypass but it isn't unknown. There is a cycle route over the hills to Inverness of course which is part of the national cycle network but it takes you via a 26 mile route so it is impractical for commuting purposes for all or part of the way to Inverness. Brian Stewart is right, building the A96 bypass and the dual carriageway to Inverness presents an opportunity to put in a facility to encourage more and safer cycling in the area. Will our politicians act to ensure this happens? It is the kind of deed that needs to be done to make all the pro-cycling spin a reality.    


Anonymous said...

I don't think a parallel cycle track along all of the new dualled A96 is the right answer at all.
The capital expense could be better deployed and spread for greater community benefit.
We should fully utilise all of the existing networks in and around Nairn - including of course the old A96 route.
Where roads are wide enough, we should create defined cyclepaths - and have them on defined routes to schools and to hospital.
Nairn should 20mph from East to West and we should establish in law priority for pedestrians first, cyclist second and motorised vehicles last. Can't see any reason why cyclists shouldn't share footpaths - as they do around the river - although I would like to see compulsory third party insurance for cycling (and for dogs).
We could learn a lot from Holland and Denmark I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Same response i got from emails and comments on the A96 dualling - a brush off of "we'll consider cycling as part of the planning" and then a "we'll make provision where appropriate" and now its more hostile than ever. Crossings across the dual a96 are just stupid and will never get used - and the problem of just saying the old a96 can be used, is the fact the old A96 is the only road to get ONTO the dual a96, so we'll be sharing traffic that is coming on/off the dual carriageway, not improving safety of cycling enjoyment at all, nor improving the commute times for cyclists who go to and from work to help ease the congestion at peak times!

Considering the Government Politicians targeted a 20% of all journeys to be by bicycle by 2020 (now its not a target, now its changed to a "Vision") - yet they ignore the simplest opportunity to provide the facilities to make this happen.

personally i do *NOT* think its a waste of money to have a cycle lane along the new dual carriageway - look at how popular the slightly changed and newly upgraded path in inverness into the city center with the cycle counter has become since its opening - if you build it they will come.
Imagine a car free journey from nairn to cawdor, nairn to Inverness retail park, nairn to forres? cycling with your kids along a safe lane to school, or just down to the beach or to the cinema on a saturday?

Everyone talks about Denmark/Copenhagen yet the people in Denmark must look at us and laugh - a recent trip out there an you can cycle for 100's of km's and dedicated cycle paths to towns , villages, schools, anywhere you want.
But hey, were a "rich" "progressive" "forward thinking" "modern" western nation who wont even considered a 1 meter wide tarmac lane in this Billion ££ project.

Brian Turner said...

What happened to the idea of a coastal cycle network?

Graisg said...

Dear Fellow cycling citizens and cycling supporters. There is a Holyrood election next May - let's start asking all the candidates what they will do to ensure that there is a route parallel to the new road?

Broadley Wiggins said...

Note to self : must write to the appropriate authorities about this. It's a one-off opportunity to get a safe cycle route between Nairn and Inverness. This could involve use of the old A96 where it will be replaced by the new road and a segregated safe route alongside the new road where it is built along with proper connections to each.
This assumes the road will ever actually get off the drawing board.

Anonymous said...

Road completed and dualled on time and on budget. Keep pressure on for our section to be first. Or we can squabble about our dual having distinct lanes for cyclists. Perhaps one lane for push chairs and another lane for my mobility scooter?
Let's just get on with it. Its a bypass. Its what we've been shouting for.
Bells and whistles can be fitted around the old route.

Anonymous said...

Except there is not the slightest possibility that tge cycle lane will be added later. All you over entitled drivers can think about is how to get more money poured into allowing you to go marginally faster.

Anonymous said...

Maybe no everyone is aware of it but in recent years a great walk/cycleway was constructed between Auldearn and Nairn whereby there is a gap of at least a couple of metres between the path and the road. This is what we need elsewhere