Here is the text of our response to the proposed Local Transport Strategy (which is summarised here):
We largely agree with the analysis of the problems, particularly that car-dependency is an issue in the region. However we fail to see how the proposed ‘balanced management of demand’ interventions will do anything to prevent congestion within the region’s towns, particularly with the likely deterioration of the rural bus service.
We regret that better subsidies for public transport was not considered to be affordable within the current climate as, along with cycling and walking, we feel that public transport is one of the key ways of reducing car usage within the town.
We feel that the targets for 6% of people cycling ‘regularly’ as a means of transport by 2016 – up from 5% currently – is unambitious, compared to Edinburgh’s target of 10% of all short journeys being undertaken by bike.
We welcome the proposal to develop a cycling and walking strategy although we feel that, as a means of transport, cycling and walking should have been given more prominence within the actual local transport strategy, and not lumped together on a single page.
We dispute the description of the current cycling infrastructure as ‘good’ and are disappointed that more improvements aren’t planned, particularly if you look at the provision in the towns beyond Dumfries. We do however welcome the recognition that ongoing maintenance will be needed and hope that this will extend to winter maintenance such as snow clearing and gritting of both cycle tracks and pavements.
For Dumfries we would suggest the following proposals to make a real difference to cycling rates within the town:
- Blanket 20mph speed limits within the town limits
- Reduced permeability for through traffic within the retail heart of the town, except for buses, bikes, deliveries and collections, and disabled drivers
- Restrict the bulk of town centre parking to time limited (and enforced) short stay parking, except for residents, while directing motorists to the existing more peripheral car parks, which the strategy notes are under used.
- Create a network of safe well-signposted cycle routes around the existing Maxwelltown Railway and Caledonian Cycleway paths, suitable for all cyclists, including novices, taking people to all the places (work, shops etc.) they might need to reach by bike.
- Create a network of ‘safe routes to school’ for all of Dumfries’s schools.
- Extend the provision of bike-enabled buses at the least to the Lockerbie route, and preferably across the region