As we’ve mentioned before, the Council are running an online survey into active travel (cycling and walking if you were wondering!). As this will feed into the council’s Active Travel Strategy, we think it’s worth taking the time to respond. We’ve also provided a copy of our response here (at least for the questions where more detailed answers could be provided):
The council lists its proposed objectives for its strategy and invites responses. The objectives are:
- Objective 1: To promote walking and cycling as alternative ways to travel, particularly for short trips
- Objective 2: To continue to work with school children, staff and parents to encourage more walking, cycling and scooting to and from school;
- Objective 3: To work with employers and staff to encourage more walking and cycling to and from work;
- Objective 4: To improve the safety of walking and cycling in Dumfries and Galloway, and contribute to national road safety targets;
- Objective 5: To embed active travel opportunities within new developments;
- Objective 6: To seek and support funding opportunities for active travel;
- Objective 7: To encourage and facilitate walking and cycling as leisure and tourist activities to provide benefits to health and the local economy; and
- Objective 8: To develop infrastructure improvements that encourages active travel and seeks to prioritise maintenance of active travel infrastructure.
We have responded:
- Put Objective 8 first in priority as without infrastructure all the encouragement in the world won’t make any difference in the long term. We’ve seen from our family rides that there are very few routes that are comfortable and safe to ride with children or novice cyclists
- Start by thinking in terms of developing a joined up network of cycle routes, particularly in the towns
- Make a commitment not just to seek funding but to set aside a proportion of the transport budget towards walking and cycling (the recommended figure by public health bodies is 10%)
- Make a commitment to provide cycling provision for everyone, including the less able-bodied (ensuring that hand cycles, trikes, cargo bikes, trailers and tagalongs can use paths without obstruction
- Give ‘maintenance’ an objective of its own rather than leaving it as an afterthought
At the end, it also asks for any further suggestions or comments on improving cycling and walking in the region. We’ve suggested:
- Stop putting cycle infrastructure on shared-use pavements within towns; take the space away from cars rather than putting people in conflict with each other.
- Build cycle tracks suitable for both children and adults: every child should be able to reach their school safely on a bike.
There should be a network of direct, safe cycle routes from every village within a five-mile radius of Dumfries, Stranraer, Castle Douglas, Newton Stewart etc.
- Reduce traffic by reducing rat-running and making streets one-way for cars and two-way for bikes encouraging more walking and cycling safely along residential streets.
- Create a proper 20mph zone in Dumfries and every other town.
- Have the courage to remove or reduce parking if it is interfering with active travel. Encourage people to leave their cars and walk.
- Signpost the routes you do create – a simple, low cost way of making the infrastructure that already exists more useful
Is there anything we should have omitted or added? If you’ve got any thoughts then please do take a moment to fill in the survey. The more responses they get, then hopefully, the better the resulting strategy is likely to be.