Transport minister Humza Yousaf will be visiting Dumfries next week – we hope that he hears not just about roads and more roads, but about investment in the sort of infrastructure that makes cycling possible for everyone.
Today, the minister announced the winner of the Community Links PLUS competition to build a ‘game changing’ active travel scheme in Scotland. Congratulations to Glasgow, and the people of the Southside – the South West Cycle Way plans look like they will extend what is already one of the best cycle routes in Scotland, with an exemplar project that other towns and cities can emulate.
But you will notice that Dumfries and Galloway don’t feature in the shortlist, didn’t submit any schemes at all for the competition and indeed, weren’t granted any money at all for cycling schemes this year. We’re in danger of being left behind, while better funded cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh invest in the capacity to develop cycling infrastructure – which means they can win more central government cash and build first-class schemes while we can’t even get a crossing to the hospital.
As long as cycling cash is only handed out to the councils who have the capacity to bid for it, then places like Dumfries and Galloway risk being left behind – and that means a two-tier cycling network for Scotland. Glaswegians will sail into town on their shiny new path, while we are left wheeling our bikes because the main crossing into town is cut for two months for repair work, and there are no reasonable alternatives that children and families can use
If you think this is wrong then please let your MSPs know that you’d like to see investment in cycling and walking spread across the whole of Scotland (and here’s one way it could be done and help boost Scotland’s economy after the Brexit vote). Tell them to tell the Minister that cycling is not just for the Central Belt, for Glasgow and Edinburgh. It should be made accessible to everybody in Scotland.
You can write to your MSPs here.