Categories
Case Studies News News & Opinion Places for Everyone Project/Department Filtering

Work begins to link up communities in East Renfrewshire

New year, new walking wheeling and cycling links

On 12 January 2024, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the start of construction on the ambitious £22.68 million project to upgrade and improve Aurs Road in East Renfrewshire.

The project will not only create a safer, more direct local route between Barrhead and Newton Mearns by straightening out the carriageway and replacing a weak road bridge, it will also open up all new possibilities for walking, wheeling and cycling.

£8.19 million of funding provided by Places for Everyone will deliver a new 2km active travel route between the two adjacent communities, as well as an impressive 700m waterside promenade overlooking Balgray Reservoir.

As a result of the project, residents and visitors will now be able to make safer, healthier and more sustainable everyday journeys between Barrhead and Newton Mearns.

The new waterside promenade also offers the communities an accessible space to relax or meet up with friends and family.

Further plans as part of the wider Aurs Road project include a new 4km circular route around the perimeter of Balgray Reservoir, providing unprecedented access to Dams and Darnley Country Park.

Once complete, a new accessible waterside promenade will offer people a place to relax, socialise and enjoy the scenery of Balgray Reservoir. Credit: East Renfrewshire Council

Making connections outside of the city

Often, outside of our city and town centres, a lack of safe and accessible walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure and patchy public transport links can leave communities feeling disconnected.

For households without access to a car, it also means that reaching essential, everyday destinations like their places of work, shops or health services can be difficult.

We’ve already seen the value that new walking, wheeling and cycling connections can deliver to smaller communities through Places for Everyone projects like the  completed in partnership with Scottish Borders Council in 2023.

The Balgray Active Travel Links project is another clear example of how Local Authority ambition can boost independence and choice in how communities get around, whilst also forging new links and connections.

With a combined population of almost 50,000 people, the potential impact on local travel habits throughout Barrhead and Newton Mearns can’t be overstated.

The project aims to transform journeys between Barrhead and Newton Mearns by straightening Aurs Road and building a new walking, wheeling and cycling route alongside Balgray Reservoir. Credit: East Renfrewshire Council

Partnered in community celebration

In truly frosty conditions, representatives of the project delivery teams gathered alongside Aurs Road to formally inaugurate the construction.

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director for Sustrans, shared her thoughts:

“Improving active travel links between communities outside of our cities is vital.”

“This project does exactly that by delivering an accessible and direct walking, wheeling and cycling link between Barrhead and Newton Mearns for residents and visitors alike.”

“We’re absolutely delighted to see work now starting on this project and grateful to all those who have taken part in making it a success.”

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director, Sustrans

East Renfrewshire Council Leader Owen O’Donnell added:

“Since announcing our plans for transforming Aurs Road, we’ve had a fantastic response from residents who are excited about the delivery of a much needed improved and straightened road with active travel link.”

Owen O’Donnell, Leader, East Renfrewshire Council

Signed diversion routes are in place via Stewarton Road, Nitshill Road and Darnley Road.

Funding for the wider £22.68 million Aurs Road project was received from the Glasgow City Region City Deal, made up of funding from the UK and Scottish Government and East Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government’s Bridge Fund, and developer contributions from new house building projects in the area.

£8.19 million was received for the Balgray Active Travel Links project through the Places for Everyone fund, which is backed by Transport Scotland and administered by Sustrans.

Categories
Case Studies News News & Opinion Places for Everyone

The active travel network delivering for young people in Stirling

Making it easier and safer for people to travel actively is vital for increasing the number of everyday walking, wheeling, and cycling journeys.

This means ensuring that everyone, including those groups that are most vulnerable on the road, are adequately protected.

For example, children and young people.

Places for Everyone is working with partners across Scotland to ensure that the routes we deliver are accessible and intuitive for all ages and abilities.

The Walk Cycle Live Stirling project is an excellent example of how bold yet careful designs can be used to prioritise the needs of young Scots.

Routes to success

As the main connecting route between the city centre and university, Causewayhead has massively benefitted from accessible cycling infrastructure. Copyright: Sustrans, 2023.

Children and young people regularly make essential active journeys as part of their everyday lives.

From going to and from school to seeing friends and family, walking wheeling and cycling are the earliest available modes which allow children and young people to travel independently.

Currently under construction, the £9.5m Stirling project will soon deliver an extensive network of new walking, wheeling, and cycling links across the city.

This will not only facilitate more active journeys between residential areas, transport hubs, as well as retail and hospitality venues but also key destinations for education and learning.

Traffic-calming measures and landscaping improvements have made Albert Place a more welcoming and enjoyable place for all ages. Copyright: Sustrans, 2023.

Delivered in partnership with Stirling Council, Walk Cycle Live Stirling proposes to create two major routes:

Route one, dubbed the University route, will provide a safe and accessible route between Stirling Train station and the University of Stirling, taking in iconic landmarks like Old Stirling Bridge and the National Wallace Monument along the way.

Route two, the College Route, aims to bridge the gaps between Forth Valley College and the City Centre along Albert Place, Dumbarton Road and Raploch Road, passing under the impressive shadow of Stirling Castle.

The new segregated cycle lane along Dumbarton road helps keep young people safe from heavy traffic and encourages active journeys to and from Forth Valley College. Copyright: Sustrans, 2023.

Each of these strategic corridors has been designed to be largely segregated from the traffic via physical barriers, providing comfort and reassurance for all users.

Generational change

Healthier than other modes, travelling by bike is also often cheaper more affordable than public transport and private vehicle use.

Factors such as these are ones which young adults, in particular, benefit from.

Alex Avallone, a recent graduate from the University of Stirling, shared their thoughts on what the project could mean for current and prospective students in the years to come:

“I didn’t cycle when I was studying, mostly because the roads were too busy and I didn’t feel confident doing so. I took the bus or walked. Now, I hope a lot of people will think twice and choose to cycle instead”

Alex Avallone, Graduate, The University of Stirling

Katherine Henebry, Senior Grant Advisor at Sustrans, has been working on Walk Cycle Live Stirling throughout its construction, and has high hopes for its grand opening:

“After completion, children and young people can safely travel independently along two key corridors in Stirling. These routes are a new start for foundational memories to be made – on the journey to school, as well as in the broader exploration of their hometown’s rich history and environment. We’re so proud to have worked with Stirling Council to make these journeys a reality”

Katherine Henebry, Senior Grant Advisor, Sustrans

Due be complete by Summer 2024, Walk Cycle Live Stirling is set to connect communities in the city and surrounding areas through active travel in a major way. This will be particularly transformative for children and young people.

The project received £7.1m in funding from Places for Everyone, as well as £2.5m of Scottish Government investment from the City Region Deal and £258k from Stirling Council’s developer contributions allocation.

Categories
Case Studies News News & Opinion Places for Everyone

How smart infrastructure can help build a sustainable future

Increasing walking, wheeling, and cycling are all great ways improve physical and mental health.

However, active journeys are also a key part of the national response to the climate emergency, and our overall ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions.

Through Places for Everyone, Sustrans is working with partners all across Scotland to deliver safe and accessible active travel infrastructure.

This includes new connections linking up isolated rural communities as well as expansive city-wide networks to help people get where they need to go.

As part of this, we want to ensure that every one of our projects is delivered in as sustainable a way as possible to reduce our own carbon emissions.

So how can we do it?

Outlining the techniques

How we approach the design and procurement of construction materials during project delivery can have a big impact on our carbon output. 
 
When delivering infrastructure, it is helpful to think about what we can avoid, what we switch to as an alternative, and also what we can improve in the process.

What to avoid

Reducing the need for new construction can significantly increase project sustainability.

This might mean finding different ways to meet your goals without building new infrastructure at all, or by simply making the most out of what already exists through reuse or repurposing.

This approach encourages us to think creatively and sustainably to minimize new constructions. 

  • Utilising existing pathways: Before considering new constructions, explore if there are existing pathways that can be renovated or repurposed to suit the needs of the project. This might include old railway paths commonly used by the National Cycle Network, or old bridges that are no longer suitable for heavy vehicles but can carry lower loads.
  • Multi-purpose facilities: Rather than building new assets, we can design spaces that serve multiple purposes, thus reducing the overall need for new constructions.
  • Community Engagement: Engaging with the community can sometimes reveal alternatives and local insights that help in avoiding new constructions. For instance, local communities might propose efficient ways to repurpose existing assets that outsiders might not be aware of.
Forres Roysvale Park

In partnership with Moray Council, the Forres Roysvale Park project shows how excess road space can be used to implement sustainable drainage solutions. By narrowing the existing carriageway, a 3-metre-wide shared use path was introduced alongside tactical rain gardens. This not only provided a safe and direct link between Forres Academy and Applegrove primary and nearby residential areas, but also served to alleviate surface water issues. 

Where to switch

Opting for alternatives without compromising on quality can result in major savings to your carbon footprint.

This might involve changing the project scope, redesigning the approach, choosing different materials, or technologies that are more eco-friendly.

  • Sustainable Materials: Using recycled or recovered materials can significantly reduce the carbon emissions associated with the production of new materials.
  • Low Carbon Technologies: Leveraging technologies that are more energy-efficient or that have a lower environmental impact, e.g., using electric plant vehicles used in construction.
  • Nature-Based Solutions: Taking advantage of nature-based solutions, like creating green corridors which not only facilitate active travel but also enhance biodiversity.
  • Permeable pavements: Using permeable pavements can aid in water management, reducing the need for separate drainage systems.
Loans to Troon Railway

In partnership with South Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire Roads Alliance, an all-new traffic-free route to join the settlements of Loans and Troon was completed in 2023. As well as providing a key active travel link, the Loans to Troon route is notable for being constructed from almost entirely recycled paving materials. This serves to create an affordable, long-lasting but also sustainable connection between key trip generators, such as Marr College and Troon train station.

How to improve

Increasing the sustainability of the materials being used for construction can sway the carbon output of a project significantly.

This can involve thinking about the longevity and durability of the materials being used and, ultimately, planning for its reuse or recycling.

  • Circular Economy Principles: Applying circular economy principles might mean designing assets that can be easily dismantled and the materials reused or recycled, thereby reducing waste.
  • Long-life, low maintenance materials: Reducing the need to maintain and increasing time before resurfacing is needed in the future will help reducing carbon emitted during the lifetime of an asset.
  • Native landscaping: Integrate local plants alongside paths. These require less water and maintenance, sequester carbon, and enhance the appeal of the path, encouraging more use.
  • Inclusive Design and Aesthetic Design: Ensuring the pathway is accessible to people of all ages and abilities not only promotes inclusivity but also encourages more people to use the pathway, potentially reducing carbon emissions from reduced car use. Making the pathway attractive, possibly through the inclusion of art installations or well-designed green spaces, can encourage more people to use it, fostering a sense of community while also reducing carbon emissions through reduced car usage.
Roseburn to Union Canal

With the City of Edinburgh Council, work is underway to link the Union Canal with the North Edinburgh Path Network via a new traffic-free route. Inaccessible areas of decaying shrubland will be restored via tree planting and community gardens. This not only delivers a valuable connection from north to south, but also a new green corridor.

The above guidelines have been categorised according to the PAS 2080 Carbon Management in Infrastructure standard, which supports organisations wanting to lower emissions from their construction activities.

For further information, please see the Carbon Management in Buildings and Infrastructure report.

Categories
Case Studies News News & Opinion Places for Everyone

Improving active links with public transport across Scotland

Across Scotland, 29% of households don’t have access to a car. 

In our major cities, this figure rises to 46% of households in Glasgow and Dundee, and 41% in Edinburgh. 

So what can we do to give everyone in Scotland fairer choices in how they get around? And how are we supporting communities in moving towards lower carbon, healthier and happier journeys?

Convenient access to transport hubs plays a key role in how people choose to make everyday journeys. Credit: Sustrans (2023).

Increasing and improving the opportunities to walk, wheel and cycle for short, everyday journeys has a huge role to play.  

But good, reliable public transport is vital for longer journeys to work, education, everyday amenities, and friends. 

And most of these longer journeys already start and end with a walk, wheel or cycle to a stop or station.   

With Scotland aiming to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20 per cent by 2030, we take a look at some of the ways we’re better connecting walking, wheeling and cycling with public transport across Scotland and making it easier to leave the car at home.

Stirling train station transformation

The regeneration of Stirling train station is a primary example of how access to train stations can be dramatically improved for walking, wheeling, and cycling. 

More than 200 bike spaces a now available at Stirling station, including for cargo bikes and adapted cycles. Credit: Sustrans (2023).

With funding provided through Places for Everyone and working closely with ScotRail, the ambitious £5m Stirling Station Gateway project delivered a complete re-design of the station forecourt. 
 
Completed in June 2023, major changes include widened footways, comfortable seating areas, landscaping works, as well as improved signage and wayfinding points. 
 
Another key feature is the increased provision of secure covered cycle storage, offering more than 140 additional cycle parking spaces and increasing the total number of cycle spaces at the station to more than 200. 
 
A large portion of the space required for these improvements was been created via changes to the carriageway and the reallocation of the taxi rank to an adjacent street. 
 
Importantly, access for blue badge holders has been entirely retained at the station, with additional spaces even being provided.  
 
Perhaps one of the biggest successes of the project, however, is how well it interconnects with the wider Walk Cycle Live Stirling project via segregated cycleways along Gooscroft Road. 
 
Delivered in partnership with Stirling Council via Places for Everyone, Walk Cycle Live Stirling aims to deliver a £9.5m city-wide active travel network. 
 
Taken together, all this has helped transform the area from an unappealing vehicle-dominated environment to one which creates space for safer, and more accessible active travel options.

Bike spaces on Borders buses

Bike storage on the X62 service, serving the Tweed Valley and Scottish Borders.

The work which Sustrans delivered with Borders Buses highlights how public transport can assist cyclists in making longer journeys without having to leave the bike behind.

With the novel creation of bike storage spaces on board, the X62 service, which serves Tweed Valley and the Scottish Borders, was able to become a fully bike-friendly route.

This involved retrofitting bike storage onto buses so that every bus operating on the X62 route would have space for a minimum of two bikes.

It also involved a change in livery, marketing and promotional materials with the aim to increase the catchment area of the bus service.

The money Sustrans provided resulted in a fully bike-friendly bus service that runs from Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders. By making buses bike-friendly, they become accessible to more people.

Categories
Case Studies News News & Opinion Places for Everyone

Celebrations as major Glasgow cycling route reaches city centre

The South City Way has hit a major milestone by reaching Glasgow city centre.

To mark the occasion, the 2.5km route was officially opened by the Minister for Active Travel and members of the community on the 6 July 2023.

The fully-segregated, two-way cycle path has provided a high quality, direct and safe link between Glasgow’s southside and the city centre. 

It’s making it easier than ever for more people in the area to leave the car at home and make healthier and happier everyday journeys.

The route is also expected to benefit trade through improved access to the area.

The project was made possible by over £3.5 million of funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone/Community Links PLUS programme.

Glasgow City Council used their own funding as a partial match, bringing the project total to around £7m.

Construction work started on the project in December 2017 and was completed up to the Clyde in June 2023.

What is the South City Way?

The new segregated route has created a vital and accessible active travel link for local communities.

The South City Way has connected key destinations such as hospitals and medical centres, parks, businesses, academic institutions and places of worship along the cycling corridor.

The project has also improved access to public transport in the area.

To make it safer and easier to walk and wheel, pavements have been resurfaced along large parts of the route, with new crossing points installed, existing crossings improved and traffic speeds slowed through the addition of raised tables on side roads. 

These changes will make everyday walking, wheeling and cycling journeys safer, easier and more convenient for everyone. 

The South City Way also connects with National Cycle Network Routes 775 and 756 at the traffic-free Clyde-side path.

This opens up the possibility of longer trips heading east from Glasgow to Uddingston, East Kilbride and Rutherglen, and west to Clydebank, Bowling, Dumbarton, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

The South City Way has connected key destinations such as hospitals and medical centres, parks, businesses, academic institutions and places of worship along the cycling corridor. Credit: Sustrans/McAteer Photography

An innovative approach to active travel infrastructure

During the project, we worked closely with Glasgow City Council to trial two protected junctions at locations along Victoria Road.

These were the first protected junctions trialled in Scotland.

Protected junctions are road junctions that separate people travelling on foot, by cycle, and in vehicles. 

The trial was successful, with our Research and Monitoring Unit finding that between March 2019 and September 2021, the total cycle traffic through the junctions almost doubled.

More than 935,000 cycle journeys have now been recorded on Glasgow’s South City Way cycle route in the past two years. 

A project with community at its heart

The South City Way is about much more than the new connection to the city centre.

Businesses, community organisations and individuals have been at the heart of the project from the outset.  

The creation of a Community Projects Trail featuring murals, bike locking facilities, planters and much more was supported by the South City Way Small Grants Fund and led by local groups.  

This has helped make the active travel corridor an attractive, inclusive and welcoming space for everyone. 

Representatives from the Hidden Gardens, Govanhill Baths Trust, Bike for Good, South Seeds and Crossroads Youth and Community Association joined the Minister for Active Travel, Patrick Harvie MSP, and officials from Glasgow City Council and Sustrans Scotland to celebrate the South City Way launch event on 6 July.

Businesses, community organisations and individuals have been at the heart of the project from the outset. Credit: Sustrans/McAteer Photography

A cause for celebration

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister for Active Travel, Patrick Harvie MSP, said:

“I’m pleased to welcome the completion of the South City Way to Glasgow City centre.

We will soon see over a million cycle journeys on this new active travel corridor, which is yet another example of segregated infrastructure making it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys.

With the eyes of the world on Scotland for the first ever UCI 2023 Cycling World Championships, it’s schemes like this which demonstrate the shared intent of Government and Local Authorities to make cycling safer and more convenient as a means of everyday transport.

For our health, wellbeing and environment, our ambition to deliver more infrastructure like this, right across the country, has never been higher.

That’s why the Scottish Government has committed to spending at least £320 million, or 10% of the total transport budget, on active travel by 2024‑25.”

Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Active Travel

Councillor Angus Millar highlighted the newly released cycle journey figures as clear evidence of the demand for improved cycling infrastructure in Glasgow:

“It’s great to see the difference the South City Way is making to cycling in the southside area of Glasgow. 

The cycle journey figures are remarkable and show without doubt that people want to get about Glasgow more sustainably when infrastructure is available for them to do so.

Now that the South City Way has reached the city centre, I am confident the number of people cycling on the route will continue to grow.

Concerns about safety are the number one barrier to cycling and our work to ensure safe, segregated routes in all areas of Glasgow will support more people to choose cycling for everyday journeys across the city.

We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government, Sustrans and communities across Glasgow as we deliver our commitment to create a comprehensive City Network for active travel over the course of the decade.”

Cllr Angus Millar, Glasgow City Council

Carole Patrick, Portfolio Director for Sustrans Scotland, added:

“The South City Way is about so much more than the new safe and direct connection to the city centre.

Working in partnership with Glasgow City Council through our Scottish Government-funded Places for Everyone programme, we are so proud of the fact that local communities have been at the heart of the project.

Businesses, community organisations and individuals have really embraced the opportunities for the southside.

The community-led projects supported by the Small Grants Fund have had such a powerful impact in making the South City Way corridor an attractive, inclusive and welcoming space for everyone. 

Putting communities at the heart of projects and investing in safe, high-quality infrastructure which makes it easier to leave the car at home and walk, wheel or cycling for everyday journeys is a winning combination.

Monitoring in 2019 and 2021, before and after the innovative protected junctions were installed, recorded a 100% increase in cycling journeys – and recent sensor figures show that the South City Way is supporting and encouraging more and more people to make healthier and happier journey choices.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to build on the success of the South City Way and make it easier for even more people to walk, wheel and cycle.”  

Carole Patrick, Portfolio Director, Sustrans Scotland
Categories
Case Studies Homepage Featured News Places for Everyone

The new shared-use path connecting communities in the Scottish Borders 

A vital rural link

A new off-road shared-use path between the county town of Peebles and the satellite village of Eddleston in the Scottish Borders officially opened on the 17th June 2023.  

Spanning 6km in length, the Eddleston Water Path provides a convenient and accessible route for local people and visitors to the area to walk, wheel and cycle between the settlements, connecting communities, businesses and key services like never before. 

The new path will also benefit equestrians in the area, providing a safe and more relaxed riding experience set back from the road.

The project was made possible by over £2 million of funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme and South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE).

Construction work started on the project in late 2021 and was completed in early June 2023.

Community ambition in action

From the very beginning, the Eddleston Water Path project has been shaped by the ambitions of the local community.  

Local groups and campaigners were instrumental in calling for improved active travel infrastructure in the area, having spent years promoting their vision for a healthier and more sustainable future. 

Engagement with those living and working in the area helped ensure the success of the project from the outset. Credit: Scottish Borders Council, 2023.

Peebles Community Trust (PCT) led the design of the project once funding was secured, and feedback was gathered at every stage to ensure the Eddleston Water Path reflected the needs and wants of residents. 

This approach has resulted in the creation of a well-loved community asset which has provided affordable access to employment opportunities, key services and treasured greenspace.

Accessibility for everyone 

Before the Eddleston Water Path was constructed, travelling between Peebles and Eddleston was only possible via a busy and fast-moving road.  

Now complete, the project provides an alternative route where all residents and visitors to the area, regardless of age or ability, have the option to leave the car at home and walk, wheel and cycle instead.  

Large sections of the road running alongside the route are national speed limit, making physical segregation vital. Credit: Scottish Borders Council, 2023.

To futureproof the project, flood mitigation and measures to increase biodiversity were built into the designs.  

The path has also contributed to the areas extensive network of paths for leisure and riding, linking into a wider network that includes the existing Tweed Valley Railway Path to the south.  

A cause for celebration 

The Eddleston Water Path was officially opened on the 17th June 2023 at an event attended by local residents, project partners and elected representatives.  

Following a series of speeches, a piped procession was laid on for those in attendance before the ribbon was cut by local primary school student Conor. 

Local turned out in number to take part in the festivities, providing the perfect opportunity to test out the new route. Credit: Scottish Borders Council, 2023.

Speaking ahead of the event, Councillor John Greenwell, Executive Member for Roads & Maintenance, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that the new Eddleston Water Path has been completed and that members of the public are now making use of the route.”

“This project has been a true collaborative effort, with thanks to the Scottish Government and SOSE for their financial support in helping make this project a reality and also to the Community Council’s and Trust’s from both Peebles and Eddleston for their support and tireless efforts.”

“A dedicated path will ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the area whilst also encouraging others to choose more active methods of travel between the two settlements.”

Cllr John Greenwell, Scottish Borders Council

Director at Sustrans Scotland, Karen McGregor, added:

“We’re very pleased the Eddleston Water Path is now open to the public.”  

“This new route creates a vital traffic-free space for walking, wheeling and cycling between Peebles and Eddleston, enabling residents and visitors to the area to travel actively while accessing key services and local greenspace.” 

“We hope the new path makes it safer and easier for lots more people to leave the car at home for short everyday journeys.”

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director, Sustrans

SOSE Chair, Professor Russel Griggs, said:

“SOSE is committed through all we do to supporting a Wellbeing Economy and all the positive things that it brings for communities.”

“The new Eddleston Water Path is a fantastic example of this approach, encouraging local people and visitors to get active and help address issues such as fuel poverty and community isolation and improve resident’s health and wellbeing.”

Prof Russel Griggs, South of Scotland Enterprise

Categories
Case Studies Homepage Featured News Places for Everyone

Kirkwall celebrates new green haven

Neighbourhood biodiversity

Located in a residential area to the east of the town, Papdale Park encompasses a sprawling network of meandering paths and modern landscaping initiatives that have truly transformed the space for the better.

Delivered by Orkney Islands Council in partnership with Sustrans through Places for Everyone, Papdale Park provides the Kirkwall community yet another place to enjoy for the year ahead.

Key features of the park include a deculverted burn, an array of walking, wheeling, and cycling routes, as well as native shrubs and trees, and a wildflower meadow for enhanced biodiversity.

Landscaping iniatatives such as a deculvated burn were incorporated into the designs of the park. Credit: Orkney Islands Council, 2022.

This is topped off with a stunning community plaza and new road crossing linking the park to Kirkwall Grammar School to ensure trips are as safe and accessible as possible.

Further excitement still awaits, however, as this only marks the completion of the first phase of the Papdale Park project.

Once funding is secured through Places for Everyone for the second phase of work, plans can begin to take shape for the creation of an all-ages-and-abilities play park for local residents to enjoy.

A community vision

Plans for the Papdale Park originated from a series of engagement sessions held in 2018, delivered by Orkney Islands Council as part of the Your Kirkwall Place Plan.

During these sessions, local community group Papdale East Play Association (PEPA) brought forward a range of ideas on how to improve the existing but dilapidated play park, complementing neatly with the wider aspirations of the community.

A meandering network of paths provides a safe and accessible route to school for pupils of the local Papdale Primary and Kirkwall Grammer Schools. Credit: Orkney Islands Council, 2022.

The project was also borne out of the Council’s Play Area Strategy, which identified Papdale East as an area where opportunities for play were in need of improvement.

On these solid foundations, emerging plans were then carefully shaped in accordance with considered community feedback in order to ensure the best design possible was ultimately produced.

The resulting blueprints laid out an ambitious vision for a new community greenspace for people of all ages to enjoy, smartly futureproofed against the impacts of climate change, changing technology, and an anticipated rise in active travel.

A memorable occasion

Despite being informally open since the end of last year, local Orcadians turned out in good number to see the ribbon cutting and Papdale Park officially opened.

Held on Friday 21st April, a series of speeches and guided ecology walks were available to those in attendance. Free cycle servicing and an e-bike display were also provided to attendees.

Local residents and project partner representatives turned out on the day to see the ribbon cutting. Credit: Orkeny Photography, 2023

PEPA, who were instrumental in the design and engagement of the Papdale Park project, were also on hand to provide refreshments, a bake sale, and a special treasure hunt.

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director at Sustrans, was delighted with the collective effort that went into making the park possible. She said:

“Papdale Park is a project designed by and for the local community, which is what underpins its success.

At every step and pedal of the way, we engaged closely with residents to find out what they wanted and how they wanted it.

We are grateful for all the input received and look forward to seeing work continue to ensure Papdale Park remains a much-loved local landmark for generations to come.”

Karen McGregor, Scotland Director, Sustrans

The ribbon itself was cut by Orkney Islands Council Convener Graham Bevan. Flanked by pupils attending from Papdale Primary School, he said:

It is an honour to be asked to perform the official opening of this new, much improved community park space within Kirkwall which is for everyone to enjoy.

“It is so important to retain green spaces within our towns as we all know how important getting outdoors, enjoying some fresh air, exercise, greenery and wildlife is to our physical and mental wellbeing.”

Graham Bevan, Convener, Orkney Islands Council

Building on success

Papdale Park marks the third major project to be delivered on Orkney in quick succession through Places for Everyone.

The Places and Spaces project helped deliver key street layout changes to make getting in and around Kirkwall town centre safer and easier.

Sustrans also worked closely with Orkney Island Council to complete the development of the Arcadia Park, which provides an attractive path network and landscaped link to Balfour Hospital to the south.

Arcadia Park opened in the south of Kirkwall in 2022, providing a lushious greenspace for active travel and relaxation. Credit: Sustrans, 2022.

£670,000 was allocated for the Papdale Park project, provided by Orkney Islands Council, NatureScot’s Biodiversity Challenge Fund, and Places for Everyone, an active travel infrastructure programme funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Sustrans.

Additional funding for the project came from a Cycling, Walking and Safer Routes grant allocation and the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund. Design work was funded by HITRANS.

The project has also been supported by the Orkney Woodland Project and The Woodland Trust and the work carried out by Andrew Sinclair Contractors.

Already becoming a cherished community asset, Papdale Park is yet another success story for active travel opportunities in Kirkwall.

Categories
Case Studies Homepage Featured News Places for Everyone

Community-designed park opens on Orkney

Arcadia Park is a new community-designed green space and active travel network in Kirkwall, Orkney.

Built on what was previously a section of underused land adjacent to Balfour Hospital, the project sought to transform the area into a place where local residents can take time out and relax.

The new park provides somewhere that can be used for walking, wheeling, cycling, and spending time outdoors.

The project officially opened on the 24th September 2022.

A place to unwind

The Arcadia Park project has created a peaceful place where local people can exercise, switch off and connect with the natural environment in Orkney’s largest town.

The 33,000 square metre site is now home to ponds, wildflower meadows, woodland and sculpture.

These features are all connected by a network of accessible active travel routes, enabling people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the space.

The day-to-day management of the park is undertaken by a group of volunteers from Arcadia Community Park Group.

Arcadia Park is a new community-designed green space and active travel network in Kirkwall. Credit: Sustrans 2022.

Inspiration behind the project

The project stemmed from the aspirations of a local community group to transform an area of open space opposite the new Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall. 

Orkney Alcohol Counselling and Advisory Service (OACAS) took up a maintenance agreement with Orkney Islands Council for the site in 2017.

OACAS aimed to use the space to rehabilitate young offenders by providing opportunities to develop horticultural skills in partnership with Orkney College UHI.

In 2018, Orkney Island Council founded the Your Kirkwall initiative – an engagement project to create a community led vision for the future of the town. 

OACAS contributed their ideas for the plot, emphasising the potential to connect the new hospital with residential areas and future development land located nearby via an inclusive, all-abilities path.  

Arcadia Park has been built on what was previously a section of underused land adjacent to Balfour Hospital. Credit: Sustrans 2022.

Overcoming challenges

In 2020 the project faced a significant challenge when OACAS went into liquidation. 

This caused some uncertainty around the future of Arcadia Park.

However, those involved were determined to see it succeed.

The key contact from OACAS and the landscape architect who carried out the design work set up the Arcadia Community Park Group later that year. 

The group continues to go from strength to strength and today oversees the day-to-day management of the park.

ArtRoots involvement

The Places for Everyone funded developments concluded in early 2021.

In April that year, Arcadia Community Park Group applied for funding for an ArtRoots project to further enhance the space.

The application was for a new sculpture and wildflower planting to complement the trees and grassy areas.

The design was created based on ideas submitted from children at the local schools – a meteorite which lands in the park and becomes home to a family of Orcadian Voles.

A local storyteller then created a story to go with the sculpture.

The 33,000 square metre site is now home to ponds, wildflower meadows, woodland and sculpture. Credit: Sustrans 2022.

Landscaping took place to create a crater with the meteor at its centre.

Paths throughout the park lead to the sculpture, making it a focal point of the site.

An end result to be proud of

Arcadia Park officially opened in September 2022 at a launch event attended by over 100 people including local residents, partners and Sustrans representatives. 

At the launch, local residents reflected on the difference Arcadia Park has made to the community.

“The park has opened up an area that was previously just a boggy scrub.”

“It has provided a quiet place to relax, and somewhere that children can walk and learn to ride their bikes away from the busy roads”.

“The new route is now a popular way to travel between the residential areas and the town centre.”

Local resident, Kirkwall

Michael Harvey, Senior Project Officer at Sustrans, reflected the positivity about the completed project, stating:

“We are so excited to see the completion of the Arcadia Park project, and to hear about the difference it has already made to the local community we have worked closely with.”

“These works have delivered a quiet space where everybody living in the area can unwind outdoors, as well as safely travelling in and around Kirkwall.”

“Routes such as this are such an important step into empowering more people to walk, wheel, and cycle.”

Michael Harvey, Senior Project Officer, Sustrans

Arcadia Community Park Group is now applying for additional funding to provide wooden signs and notice boards.

They are also looking to develop a plant nursery to give local students the opportunity to develop their horticultural skills.

Categories
Case Studies Homepage Featured News News & Opinion Places for Everyone Project/Department Filtering

Community Engagement Key to Flourishing Molendinar Success 

Celebrations were held on Langdale Street in the North East of Glasgow last month, as early designs to improve walking, wheeling, and cycling in the local area were completed. 

On the 22nd and 23rd September residents came together to learn about the ambitions of the Flourishing Molendinar project. 

Play days were held on the section of the street that St. Paul’s Youth Forum – the group leading the project – wants to close to through traffic in order to promote active, sustainable travel and create a community space.

It was a fantastic event with many families coming down to enjoy the space. Local children had their bikes fixed, held races on the closed road and were able to learn more about the vision of the project. 

Inspiration behind the project

For many years, Langdale Street and the surrounding areas have experienced high levels of traffic and poor air quality. 

As Jean McClean from Blackhill Community Council, explained: “This wee community is stuck right in the middle of two motorways, and this is a thorough-through for kids from Blackhill to get up to St Philomena’s. It’s quite dangerous with cars and big trucks flying up and down this area.”

Community engagement found that barriers to active travel in this part of Glasgow were the speed and volume of traffic, lack of safe routes and the condition of the paths.  

Celebrations held on Langdale Street, Glasgow as designs to improve walking, wheeling, and cycling in the area were completed. Credit: Sustrans, 2022.

What is Flourishing Molendinar? 

Flourishing Molendinar aims to create a network of segregated active travel routes and quiet streets which are accessible and safe, making it easier and more enjoyable for local people to walk, wheel, and cycle. 

“One of the things in the community that was often fed back to us was about transport poverty.  

We’re only three miles away from the city centre, but there’s a massive disconnect in terms of public transport – in getting to and from the city centre.  

“It’s [the project] about ensuring people in the North East of Glasgow can enjoy the same opportunities as their peers across the city”

Ben Raw, St Paul’s Community Group

As part of the proposed work, Langdale Street will be transformed into a quiet route where walking, wheeling, and cycling are prioritised, whilst still maintaining access for residents, blue badge holders and emergency service vehicles.

Pupils of St. Philomena’s Primary School will be one of the main beneficiaries of the project which will create safer routes for travelling to and from school. 

Flourishing Molendinar will eventually lead to the development of Langdale Place – a proposed community space featuring enhanced greenspace, benches and places for people to meet and socialise. 

Local children will be one of the main beneficiaries of the project which will create safer routes for travelling to and from school. Credit: Sustrans, 2022.

Driven by and for the local community

Flourishing Molendinar has, up to this point, been led by St. Paul’s Youth Forum and their On Bikes project. Funding was provided by Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme, with support from Glasgow City Council and designers Urban Movement.

To make sure that the developments fit the needs and wants of local people, members of the community have fed in throughout the design process.  

Since the project started a number of exciting consultation and engagement methods were used to ensure that different voices were heard.  

Activities included tasking school children with creating designs for Langdale Place during Minecraft workshops. Most recently, this approach to engaging young people in street design won the award for ‘Most Innovative Transport Project of the Year’ at the Scottish Transport Awards.

Innovative consultation and engagement methods were used to ensure different voices from the community fed into the design process. Credit: Sustrans, 2022.

A session with local artists was also held during St Paul’s weekly community evening meal. Attendees were shown a museum box containing old toys, games and photographs which was used to inspire conversations on how streets were used in the past. 

Other methods of communication included social media campaigns, logo drawing and badge making sessions, meetings with a local steering group, street stalls and led cycle rides that included additional learning regarding climate change, air pollution, urban design and the Flourishing Molendinar project. 

This cross-community engagement has been very successful and culminated with the Langdale Street closure, where people came together to celebrate the project.  

“It’s great for me to see my community happy. My community is going to benefit out of this closure and this project”

Jean McClean, Blackhill Community Council

What’s next?

Flourishing Molendinar is now moving to the next stage of the development and is being handed over to Glasgow City Council who are going to drive it forwards.

“Flourishing Molendinar shows what can be achieved when communities are engaged with redevelopment projects.

The combination of new public spaces, improved pedestrian crossings, new segregated cycle lanes and redesigned quiet streets is going to transform this area of Glasgow.

It is going to connect people together, and ensure that everyone in the local community, regardless of age or ability, can safely walk, wheel or cycle for everyday journeys”.

Michael Melton, Grant Manager at Sustrans
Categories
Case Studies Homepage Featured News News & Opinion Places for Everyone Project/Department Filtering

Trial of Protected Junctions finds cycling numbers double along South City Way

The Glasgow South City Way project is delivering a high-quality active travel corridor from the heart of the South Side through to Glasgow City Centre.

The project is part of Glasgow’s ambition to become a cycle friendly city – linking routes and destinations by “quiet ways” that enable anyone regardless of ability to travel by bike.

As the project developed, two protected junctions (road junctions that separate people travelling on foot, by cycle, and in vehicles) were trialled at a couple of locations along Victoria Road.

They were the first protected junctions ever trialled in Scotland!

What were the outcomes of the trials?

Protected junctions introduced on Victoria Road as part of the South City Way Places for Everyone project in Glasgow. Credit: John Linton, 2021.

During the trial period Sustrans’ Research and Monitoring Unit (RMU) found a significant increase in cycle traffic.

Between March 2019 and September 2021, the total cycle traffic through the junctions had almost doubled.

Pedestrian traffic changed much less in the same period, increasing slightly at one junction and decreasing at the other.

Video footage from the same period showed that 94% of cyclists followed the segregated cycleway through the protected junctions as intended.

Similar footage revealed that pedestrian behaviour had also changed between the pre and post-intervention monitoring.

At the protected junctions, fewer people were crossing on the diagonal, opting instead to cross each arm of the junction separately. Crossing when the red figure shows had increased suggesting that people felt safe enough to cross when traffic was still flowing through the junction.

How have perceptions of safety changed?

As part of the RMU study, 218 interviews were carried out with people who walk and cycle to find out how the introduction of the junctions had changed safety perceptions.

The responses were conclusive, with all the cyclists and over two thirds of the people walking feeling either safe or very safe when using them.

There were, however, also learnings to be taken.

Some people reported confusion with the crossing signs and the position of signals at the new junction layout.

A few survey responses raised concerns for the experience of vulnerable groups using the protected junctions, including the light controls not having sound for people with sight impairment, and trip hazards due to the path and road being at different heights.

A small number of those interviewed also highlighted cyclists not using bells, not observing red lights and travelling in the wrong direction.

The introduction of the protected junctions has allowed more people to walk, wheel and cycle safely in the South Side. Credit: John Linton, 2021.

Looking forwards

While initial findings from the study are very encouraging, the team noted that further work is required to support the roll out of these protected junctions.

“We are pleased by our initial findings after the introduction of the protected junctions on the Victoria Road section of the South City Way.

Those we spoke to reported an increased sense of safety when using the junctions, and the growth of cycle traffic volume since their installation shows they will be an important tool to encouraging more people to use active travel for everyday journeys.

However, we know that there is a lot more work to be done.

Future monitoring will capture more data on the direction of cyclists travelling along the cycleway, and there will be a focus on the experiences of vulnerable groups using the intervention to ensure that everyone is able to safely walk, wheel and cycle in Glasgow”.

Ben Farrington, RMU Evaluation Officer at Sustrans