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What changes to the Highway Code mean for different road users

What are the changes?

Three main changes have been made to the Highway Code:

  • A new ‘hierarchy of road users’ is to be introduced in order to ensure that those capable of doing the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
  • Existing rules around pedestrian priority on pavements have been clarified and drivers and cyclists should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road.
  • Guidance has been established for vehicles on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists or horse riders, ensuring that they have priority at junctions when travelling straight on.

In addition, the ‘Dutch Reach’ is now described in the ‘Waiting and parking’ chapter of The Highway Code for the first time. This vehicle exiting technique recommends using the hand on the opposite side to the door you’re opening, increasing the likelihood of you spotting a cyclist as a natural part of looking over your shoulder.

Who will this benefit?

The new guidance is primarily aimed at improving safety for the most vulnerable road users, particularly young, old and disabled pedestrians.

In order of greatest priority, the new hierarchy of road users are described below:

  1. Pedestrians
  2. Cyclists
  3. Horse riders
  4. Motorcyclists
  5. Cars/taxis
  6. Vans/minibuses
  7. Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles

Cyclists, horse riders and motor vehicles should give way to pedestrians at junctions and designated crossings. Furthermore, cyclists should give way to pedestrians on shared use paths.

Additional provisions have also been made for cyclists. New guidance means that motor vehicles should give cyclists priority at junctions and overtake only when a safe gap is available on the carriageway and when travelling on roundabouts.

The Department for Transport has stated that the ultimate aim of these measures is to foster a more “mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use that benefits all users.”

Sustrans welcomes these changes and hopes the additional safety provisions made will reassure and encourage vulnerable road users going forward.

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News & Opinion Spaces for People

Spaces for People research resources

Spaces for People is the Scottish Government’s temporary active travel infrastructure programme, administered by Sustrans Scotland. It was launched in May 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 crisis. The programme allocated a total of £33m for active travel infrastructure measures. 34 partners, mostly local authorities, claimed funding through the programme for a range of projects that enabled safe active travel during the pandemic.

It enabled local authorities to install temporary measures to help people on foot, bike or wheels get about safely during the pandemic.

850 measures installed including:

  • 192 Footpath Widening stretching 41.4km
  • 27 Crossing Upgrades
  • 70 Cycle lane (Segregated) stretching 79.4km
  • 14 Cycle lane (Non-segregated) stretching 25.3km
  • 219 Cycle Parking
  • 56 Street Closure stretching 28.9km
  • 24 Street reduction (20mph) zones
  • 30 Speed reduction (Other) stretching 84.1km
  • 168 Vegetation cut back stretching 209km
  • 81 Other measures

Provided below are a range of reports and results from consultations in relation to Spaces for People. Resources are also provided in relation to the broader context of travel during the pandemic. Additional resources are also available on the relevant local authority website.

Consultations

Argyll & Bute – Spaces for People Engagement Surveys

Argyll & Bute Council asked for the views of the local community on Spaces for People proposals in seven town centres. The survey was open from Thursday 16 July to Sunday 26 July 2020. Reports are available for each of the individual towns included in the survey.

Argyll & Bute – Spaces for People Engagement Surveys

Scottish Borders CitizenSpace Survey responses

During June and July 2020 the public was asked to provide specific suggestions for temporary local schemes which would make it safer for people to walk or cycle for essential trips and exercise during COVID-19. An overview of all comments submitted is available through the below link.

Scottish Borders Citizen Space Survey responses

Commonplace

Visitors to the Commonplace website were able to create their own comments at a specific location, or agree with existing comments by clicking on the thumbs up button. For each comment, at each location, respondents choose from a multiple-choice list of issue(s) relating to social distancing, and a list of potential ways to improve this. They could also add extra information about issues, improvements or suggestions in the ‘other’ section. The platform was open for multiple council areas, and comments are available to review.

A report is also available on the Aberdeen responses. It includes three sections that explore the headline results of the Commonplace consultation for Aberdeen. The first section provides an overview of the whole consultation area. The second section provides a summary of results from three specific areas. The final section summarises who responded to the survey.

Commonplace Platform

Aberdeen City Council – Commonplace Report

East Lothian – Dunbar public engagement results

East Lothian Council conducted a survey to gain feedback on the proposed Spaces for People measures in Dunbar. The local community provided feedback online from the 30th November 2020 to 6th December 2020. This report presents the results and provides an insight into the community’s attitude to different interventions proposed in the local area.

East Lothian – Dunbar public engagement results

Attitudes

Edinburgh City Council

The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) undertook a six-week public consultation entitled Retaining ‘Spaces for People’ Measures from the 22nd February until 5th April 2021. The survey is intended to give the Council a better understanding of how people feel about retaining the different spaces for people projects that have temporarily been introduced in Edinburgh, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Stantec was appointed to undertake the analysis of the open-ended questions in the public consultation survey. They had surveys on our online consultation hub aimed at residents, businesses and stakeholders. In addition to the consultation, Edinburgh City Council also conducted Market Research. The online questionnaire focused on;

  • how much people supported or opposed keeping the measures from strongly approve to strongly disapprove
  • what people felt were the main benefits or disadvantages of keeping the measures
  • which measures people would especially like to keep or remove.
  • what forms of transport they had used on streets with measures in place
  • how they had travelled around Edinburgh before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Spaces for People Consultation Analysis Open-Ended Questions Reporting

Summary of Business Responses to consultation on possible retention of Spaces for People (SfP) measures: Consultation Hub

Summary of stakeholder and community council responses to consultation on possible retention of Spaces for People measures

Response to individual and business surveys: headline data

City of Edinburgh Council Spaces for People Market Research

Disability Equality Scotland

Each week Disability Equality Scotland send out a poll question to their members on a topical issue. For the week beginning 14 August 2020, they asked two questions about the Spaces for People programme. The questions related to awareness of the measures and any impact on getting around.

Disability Equality Scotland

TACTRAN

TACTRAN is the statutory Regional Transport Partnership covering Angus, Dundee City, Perth & Kinross and Stirling. TACTRAN commissioned an attitudinal and behavioural survey to measure the effectiveness of the Spaces for People (SfP) programme in the TACTRAN region. It comprised of ten waves between August 2020 and April 2021. The survey provides in insight to:

  • The frequency participants travelled and mode used for nine different purposes both in the last seven days and hypothetically, if no COVID-19 restrictions were in place. It also included questions about expected future travel over the next month.
  • Participants’ attitude towards different modes of transport. If a respondent reported a negative feeling for a transport mode, they were asked to provide a reason for this opinion. Participants were also asked about their concerns in relation to people spreading the virus while using public or active travel respectively.
  • Participants’ were asked about their awareness of different Spaces for People measures implemented across the four local authority areas. If participants were aware of the measure, they were asked how positively or negatively they felt towards the measure, and the reason for this opinion.
  • Participants also shared information on the time spent walking or cycling for different purposes, such as leisure or commuting and how this had changed since March 2020.

TACTRAN Spaces for People Attitudinal Surveys Wave 10 Report

Traffic Data

Edinburgh City Council

Edinburgh City Council has presented data on cycle volume at locations that have Spaces for People measures.

Supporting Information for report on potential retention of Spaces for People measures: June 2021 Cycle counter data from Counters on Spaces for People routes

Scottish Borders Council Traffic Speed and Volume Dashboard

The Scottish Borders Council have provided a public dashboard presenting the outcome of speed surveys in multiple sites across the region. A comparison between three surveys is available, providing average speed and 85th percentile. The initial survey occurred before Spaces for People measures were introduced. The second and third surveys evaluate the Spaces for People measure of a 20mph speed limit.

Scottish Borders Council Traffic Speed and Volume Dashboard

Project Review

Glasgow City Council – Spaces for People Project Review & Assessment Report

Glasgow City Council has introduced a number of Spaces for People temporary measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; including widened footways, pop-up cycle lanes and pedestrianisation zones using road space, giving priority to those walking, cycling, and wheeling. This report provides an overview of these measures, documents the analysis and evaluation of relevant data, sets out a process to enable an assessment of the individual measures and presents recommendations for either the removal or retention. Glasgow City Council commissioned Sweco to carry out this report.

Glasgow City Council – Spaces for People Project Review & Assessment Report

Travel during the Pandemic

NESTRANS

Nestrans have commissioned Systra to conduct monthly online travel behaviour and attitude surveys between July 2020 and March 2022. The reports provide insight as to how people in the North East of Scotland are traveling and how they expect to travel in the future, as well as finding out their current issues and concerns.

NESTRANS

Public Health Scotland

The report considers how COVID-19 is affecting the use of transport systems, the implications for population health and wellbeing and support for policy responses during the transition through and beyond COVID-19. While the report does not specifically review Spaces for People measures, it does provide it does give an understanding of transport use and attitudes during the pandemic, with particular focus on health and health inequalities. Both the briefing and full report is available below.

Transport use, health and health inequalities: The impact of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 – Briefing

Transport use, health and health inequalities: The impact of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 A rapid review of evidence in support of a health inequalities impact assessment

Transport Scotland

Transport Scotland is monitoring trends and attitudes to transport during the COVID-19 outbreak. Regular reports provides a snapshot of travel across main modes when compared to a pre-pandemic baseline. 

Transport Scotland also carried out a series of telephone surveys with a representative sample of over 16s across Scotland. The survey is aimed at gaining an understanding of the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting current travel behaviour and intentions for future travel in Scotland. As of October 2021, 20 waves of the survey have been undertaken, with the highlights of the report available below. The report provides an insight into:

  • The frequency participants travelled and mode used for ten different purposes. These questions were asked in the context of the last seven days and prior to the first lockdown.
  • Participants were asked about their concerns in relation to people spreading COVID-19 while using public or active travel respectively.
  • Participants were asked about their future expected travel behaviour
  • Participants were asked about their attitude to public transport, their compliance with travel guidance and the vaccination.

COVID-19 Transport Trend Data

COVID-19 Public Attitudes Survey Data

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News News & Opinion

Safe commuting in Edinburgh during Covid-19

A person cycles uphill, seperated from motor traffic by orange and white stripped cylinders. A blue car is to one side of the cyclist, keeping a safe distance.
Spaces for People measures on Crewe Road have made it easier and safer for people cycling to work at the Western Infirmary. Neil Hanna/Sustrans

The City of Edinburgh Council launched its £5 million Spaces for people project in partnership with Sustrans Scotland.

The temporary changes seen across Edinburgh have been put in place to support physical distancing and active travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Protected cycle lanes, funded through Spaces for People, have been introduced on routes to two hospitals within the city.

Streets for Everyone: Crewe Road, Edinburgh – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEd8gYbvvmc

Physical barriers have been added to pre-existing painted cycle lanes on Crewe Road South and Ferry Road to protect cyclists from vehicle traffic on the streets.

Similar protection has been introduced on Dalkeith Road to better enable cycling to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Many Edinburgh residents don’t have access to a car, so creating safe cycling routes to hospitals has been crucial for providing access to hospitals for both service users and staff.

The importance of safe routes

Crewe Road connects North Edinburgh with the west end of the city centre. Protected cycle lanes run along the adjoining Ferry Road to provide a physically protected route for residents to access amenities and work in the west end.

As traffic gradually returned to the streets, it was necessary to provide protective options to allow people to continue cycling.

51% of people in Edinburgh are concerned about cycling safety. Providing simple interventions such as these traffic wands allows people to feel safer when using cycle lanes along the road.

Black and white stripped cylinders mounted in kerb-like bases separate motor traffic and a cycle lane on Lothian Road
Traffic wands are uses to create a temporary cycle lane and space for pedestrians on Lothian Road, Edinburgh. Neil Hanna/Sustrans.

In May, Cllr Lesley MacInnes said:

As offices and worksites begin to return, we will address arterial routes to support commuters.”

The safe routes along Ferry Road and Crewe Road have helped some people to cycle who didn’t feel confident to do so previously.

Cycling for Heroes

During the height of lockdown, key workers and other NHS staff were still travelling to work.

Helping key workers get to work during the pandemic has been a priority for Sustrans and our partners. We supported 100 free cycle hire scheme passes and 110 free 4-month passes for key workers. We also produced a map cycle offers and discounts available to all key workers (including NHS staff) across the UK.

A person unlocks a Transport for Edinburgh hire bike from a rack on Bristo Square.
Free cycle hire passes helped key workers stay on the move when other transport options were limited. John Linton/Sustrans.

The Bike Station launched its Hero Bikes scheme back in April, donating refurbished bikes to key workers.

Bridge 8 Hub/ Bikes for Refugees also provided free loans of bikes to key workers.

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News News & Opinion

Places for Everyone match funding changes support active travel projects in Scotland

What do you need to know?

Following Transport Scotland’s announcement, Places for Everyone is pleased to be able to confirm a significant change in the match funding requirements for projects.

All projects are now eligible to receive up to 70% funding towards construction costs.

In addition, the 10% cap on pre-construction funding will now only be applied once projects reach construction, i.e. pre-construction funding will be extended 100% and any over payment will be deducted from the grant made available for construction (this will be subject to the Places for Everyone teams discretion).

The Spaces for People programme provided Scottish local authorities £38.97 million to create temporary infrastructure for walking, whee;ling and cycling as part of the Covid-19 recovery. John Linton/Sustrans

What do I need to do now?

  • Category 1-3 projects already at construction stage: Please submit a project update form on the application portal detailing any increased funding request. Where these increases are solely attributable to the increase in intervention rate they will be automatically approved. Should you be requesting increases in funding for any other reason, please include a change control with the form.
  • Category 1-3 projects at design stage: Pleaseincrease your forecast construction request the next time you provide Places for Everyone with an updated programme and spend profile; this will likely be at the next stage review for your project.
  • Category 4 projects not yet approved by Panel: Please follow the previous recommendation for category 1-3 projects. Those partners who are about to submit to Panel should ensure that their submission documents reflect any increase in grant request.
  • Category 4 projects Approved by Panel and other legacy projects in receipt of multi-year funding: Where there is an existing budget or programme revision awaiting approval, please submit revised financial information to the portal via a project update form and both these figures and any previous figures provided will be presented to a Change Control Board alongside your existing change control. If you are not otherwise waiting for approval, please submit a revised grant request via an update form and this increase will be approved.
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News News & Opinion Places for Everyone

How can mapping pavements help support physical distancing?

Mapping pavement widths can help local authorities identify pinch points in urban centres or where physical distancing is otherwise unachievable. High Street, North Berwick. Neil Hanna/Sustrans

Responding to a crisis

With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the scarce amount of space allotted to people across Scotland’s towns and cities is firmly in the forefront.

Attempting to maintain a two-metre physical distance from other pavement users whilst navigating by foot or wheel can be a nuisance at the best of times and an impossibility at others.

In aid of this, Sustrans’ Spaces for People programme, funded by the Scottish Government, has distributed almost £40 million to local authorities to provide temporary infrastructure to help people walk, wheel and cycle.

Spaces for People is delivering temporary infrastructure throughout Scotland to help people walk, wheel and cycle safely through the Covid-19 pandemic. Forrest Road, Edinburgh. Sustrans/Neil Hanna

With a common bid by local authorities’ being to widen public footways, Sustrans have set to calculate and map pavement widths in towns and cities through Scotland to help identify potential crowding pinch points and support physical distancing.

Early mapping in Edinburgh

In 2010, City of Edinburgh Council began work on developing an Active Travel Action Plan, a long-term city-wide project to improve the accessibility and safety of walking, cycling and wheeling infrastructure.

One of the ways Sustrans has been assisting the council with this ambitious project is by undertaking the painstaking work of mapping individual pavement widths throughout the city.

With physical distancing guidelines now in effect as a matter of public health, the construction of a working pavement width database for the whole of Scotland has taken on a new urgency.

Once lockdown was announced, Sustrans accelerated work on providing City of Edinburgh Council with a comprehensive dataset of pavement widths.

This was achieved by adapting code developed for New York to complement Ordinance Survey data.

From this initial success, Sustrans has been able to develop further datasets for Glasgow, East Lothian, Dundee, East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire, with the offer being extended to any other local authorities who would find such data useful.

The coding process

Infrastructure Coordinator for Sustrans Alasdair Anderson was a key player in developing the mapping datasets. As lead on the project, he explains:

“The Python code used to do the analysis utilised Ordinance Survey’s most detailed Mastermap Topograpic Area mapping.

This identifies pavements and paths within a given local authority and accomplishes the surprisingly difficult task of measuring the width of an irregularly shaped object by using a tailored algorithm.

By first calculating the centreline for each of the thousands of bits of pavement that have already been identified, the algorithm then measures the distance back from individual pavement centre point to the pavement edge to calculate the width.

Finally, the results are compiled into a GIS dataset which can be analysed statistically or displayed on a map”.

Alasdair Anderson, Infrastructure Coordinator, Sustrans
Even Edinburgh’s busiest shopping streets have very narrow pavements. Raeburn Place, Stockbridge. Ordinance Survey.

Using the data

An immediate benefit of this data is that it can be used to help people navigate routes which only follow wider pavements.

For example, Sustrans officers have been looking to use pavement widths data to enable them to plan led walks with volunteers or school children once lockdown restrictions are sufficiently eased.

The larger impact, however, of these mapping capabilities is apparent when the data is combined with other information in order to identify the narrowest or busiest streets in order to prioritise them for widening interventions.

While the £38.97 million available under the Spaces for People fund is a lot of money, it is not nearly enough to widen every pavement in Scotland. As such, working out how to prioritise pavement widening initiatives becomes crucial.

Pavement distancing descriptionWidthkm%
Easy>4.7m133.974
Comfortable3.8 to 4.7m105.933.1
Possible2.7 to 3.8m362.7510.7
Difficult2 to 2.7m608.8418
Too narrow1.5 to 2m975.0128.9
Less than minimum design guidance<1.5m1192.835.3
Total ‘difficult’ or narrower<2.7m2776.6582.2
Table demonstrating the widths of pavements throughout Edinburgh as they relate to physical distancing health guidelines.

Applications in Dundee

One of the first practical applications of Sustrans’ pavement mapping capabilities took place in Dundee city centre.

While nearly empty during lockdown, Union Street in Dundee has been closed to traffic in anticipation of crowds of people returning as businesses reopen. Union Street, Dundee. Paul Reid/Sustrans

A dataset of shops and services in Dundee was first created. This was then overlaid with the footway width dataset Sustrans had created to help identify narrow pavements where high footfall was likely to occur. From this, a unique set of Covid-19 emergency proposals for shopping streets in Dundee was able to be generated.

Using these emergency proposals, Sustrans was then able to highlight particular areas where it would be most crucial to prioritise pavement widening interventions.

Areas in blue are streets which would most benefit from widened pavements. Similar approaches have now been utilised in Edinburgh and East Ayrshire.

Looking forward

Looking beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, the datasets Sustrans has created provide local authorities with an invaluable resource with which to maximise the benefit of footway renewal programmes.

Initial progress can be made by first focussing on pavements which fall short of 1.5m, normally considered to be the minimum.

Interventions in areas such as these would improve accessibility for those with additional mobility support needs immensely, such as those manoeuvring a wheelchair or a pram.

Recent adaptations in the code used to calculate pavement widths have now enabled Sustrans to calculate the widths of entire streets.

This new capability could be instrumental in helping Scottish local authorities understand where it would be most beneficial to deliver cycling infrastructure in the future.

Gallery

Take a look at some of the Scottish towns and cities Sustrans has created GIS pavement width maps for in the image gallery below.

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News News & Opinion

How have towns and cities been making walking and cycling safer travel during coronavirus?

Two cyclists working in Milan, on March 31, 2020. Piero Cruciatti / AFP.

Cities all over the world have come up with a number of ways to promote physical distancing  during Coronavirus.

Changes, such as pavement widening, pop-up cycle lanes and floating bus stops have made it easier for people to exercise and carry out essential journeys safely.

Whilst schemes such as wider provisions for 20mph zones and pedestrian-prioritised streets, have addressed the change in people’s attitudes and behaviour around travel during the pandemic.

Below is a selection of examples of some of the temporary measures taken by towns and cities worldwide. And while the majority of these measures are intended only to be temporary, there are hopes that communities will see the long-term benefit and move towards making them permanent.

Widened Cycle Lanes, Berlin

Temporary bike lanes in Berlin, which have been widened to enable cyclists to keep further apart. Photo by Annegret Hilse/Reuters

New and widened temporary cycle lanes have been created using removable tape, spray paint and mobile signs across Berlin.

A successful pilot of the scheme in the Kreuzberg district at the end of March demonstrated the measures could improve cycling safety without hindering the flow of traffic.

The lanes allow essential workers a safer and quicker daily commute, whilst helping to make rail and underground networks less crowded.

Applications for similar pop-up cycle lanes to be constructed, on behalf of local residents, have been received by 133 other German cities.

Find out more here

Opening Streets, Milan

Like many towns and cities, Milan has seen a dramatic reduction in the use of public transportation. Photo by Andrea Mantavani/The New York Times

Starting with Corso Buenos Aires, one of Milan’s busiest shopping streets, a number of spaces in the city will be reallocated away from motor vehicles to be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

The ambitious plan, the Strade Aperte project, introduced 22 miles of low-cost cycle lanes, new and widened pavements, 20mph speed limit zones, as well as pedestrian priority streets.

Work is set to begin at the start of May and continue over the course of the summer.

Find out more here

Active Travel Fund, Auckland

Widened footpaths make Auckland streets more people-centric. Photo by Greater Auckland

Pavements and cycle lanes are set to be widened throughout Aukland as a tactical urbanism  initiative.

Footpath extensions would use basic materials like planter boxes and colourful paint and wider pavement will come at the expense of existing parking spaces.

17km of temporary cycle lanes will also be created through the reallocation of road space usually reserved for motor traffic.

This follows the announcement of a newly available emergency ‘Streets for People’ fund by the New Zealand government in support of urban active travel projects.

Councils will be able to receive 90% funding for successful project applications to implement in their districts.

New Zealand is the first county to implement such a scheme.

Find out more here

Bus Network for Bikes, Bogota

Crowds gathered at a TransMilenio bus stop prior to coronavirus. Photo source unknown

In an attempt to reduce both congestion and overcrowding on public transport, the Columbian capital has designated 47 new miles of temporary cycle lanes to its residents.

This is in addition to the 340 miles of paved roads already made available to cyclists throughout the city.

Operating between 6.00am and 7.30pm each day, the cone-demarcated lanes are staffed by police and government officials to provide safety assistance and control measures at intersections for users.

The new cycling network has been designed to mirror the bustling TransMilenio city bus routes, providing people with a safer but still familiar commute.

As the first major city to introduce such widespread infrastructure changes in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Bogota has been able to serve as a pioneering model for other cities to emulate.

Find out more here

Repurposing Parking Spaces, Dublin

Traffic cones and signage placed by locals declaring a “temporary footpath” on Manor Street. Photo by The Irish Times

After local residents began widening pavements through the use of traffic cones, Dublin City Council announced a host of infrastructure changes to assist with physical distancing.

Loading bays and parking spaces are currently being repurposed throughout the city in order to provide extra space to pedestrians.

A counter flow cycle lane has also been implemented on Nassau Street, in the heart of the city centre. This is expected to be vital for allowing essential workers a safe commute.

Find out more here

Corona Cycleways, Paris

A cyclist rides in the empty streets of the Champs Elysees in Paris following lockdown in France. Photo by EPE-EFE

650km of new post-lockdown cycle routes, colloquially called ‘Corona cycleways’, are set to be introduced on May 11th.

This is being done to address fears of severe congestion on the roads following the easing of lockdown measures, as commuters attempt to avoid the close quarters of public transport.

Nine permanent segregated cycle lanes will be installed in total, linking up 30 separate Parisian districts.

In addition to this, 72% of the parking spaces are to be temporarily removed and many of the city’s boulevards will be converted into pop-up cycle lanes. 

The project sees an acceleration of Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo’s, “Plan Vélo”, which aimed to triple bike journeys in the capital by 2024 through new on-street infrastructure.

€300 million is to be made available by the Ile-de-France region, covering 60% of the total cost. The remaining shortfall will be provided by local councils and the national bicycle fund.

Find out more here

Slow Streets, Oakland

Local residents have added a personal touch to road closures signs on Brookdale Avenue. Photo by David Campbell/Twitter

A ‘Slow Streets’ programme has seen 74 miles of road closed to motor traffic in Oakland.

This has been done in order to give residents additional space to exercise, whilst also reducing the congestion that has been experienced in local parks.

Due to the ‘soft closure’ nature of the measures, which relies on the voluntary compliance of drivers, emergency vehicles are still permitted to pass beyond the barriers.

Compliance with the scheme has been particularly enhanced through the involvement of neighbourhood and volunteer groups adding crafted signs and personal effects to barriers in order to deter those from ignoring the closures.

Discussions are already taking place, in Oakland and elsewhere in the region, about how these community-driven measures could be used to shape the future of urban landscape design through, for example, weekend closures or modified block parties.

Find out more here

Linking up, Lima

Wide footpaths in one of Lima’s largest parks, Bosque del Olivar. Photo by Checo890/WikiCommons

The Peruvian government is dramatically boosting the cycling infrastructure in its capital, Lima, in an attempt to curb the city’s heavy reliance on public transport during coronavirus.

The ambitious project, ‘Pedal against the Pandemic’, will attempt to implement the five years’ worth of cycling infrastructure plans in only three months.

The project will be implemented in two phases.

301 kilometres of temporary emergency bike lanes will initially be installed to link up more than 70 existing cycle lanes in Lima, with an aim to making these permanent routes post-pandemic. This would double the number of bike lanes currently available to cyclists.

The second phase of the plan is to develop a new inexpensive bike which, while being affordable, also meets the necessary minimum safety requirements. It is hoped this Peruvian bicycle will make cycling more accessible to the residents of Lima.

Find out more

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Why we need to adapt travel infrastructure for genuine sustainable travel choices

by Chiquita Elvin, Sustrans Scotland Infrastructure Manager, Places for Everyone

Our transport infrastructure and built environment needs to adapt in order to provide people with genuine sustainable travel choices.

We need fundamental changes to the way we travel.

In order to respond fully to the climate crisis we need to reduce our dependency on cars altogether, not simply change the type of cars we use. The importance of this cannot be over emphasised enough.

Too often electric cars are seen as the answer to how we respond to the climate crisis, be that as individuals or within the transport planning and design community.

But although electric vehicles appeal to our sense of newness and novelty, whilst keeping the status quo, they do not address a number of the key issues faced by professionals working to ensure climate adapted infrastructure is integrated into master planning and regeneration.

Ultimately, an electric car is still a car, and they impact on place, safety and sedentary lifestyles in the same way as conventional cars.

People need genuine sustainable travel choices

Our transport infrastructure and built environment needs to adapt in order to provide people with genuine sustainable travel choices. And not just in Scotland, but across the UK and across the rest of the world as well.

Not only would this bring many positive environmental impacts, from lowering net carbon emissions, reducing noise pollution and the environmental cost of building and maintaining news roads, but active and sustainable travel infrastructure offers improved health and economic benefits too.

Designing for everyone

In practice, this means accounting for the most vulnerable groups in society first in the design process. By designing our streets and public places to be accessible to all, we end up with places that work for everyone.

So, for example, if we make our footpaths safe, attractive and appropriate for the setting, then this has a knock on effect for other road users and the natural environment.

Slowing and/or reducing traffic volumes and the types of vehicles which use our streets then makes them safer and more pleasant for people to walk, wheel or cycle through.

Making sure we include green and blue infrastructure, such as trees, rain gardens or other sustainable urban drainage systems, means that our streets and public places are more pleasant to spend time in.

Thinking about the context

As planners and designers we must also consider the context in which people travel and how their lives can often dictate this. Responding to the needs of women as a group, for example, means taking into account travelling with children, fears around personal safety and recognising that women more often trip-chain than men.

By then, for example, ensuring there is widespread, affordable public transport which is more accommodating of all users, would provide people with a realistic option to leave their car at home for more (if not all) of the journeys they make every day.

Equally, creating an extensive network of continuous, safe walking and cycling routes in an urban area would enable parents with children, along with everyone else, to travel more actively and sustainably. This could be through addressing the way traffic flows through our streets, as above, or by incorporating protected cycle lanes where this is more appropriate.

The knock on effect of this would allow all groups access the vast range of benefits that active and sustainable travel brings. From a boost in health and wellbeing through increased physical activity, air pollution and carbon emission reduction, inclusivity, economic benefits (can we add a hyperlink?) and a number of other outcome areas.

The best way to ensure that future urban transport systems support people’s wellbeing, and support flourishing, healthy communities, is to invest in infrastructure that can be shown to make a positive impact.

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Shoreditch Parklet – An urban jungle

Shoreditch Parklet

Shoreditch is not the first area of London you think of when you think “parks”. Shoreditch High Street is a hub of trendy shops, with high tech start-up stretching off to either side and on fleek bars peppering the area. It’s the place to go in London for an artisanal coffee or a craft beer rather than relaxing in the sun.

In 2017, the urban greens and design agency Meristem was commissioned by three local authorities to create a modular system which would bring park life to Shoreditch’s Calvert Avenue. Taking over just two parking bays, an outdoor seating area for up to fourteen people was created outside the paper&cup coffee shop. .

The seating alone isn’t the biggest impact on the local area. The parklet contains twelve meters of planters with hardy shrubs, which screen the seats from the road and help to adsorb pollution in the local area. There are also two trees providing shade and increasing urban biodiversity, as well as parking for eight bikes.

The new seating created by the parklet provides more space for customers visiting local businesses and encourages people to linger in the area, helping the local economy. More cycling spaces encourages people to cycle or use public transport rather than driving to their destination.

A Parklet for People

The Shoreditch Parklet is one example of what can be done in a small space to open it up to the community. Temporary parklets, as Friends of the Earth created on George Street, Edinburgh, can help show the impact that reduced traffic can have on an area, while we can support the creation of permanent or semi-permanent parklets through the Community Links scheme, to let communities create a new space for relaxation.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out how a parklet can be added to your town, street or village through Places for Everyone.

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£60 million investment in active travel across Scotland through Places for Everyone

Five major transformative projects in Perth, Edinburgh, Arbroath and Glasgow (x2), will benefit from Sustrans funding, expertise and support to make walking, cycling and wheeling more accessible to all. They will receive almost £60m over the course of their development. 

During the next year (2019/20), a further 200 projects across Scotland will benefit from the Places for Everyone expertise, support and funding.

The investment was announced in Perth by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, alongside the launch of the public consultation for Scottish Government’s new National Transport Strategy (NTS2) for Scotland.

Speaking in Perth, Mr Matheson said:

“The National Transport Strategy sets a clear direction for a future where we have a sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system that helps deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

“We know cycling, walking, use of public transport and shared transport options all need to be more affordable, accessible and attractive if we are to make this vision a reality.

“The Strategy is being launched alongside the allocation of £60 million for five new active travel projects, underlining the importance of sustainable transport and the added benefits that it can bring.”


By putting people back in the heart of places – whether in cities or smaller towns, Places for Everyone makes it easier for people of all ages and abilities to travel actively and to create healthier, happier places to live, work and play.


SUSTRANS SCOTLAND DIRECTOR, GRACE MARTIN

Sustrans Scotland Director, Grace Martin, said: “We are delighted to announce the projects that will be supported by Sustrans Places for Everyone programme, funded by Transport Scotland. Five large scale projects that will make a real difference to the residents of Perth, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Arbroath.

“Working in partnership with the Sustrans Places for Everyone programme provides support and expertise through all stages, from concept and design to delivery and construction. The programme helps to connect communities and create liveable towns and cities.

“We’re excited by the new National Transport Strategy designed to make sure transport helps Scotland to meet its priorities for prosperity, reducing inequality, tackling climate change and healthier people.

“Sustrans Scotland looks forward to working with our partners to deliver these goals by helping more people to walk, cycle and wheel.”

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South Glasgow fund boosts local organisations

The funding comes from the South City Way Small Grants Fund, which was created to inspire communities and organisations along the 3km segregated active travel route to form new places for people to gather and mingle, new artworks and projects to encourage walking and cycling.

Projects receiving grants of up to £5,000 have been put forward by a range of local groups including the Govanhill Baths, local cycling charity Bike for Good and South Seeds, who have previously developed a community croft for the area. Other funded projects will see the creation of a new mural in the Queens’s Park Arena, development of a new public space by residents of Albert Avenue and new additions Glasgow’s rich landscape of city murals.

Lucy Gillie, General Manager of South Seeds said, “This small fund has enabled us to run some short life projects which we hope will have a big impact, the first is to brighten up Queen’s Park Station and we already have loads of volunteers.”

Several projects are focused on the challenges facing locals who want to cycle more. Soul Riders is restarting and expanding a group encouraging women to start cycling by hosting led rides, training and cycling events to inspire those who are unconfident on a bike or new to cycling. South Seeds are seeking to tackle bike storage issues common in tenements by installing a new secure cycle locker in the local area. Other projects include new facilities to secure bikes along the route and creation of sculptures from recycled bike components.

Tierney Lovell, Infrastructure Manager for Sustrans Scotland said, “We have had tremendous support from the local community for South City Way. We wanted to make sure that the project reflected the diversity and the passion of the communities along the route, and we have been able to give our support to an amazing array of projects as a result. We’re really pleased that South City Way is going to create an artistic and cultural legacy for the area.”

South City Way was the first project to be awarded funding from Transport Scotland though Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links PLUS scheme (now Places for Everyone), with match funding from Glasgow City Council. The project will see the creation of a segregated cycle route from Queens Park to the Trongate, with improved pavements and crossings. A brand new artwork is being created in cooperation with the New Gorbals Housing Association, Glasgow City Council and Pidgin Perfect.

Phase 3 of the project is currently underway, with the construction of new cyclelanes, pocket parks and upgraded pavements along Victoria Road between Queen’s Park Station and Coplaw Street. Phase 3 of the route is expected to be completed in early 2020.