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Inverness prioritises walking & wheeling in Academy Street vision

November 25 2022

Inverness prioritises walking & wheeling in Academy Street vision

Highland Council has showcased its preferred designs for an overhaul of Academy Street in Inverness to promote walking and cycling.

Part of ongoing public consultations the proposal harnesses £800k of Scottish Government funding to widen footpaths, increase pedestrian crossings and limit vehicle access to deliveries, public transport and blue badge holders.

New signage will be introduced to alert motorists to alternative routes and parking, which include additional restrictions on neighbouring residential streets.

Councillor Ian Brown commented: “A redesigned Academy Street will support positive behavioural change towards more sustainable travel and therefore make a positive contribution to reducing Highland’s carbon footprint and support the Council’s response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency.”

An application will now be made to bring forward the technical design and construction.

The proposals seek to leverage additional additional external construction funding
The proposals seek to leverage additional additional external construction funding


Richard Grant
#1 Posted by Richard Grant on 25 Nov 2022 at 13:21 PM
Reasonable idea in principle to improve air quality, but the the main drop off point for the Railway Station will be blocked off to general traffic. If they're trying to encourage cycling they need some Dutch standard segregated cycle lanes.

Inverness is the main service hub for people who live in lots of rural communities that have almost no public transport, the only way people in these communities can get into Inverness is by car. Discouraging car use isn't going to work for all these people from the rural communities.

There is no decent park and ride service people can use to get into Inverness either. They're opening a new railway station a mile from the airport that could be used for mark and ride but the trains passing it are going to be very infrequent and when the trains pass into Inverness on the Aberdeen line they have to shut a level crossing that causes a lot of congestion in the city centre.

There doesn't seem to be much joined up thinking with regards to town planning on Inverness. There are all these random plans getting implemented without much thought going into what the knck-on effects will be.

Nairn's Bairn
#2 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 25 Nov 2022 at 13:39 PM
@#1 Interesting. Pedestrianisation can be brilliant, but only if planned in conjunction with the rest of a town's infrastructure. Arup have prepared an active travel masterplan for Inverness, which I don't think wholly takes into account your points:
#3 Posted by Alastair on 25 Nov 2022 at 19:03 PM
The main drop off for the Railway station is at the back of the Eastgate Shopping Centre. The main car park for the station being the other side. Neither of these will be "blocked off". I'd much rather see Station Square fully pedestrianised, it's an eyesore at the moment. I also see no requirement for people coming from rural areas to use Academy street, there is plenty of parking between the Eastgate Shopping Centre and Rose Street depending on which route in you are taking. I would agree that Park and Rides are required both on the North side of the Kessock Bridge and somewhere near the Retail Park on the A96 but I'm skeptical as to how many people would actually use them.
#4 Posted by SneckieMun on 28 Nov 2022 at 09:36 AM
#3 The back of Debenhams is an unofficial train station drop off that has been well used for years. Urban Planning should not take cognisance of it unless it is officially designated as such. As for access along Academy Street, how does one approaching from the west get to the Train Station? Are they to loop round Harbour Road / Milburn Road?

I fully support action in Inverness but solutions like those proposed are for large dense towns and cities. A significant step back needs to be taken. City centre is dead because the city centre roads and infrastructure can't support the catchment areas. Perhaps not a green initiative but we should probably start with encouraging city centre use and discouraging out of town retail park use.
#5 Posted by Bemused_Citizen on 28 Nov 2022 at 12:06 PM
You've acknowledged a fact but then say that just because it's not officially designated means that Urban Planners should just ignore it? That just results in the blind leading the blind. If urban planners don't go out and see what is actually happening in towns and cities then nothing is ever going to improve. Why not, instead, formally acknowledge that point as a drop-off and then take action (or not) to improve the situation?

Access from the west - there is a pretty well established route via Rose Street.

The city centre isn't dead because the roads can't take the catchment, the city centre is dead because of excessive business rates, the historical push to out-of-town retail parks, and a lack of efficient and cheap transport. What infrastructure do you refer to? If it is car parking then there are plenty of options already in Inverness.
#6 Posted by Bemused_Citizen on 28 Nov 2022 at 12:10 PM
I'm not sure that completely blocking public traffic from using Academy Street is the correct way to go. Make it less desirable (reduced speed, zebra crossings/traffic lights, etc), sure, but full on prevention is risky and likely to lead to congestion on surrounding roads.

The council is going to have to make it super clear about what the alternative routes are and manage them properly.
Save The Ironworks
#7 Posted by Save The Ironworks on 28 Nov 2022 at 14:05 PM
#5 you forgot internet shopping / home delivery

This will look pretty but it isn't the answer. City centres urgently need activity generators - places for people to congregate and socialise in that isn't shopping. If only there was such a place in Inverness already..
#8 Posted by Alastair on 30 Nov 2022 at 16:16 PM
Seems strange that an "unofficial" drop-off point would have over a dozen parking bays with a max stay of 20 mins seemingly designed specifically for the purpose but I'll take your word for it.

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