Sunday, 9 September 2018

Initial Comments on BEAR Scotland’s A82 Proposals

BEAR Scotland have published their Proposals for Walking and Cycling Improvements on the A82 in Inverness.

 View BEAR Scotland Proposals as a pdf  [22 pages, 2MB]

The section of trunk road under discussion is the A82 in Inverness between Longman Roundabout and Tomnahurich Swing Bridge. It includes:
  • Longman Road 
  • Friars’ Bridge 
  • Kenneth Street 
  • Tomnahurich Street 
  • Glenurquhart Road

One notable extract [from p. 10]:
"The proposals aim to link in with surrounding routes to encourage 
more people to cycle improving health and reducing vehicular use."

This implies modal shift - people choosing to use sustainable transport instead of private cars. To this end, two techniques can be applied:
  • re-allocate road space from carriageway to foot/cycle ways; 
  • make better use of the existing space allocation. 

There are no proposals for space re-allocation - only
statements to perpetuate the current state:

  • “… no car parking spaces are removed as we are aware that there is a strong desire to maintain the current parking spaces.” [p. 6]
  • “… planned to minimise the loss of parking spaces.” [p. 7]

Creating build-outs for easier crossing points also establishes parking spaces more firmly. Breaking up the continuity along the street effectively precludes any future possibility of cycle tracks or lanes.

Widening a pavement means moving the kerb. This usually means moving drains. As long as there is no will to meet this expense, space re-allocation will not happen.

The other option is to make better use of the existing space allocation. This is the preferred option of road engineers as it can often be done with little more than road signs backed up by the appropriate paperwork.

Cyclists already use the [pedestrian only] pavements on Longman Road and Friars’ Bridge. The proposal is to redetermine these pavements for shared use.

The lack of proper cycling infrastructure has led to cycling on the pavement. The reward for walkers and cyclists putting up with this is for it to be made legal.

Providing substandard shared use pavements for walking and cycling may encourage cycling but is likely to inhibit walking and will disadvantage people, particularly those with sensory impairment, by making them feel unsafe.

A good test (but not the only one) for a shared use pavement is how well it can be navigated on a large tricycle. The route should be wide and as straight as possible with no obstacles or visual obstructions. Where the route crosses business entrances, it should remain at the same level as the rest of the pavement and users should have priority over motor traffic crossing. This would have the benefit of a cleaner design by eliminating the need for tactile paving at entrances.

Cycling by Design advises a desirable minimum width of 3m and an absolute minimum width of 2m plus a buffer zone of 0.5m beside the carriageway. (It allows for an unavoidable minimum width of 1.5m over a short distance but this is unsatisfactory unless there is a nearby alternative wider route.) The buffer zone on the other side of the pavement should be up to 0.5m depending on whether adjacent to grass or low/high wall.

Glenurqhart Road is straight and wide but currently the space is poorly used. Re-locating the central lampposts will help wheelchair users but fails to address other issues.

There is great scope for circular arguments here that mainly revolve around the A82 being a trunk road through a residential area. Conflicting issues include:
  • maintaining traffic flow;
  • on-street parking;
  • pedestrian safety;
  • cyclist safety.

The central refuge islands create regular pinch points along the road where some drivers think it is acceptable to ‘squeeze past’ cyclists. On-street parking creates a similar problem with the additional potential hazard of being ‘doored’.

Re-allocation of road space would be the ideal solution but is ruled out on cost grounds. Introducing cycle lanes instead of on-street parking would help.

Comments should be submitted to BEAR Scotland by Fri 21 Sep 2018.

Comments may be added after this blog to enable sharing ideas and will contribute to HCC's response to BEAR Scotland.

Alternatively email comments to HCC at:

Individuals can also email comments directly to BEAR Scotland at:

1 comment:

  1. I can understand that this road improvements are not straight forward. However, I think removing on street parking spaces will solve the problem for all parties as long as the residents are given alternative parking places.