Scottish Government announces £10m for COVID cycling and walking infrastructure

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Scottish Government announces £10m for COVID cycling and walking infrastructure

Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has announced £10m of funding for local authorities to provide temporary space on the roads, so that people can safely distance from each other whilst walking and cycling.

Mr Matheson has written to all councils across Scotland asking them to bid for the funding and provide bold and ambitious plans. The money will fully fund projects and be administered by Sustrans Scotland.

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said:

“It’s excellent that the Scottish Government has created a dedicated fund for pop-up cycle lanes, widened pavements and other measures.

“It is now essential that all local authorities bid for this money and urgently put in place temporary infrastructure wherever it’s needed in their areas.

“Councils must help people socially distance as they take their daily exercise and make essential journeys, especially in the coming weeks as lockdown measures are eased but people are urged to maintain social distancing.”

The announcement follows similar measures put in place by other nations around the world, installed to help people maintain social distancing whilst cycling and walking.

Even before the Scottish Government announcement, Glasgow and Edinburgh councils indicated last week that they were actively considering measures to reallocate road space.

It’s excellent that the Scottish Government has created a dedicated fund for pop-up cycle lanes, widened pavements and other measures.

Jim Densham, Cycling UK

More than 600 people in Scotland have so far used a Cycling UK online action to write to their councils, calling for pop-up cycle lanes and more space on pavements. People can still use the action to let their local authority leaders and councillors know where temporary infrastructure would make the biggest difference.

Our partner, Pedal on Parliament, is also asking people to use social media to show where space for distancing measures are needed.

In his statement, Mr Matheson said that there has been a 35% increase in journeys by bike since lockdown began. One automated cycle counter is Dunfermline has recorded a massive 215% increase.

Many people will have experienced health benefits from more regular cycling and have enjoyed quieter streets and cleaner air whilst riding.

Maintaining these benefits and helping people feel safe will be key as Scotland gets back to ‘normal’ after lockdown. Reallocation of road space for cycling and walking is essential to this and helps everyone keep two metres apart.

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