Hundreds back city travel transformation plan

Councillor Lewis Simpson (front right holding Bike Life report) and Councillor Angus Forbes with staff at family-run cycle shop J. R. Richards, George Street, Perth.
Councillor Lewis Simpson (front right holding Bike Life report) and Councillor Angus Forbes with staff at family-run cycle shop J. R. Richards, George Street, Perth.

More than 700 people have responded to an appeal to revolutionise walking and cycling in the Fair City.

The ‘Your Place Your Future’ website gave residents the chance to mark on a digital map, the parts of the city region where they would like to see improvements to support active travel.

The figure comes as walking and cycling campaigners are gearing up for a make or break year in their bid to transform Perth.

Perth and Kinross Council’s bid to create eight walking and cycling routes into the city centre goes up against nine other proposals in a competition for £500,000 in additional funding from active travel charity Sustrans.

With judging in April next year, councillors, officers and campaigners have been working with project management consultants Royal HaskoningDHV on 25 consultation exercises to gather further views.

Strathmore councillor Lewis Simpson of the Liberal Democrats, a lifelong pro-cycling campaigner, has been riding his bike to work for the past 60 years and believes now is the time for the Fair City to fully embrace a change.

He said: “I have seen first-hand the benefits of cycling to and from work and school. In fact, I’m rather known for it, to the extent that when I worked in Scone members of the public would complain if I walked to work instead of taking the bike.

“I regularly cycle from Scone to the council’s headquarters, so I know for myself what it’s like to cycle in and around the city. I know there are things that we can improve. The Sustrans competition offers us a route to funding which we can invest to make that happen,” he added.

He said he would like to see the greater provision of off-road and commuter facilities to Perth city centre providing safer journeys for walkers and cyclists.

“If we can encourage people to walk and cycle just one day a week by providing better facilities, that would be a great achievement.

“Perth aspires to be one of Europe’s great small cities, representing the very best of small city living. An important element of this is creating the conditions to support active travel.”

A Bike Life study published for Perth by Sustrans earlier this year, shows public support for the plan. More than 65% of people surveyed said the city would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled.

Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links PLUS (CLPLUS) competition 2018 is also considering rival bids from Dundee and Angus councils as well as from other parts of Scotland. A number of winners may be chosen.

Breaking