The Highland Council will transform the roads around Inverness Castle to create more space for walking, wheeling and cycling in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. (picture: Google Maps)
This Spaces for People intervention will deliver widened shared spaces so that people queuing to enter shops and moving around the city centre can do so safely whilst following physical distancing guidance.
The Highland Council has written to local residents and businesses to advise them that work to put in place a temporary one-way system around Inverness Castle will start next week.
The Highland Council received almost £2 million of funding from the Scottish Government to implement rapid active travel improvements across Highland.
The objective of the project is to transform villages, towns and the city of Inverness so that people can walk, wheel and cycle safely whilst using busy streets to follow physical distancing guidance.
As the focus moves to the recovery phase from the current pandemic, measures such as temporary bike lanes, speed reductions and footpath widening will enable places to be more resilient and support people and businesses to operate in the changed circumstances.
As part of this scheme, the Council will introduce a one-way system for traffic around Inverness Castle.
Feedback on the COVID-19 active travel consultation currently on The Highland Council’s website shows clear support for this intervention, with 64% of comments supporting the intervention, 22% opposed and 13% neither supporting or opposed.
Following recommendations by the Inverness Business Improvement District and Stagecoach, a change to a ‘clockwise’ one-way system around the castle was made, (from the River Ness at Ness Bridge; East on Bridge Street, South on Castle Street, South on View Place, North on Castle Road).
The Council’s Head of Infrastructure Colin Howell said:
“These interventions are a response to the COVID emergency and we expect will help to create a much safer environment as shops and other city centre businesses reopen.
“We want to emphasise that they are temporary, up to a maximum period of 18 months.
“If necessary, we can amend them at any stage which is why it is important people still continue to feed their views and comments to us via our consultation portal.
“To facilitate the extensive engineering works required to enable the traffic to use the permanent traffic signals, temporary traffic lights will need to be in place.
“Such set ups are not as efficient in managing traffic as permanent signals so while this initial work is on-going people should be aware that it will not be as effective as it will be when all measures to implement the proposals are in place.”
Following the introduction of the initial measures for the one-way system traffic flows will be monitored, and an additional intervention put in if required.
This would involve reversing the existing one-way direction on Ness Bank and Cavell Gardens, which could then become one-way from South to North.