It’s hard to believe sometimes, but we’ve been pedalling on Parliament now since 2012. While this has been pretty effective we think that next year, it’s time to ring the changes. We’re not giving up on our manifesto, or on POP, but we recognise that continuing to do the same thing year after year risks complacency setting in. Running POP is no small effort and this year we’ve taken the decision to put that effort somewhere else – where we think the real urgency lies.
We know that we’ve changed the conversation around active travel within the Scottish Government. Remember, when we started, the active travel budget was actually set to be cut. While it’s still a fraction of road spending, we have seen the active travel budget doubled. Now we need to focus on where that money is spent – in local authorities the length and breadth of Scotland. Even the best councils have made missteps, with Edinburgh planning a 60s-style gyratory right in its historic centre, and Glasgow having to be dragged kicking and screaming into even considering segregated infrastructure along Byres Road. At the other end of the scale, Aberdeen has seen its one decent piece of cycling infrastructure severed by its new bypass – and it seems that it’s nobody’s responsibility to provide a safe crossing to reinstate it. And everywhere you look, progress is slow. Often it’s because there’s a lack of political will to put in real space for cycling – the only thing that we know will definitely work to bring about the change we need.
So that’s why, come April 2019, we won’t be pedalling on Parliament, just this once (don’t worry, we’ll be back!). Instead, we want to take our message to councils in the rest of Scotland. We want to have many smaller actions right across the country that will add up to a larger whole. And that’s where you come in.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be holding some casual meetups around Scotland, looking for people who want to take the POP message to their own council (including Edinburgh and Glasgow of course!). Whether you’re already part of a local campaign group, or just someone who wants to see change, we hope you can join us and find out how you can get involved. We’ll be announcing when and where as we plan them – but don’t wait and see if the POP caravan will be coming your way – feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and suggest a meetup in your area and we’ll do our best to send a posse along.
The first of these will be in Dundee on Monday 5th November – as good a date as any for a little light plotting. We’ll be at the DCA from 7:30 pm. If you’re interested, and in the area, why not come along?