We warmly welcome this announcement yesterday from the minister, setting up a £10 million ‘Spaces for People’ fund for temporary infrastructure for active travel – giving local authorities 100% funding to set up temporary schemes such as widened pavements and pop-up cycle lanes. This means Scotland joins New Zealand in taking a nation-wide approach, and not leaving it entirely up to individual cities to act.

The minister has made it clear he’s looking for bold and innovative ideas from local councils – and he’s set an ambitious schedule, suggesting that the first schemes could be on the ground within weeks. 

This is unprecedented speed for local authority active travel schemes (indeed for local authority anything) – but these are unprecedented times, so we look forward to seeing the first cones on the ground some time in May! And who knows – once we get used to the extra space for walking, cycling and wheeling, we aren’t going to want to go back to the status quo, leading to a more permanent and fairer reallocation of our road space.

Some councils will move faster than others – but these are in effect public health measures and they shouldn’t be subject to a postcode lottery, so all local authorities will need to be encouraged to take advantage of the funding and help on offer. Our #SpaceForDistancing campaign will be part of that encouragement – letting your local authority know where you’d like to see more space for active travel. So thank you for all the tweets and posts you’ve done so far and don’t stop now – we need them more than ever. Now would also be a really good time to email your councillors to let them know you would like them to take up the package Transport Scotland are offering.

And thank you too to the minister for taking this step towards a safer and healthier future for Scotland. Councils – it’s over to you!

Thanks!

Space For Distancing: Welcoming Spaces for People