East and South Ayrshire Councils have been successful in their funding bids to Spaces for People, a new, temporary infrastructure programme in Scotland which offers funding and support to make it safer for people who choose to walk, cycle or wheel for essential trips and exercise during Covid-19.
East Ayrshire has received £555,000 and South Ayrshire £510,000.
The Spaces for People programme is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Sustrans Scotland. It helps public bodies such as councils to put measures in place that focus on protecting public health, supporting physical distancing and preventing a second wave of the outbreak.
Projects will look at key areas which could be improved that are part of essential journeys. Ayrshire Roads Alliance is currently reviewing possible measures which could be put in place and all suggestions put forward by communities will be considered. Priority areas for temporary pavement widening and enhanced waiting areas will be considered at:
- Pharmacies and health centres
- Key services and public buildings
- Access to shops
- Access to schools
- Pinch points on pavements
Other measures could include:
- Selective road closures using planters or cones
- Reallocating road space for wider footways
- Reallocating road space for cycle tracks
- Reallocating parking and loading
- Reduced speed limits and/or traffic calming measures
- Cycle parking
Web pages are being specifically created for East and South Ayrshire Councils on the Sustrans Spaces for People website which will be ready to view in the next few weeks. Residents will then be able to leave comments on any proposals put forward by the Councils or suggest any locations in which they think improvements could be made in relation to social distancing for people who are walking, cycling or wheeling.
Councillor Jim Roberts, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure at East Ayrshire Council, said: “We greatly welcome this funding which will allow us to deliver visible improvements with immediate benefits in a short time frame. We look forward to receiving suggestions and comments from local residents once the web pages are up and running soon and we’ll also be consulting our Inclusive Design Advisor to take into consideration the needs of people who have mobility issues.”
Councillor Ian Cochrane, Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “With more of us using active travel during the lockdown for essential trips and exercise, this is the ideal time to develop our infrastructure. Walking and cycling should be given more priority, as we move away from an over-reliance on vehicles. This funding will help encourage people to continue their active travel, long after the lockdown has lifted, which is a boost for mental and physical wellbeing.”