Garioch councillor Martin Ford is set to raise a proposal with Aberdeenshire Council to trial ‘green routes’ at several locations in Aberdeenshire.
He said now is the time to make green routes permanent. Mr Ford said: “With a reduction in road traffic, road space became a valuable resource for many to walk or cycle for their daily exercise; reduced traffic volume essentially freed up a larger part of the road network for active travel use,
“This space became particularly important for many rural communities where access to good quality walking networks can be limited.
Unlike Strategic Cycle Routes and Community Corridors which are a longer-term project which aims to encourage greater uptake of active travel modes as everyday transportation within the Aberdeenshire area Green Route or Quite Lanes are on road and therefore does not separate those travelling by active travel modes from motor traffic, reports Grampian online.
Green Routes have previously been considered by officers but not progressed due to conflict with existing policies on setting of speed limits and instead it was requested that officers progress a trial of a similar scheme to Green Routes instead.
He continued: “With work already well underway between Economic Development colleagues and VisitAberdeenshire to promote the area as a cycle destination for Great Aberdeenshire Road summits, opportunities would exist to capitalise also on great walking routes.”
Extensive work carried out by officers in relation to active travel in rural locations means that the following three routes have been identified for inclusion in the trial should it be given the green light, including Polinar Dam “loop” Inverurie, Woodhead of Fyvie to Gight and the Ythan Trail and Fernie Brae Road, Cornhill, Banff .
Mr Ford added: “It is appreciated that there may be other alternatives locations that members wish to consider for a trial, however the three locations identified by officers are thought to meet the criteria required for a trial.
“If the Committee approves the trial, further work to ensure that these sites are suitable will be progressed and it is anticipated that the trial can begin in Spring 2021 with a potential report back to Infrastructure Services Committee in November 2021.
“From a leisure, tourism and events point of view, Aberdeenshire is well placed to position itself as a destination for cycling and adventure tourism asin 2021 and 2022, Aberdeenshire, with Aberdeen City will host the Tour of Britain Cycling
“The Council is working with Opportunity North East, VisitAberdeenshire, Developing Mountain Biking Scotland and Scottish Enterprise to position the area as having the facilities and opportunities to promote active tourism in our great outdoors.
“Cycling and walking on safe routes are key to this opportunity. Delivery of these actions will require input and assistance from other organisations such as Nestrans, Sustrans, Cairngorms National Park Association and community groups.
“There are good examples of partnership working in active travel with such groups and the Council can lead some aspects but can also support others to achieve the shared goals of improvingactive travel infrastructure in Aberdeenshire. “