The Trust’s Active Travel Group and Sustrans undertook a survey of community views on the proposed new Inchmore shared use path during September 2021.
Overall the response to the survey (https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/3dbacc4547374eaaa315ba33eac11c01) was very positive. We had 87 respondents and are aware that many more viewed the StoryMap.
The respondents predominant age group appeared to be 40-69 years, but it was also good to see that there were children (8-12 age group) and younger people (18-26 years) who also responded (although 29% didn’t give information about their age etc).
It was clear that there is considerable local support for this path; 90% agreed or strongly agreed that better facilities in Inchmore are needed for walkers/cyclists and other wheelers; and 90% said they would be likely or very likely to use the path once it was built.
The comments overall were also very positive about the designs of the path.
Themes which were evident were:
- Safety – many commented on the safety advantages of this path, including for children, and the Primary School also commented specifically on this, particularly in relation to being segregated adequately from motorised traffic.
- Improvements for those who are less confident cyclists, and for those with disabilities – for example mobility scooter was mentioned
- Appearance and identity of the village, the path being ‘sensitive’ and ‘not intrusive’.
The proposed traffic calming measures were also very much supported (90% agreed or strongly agreed).
There were multiple comments regarding a desire for improved road traffic safety measures, focusing mainly on reducing the speed limit to 30 mph or 20 mph through the village, and also a few comments regarding extending the 40 mph at the east end of the village, and suggesting another speed indicator device at the east end (currently is one at the west end which was commented on as being thought to be beneficial).
Overall there were very few negative comments regarding the path, but there a few comments and suggestions for improvement which came up, some from several respondents: 1. More plants/vegetation to improve the appearance 2. Concerns about the path having to go behind Great Glen Stoves 3. Concern about the path still ‘connecting’ with the road in places and not being segregated enough 4. Comments that the path could be wider 5. Some concerns about the safety of the crossings at the Drumchardine and also at Inchmore 6. Some comments about prioritising the ‘through’ cycle/walking traffic over the minor junctions 7. Several comments about lighting, particularly at the Lentran end.
Another more general recurrent theme was that of a need for a joined-up network of paths from Beauly to Inverness – this seemed to come from a variety of respondents including children.
It was noted that there was a small proportion of respondents (7%) that strongly disagreed with the path. The comments that reflected this suggested that the path wasn’t required as there is an existing pathand that cyclists wouldn’t use it.
Response/Actions to comments:
- It was excellent to see the overall enthusiasm for this path and generally the designs were liked
- Some features – such as the path going behind Great Glen Stoves – are unavoidable, due to technical reasons (heavy goods vehicles, entrances/exits to driveways on other side of the road limiting ability for path to be wide enough) and so on. However many of the suggestions can be considered such as planting and lighting. The path width will be at least 2 metres, this may not be obvious from the pictures but is designed to be wide enough to allow 2 wheelchairs or similar to pass.
- Comments regarding the desire for a path to Inverness will be fed back to the Highland Council, as will those regarding concerns over road safety.