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Raised eyebrows over 20mph signs in Dingwall

By Scott Maclennan

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Highland Council's new 20mph zones in Dingwall.
Highland Council's new 20mph zones in Dingwall.

PEOPLE in Dingwall have been left baffled by the introduction of 20mph zones put in place as part of a Highland Council push to encourage active travel during the coronavirus crisis.

The award to Highland Council of £752,954 from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund looks to create active travel "interventions" across the region in response to Covid-19.

In Inverness, new road markings for cycle lanes, changes to enable the social distancing of pedestrians and traffic calming measures are being introduced.

Dingwall and Seaforth councillor Graham Mackenzie said he had been approached by some constituents asking how slower traffic aids social distancing and confessed to being at a loss.

He said: “To be fair to the council this has been long in the planning and the notices about 20mph speed limits have been up long before lockdown came into play. What I do find surprising is that this money has been used to fund this.

“I was under the impression it was to be used for more temporary measures in reacting to the greater ability of people to get out and about, to maintain social distancing when queuing, for example, on our High Streets. So I am a wee bit surprised that this is what that money has been used for because I don’t immediately see what impact it would have on social distancing.Some say that where they have seen the signs go up they have found them confusing. I think there is going to be a suck it and see approach.

“The people who have got in touch with me have said they get the 20mph bit but how does that relate to social distancing and to be frank I cannot answer that question.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The coming weeks and months will see streets across Highland giving more space to people walking, wheeling and cycling. In Dingwall, the first improvements to be rolled out that require a temporary traffic regulation will be the introduction of temporary 20mph speed limits on many of the roads around the town. This is to help maintain social distancing and ensure public and road safety while coronavirus restrictions are in place.”

The Highland Council consultation for Covid-19 priority active travel network says of one of the proposed Dingwall interventions. "Problem: Narrow footpaths and limited safe passing spaces for people walking, wheeling or cycling. Risks to public safety from potential extreme speeding/ people crossing on desire lines. Solution: Implementation of 20 mph scheme with localised traffic calming."

Related: Highland Council secures almost £750K for active travel 'interventions'

Push to get Peffery Way on to active travel agenda

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