Plans to get motorists out of their cars and travelling by bike or foot in a north-east town have been approved.
The Integrated Travel Town (ITT) project aims to encourage people in Huntly to do their bit for the environment and to get moving more. It aims to ensure 40% of journeys under three miles are made on foot or bike.
The project has been launched on the back of a report which revealed that despite almost half of Huntly residents travelling less than three miles to work, less than a third commute by foot or bike.
In addition, public transport use in the town is 12% below the national average.
Councillors at yesterday’s meeting of the Marr area committee gave their backing to the plans.
The ITT project will be rolled out over a four-year period.
Proposals for the first year include engaging with the Gordon Schools to address issues with picking up and dropping off, creating a traffic-free cycle route adjacent to Deveron Road towards the schools from the west, supporting a local bicycle recycling scheme, devising walking and cycling maps, and promoting green driving through a car rental scheme.
Thereafter, various measures will be developed and implemented such as new cross-town cycling and walking routes, including a shared-use path adjacent to the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road to link the town to the A97, an electronic bike scheme, and a cycle route to the train station.
The project will work closely with the wider community, particularly local schools and businesses, throughout the process.
The masterplan states that to achieve the target of 40%, the right infrastructure at the right locations must be provided – with residents fully aware of the options available to them.
It adds: “The benefits of achieving this will result in fewer single-occupancy car journeys being made which will impact positively on tackling health, air quality and environment issues and will also help to address problems associated with congestion and parking.”
Councillors were unanimous in their approval of the plans, which are expected to cost about £600,000 over the four years. Work is expected to begin early next year.