A new report has revealed one-way traffic along Ness Walk, 20mph speed limits and new traffic management orders for big events in a bid to make the city’s river more “accessible”.
Councillors will be asked to support these proposals, known as the Riverside Way project, in their next city committee on Thursday.
It covers area between the river and Glenurquhart Road, Tomnahurich Street and Young Street out to the West Link, and sets out to ‘make the area more accessible, more of a destination, with enhanced pedestrian and cycle connections.’
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But proposals to introduce a one-way system along Ness Walk with a cycle contraflow haven’t gone down well with local residents.
They fear it will create a ‘rat run’ for people wanting to avoid the busy lights on Glenurqhuart Road and increase the dangers for cyclists.
Ballifeary community council chairwoman Helen Smith said: “There’s no justification for making the riverside one-way. We’re more concerned about the top end of Ness Walk between the cathedral and Ness bridge where cyclists are allowed to cycle against the one-way system in place there, risking being knocked off their bikes by oncoming traffic – but this part isn’t included in the scheme.”
She said the residential streets of Ballifeary Lane and Ballifeary Road are already experiencing significant traffic and parking problems, which would only get worse.
Parking charges introduced at Eden Court and in Highland Council HQ in the evenings and at weekends have pushed people into Ballifeary, she said.
“We have been promised a residents’ parking scheme, but progress has been extremely slow with no updates or commitments from officials forthcoming as to when the scheme might be introduced.”
Inverness City area manager David Haas said Riverside Way is designed to make life easier for residents, particularly in planning traffic flow for the major events increasingly taking place in Bught Park.
He said: “As regards rat running, it’s not just the direction of travel that counts, it’s the way the street is designed. Motorists will not be invited to speed, and actually there is no indication that this will be a problem.”
He said the council is well aware of the parking pressures caused by the new charges, but “it’s a balancing act. The charges are designed to help recover costs and provide services to the public.”
Inverness West councillor Bill Boyd said: “Riverside Way is an opportunity to enhance the amenity of an iconic area, but officers may be missing an opportunity to really enhance it.
“A no-through road would be preferable to a one-way street.
“At the Inverness committee I will be proposing that this report should be re-presented at the next committee to include a no through road option.”