Highland Council has unveiled new alterations to the city’s busy one-way system as hundreds of residents sign a petition demanding the measures are abolished.
Council officials have altered the Castle Road and Ness Bridge junction of the temporary one-way system surrounding Inverness Castle to help vehicles filter more efficiently.
A second lane has been created on the exit of Castle Road to separate traffic heading over Ness Bridge and across to Bank Street.
The alterations were made to address concerns raised by the public about congestion along the city centre route.
Head of infrastructure, Colin Howell, said: “The Spaces for People interventions were implemented rapidly as part of an emergency response to a public health crisis. We recognise that changes have had to be made after the measures were implemented, and this is the reality of installing emergency traffic management measures.
“This is particularly important as we move into the festive season where footfall in the city centre tends to increase. These amendments will not only continue to support active travel, but will reduce queuing related with the new 1-way system.”
It follows close monitoring by the authority’s Spaces for People team of active travel use and traffic flows in and around the city.
He added: “We have been constantly monitoring the 1-way system since it was implemented and it is delivering the benefits we set out to achieve. However, we want to ensure that it remains in place to continue to give people confidence that the city centre is a safe and welcoming environment to walk and wheel around.”
The alterations come as more than 300 people sign a petition appealing for the “ugly and unwelcoming” measures to be abolished.
Campaigners claim the “lego brick” barriers have reduced the flow of traffic whilst making the city look unappealing.
Donald MacKenzie from the Crown area launched the petition in an effort to return the city to its original state.
He said: “I think what the council have done is pretty silly and counterproductive.
“Bridge Street and Castle Street, that whole area is just a complete disaster and Academy Street is an absolute mess.
“If something is nonsensical, don’t do it. Just because the government have given you £750,000 to spend on this, if you can’t come up with a good idea, don’t spend it.
“They could come up with better ideas.
“I have been in a town in Northumberland where they had essentially created a one-way system. You went east on one side of the road and west on the other and that makes more sense that trying to widen the pavements on both sides.”
He added: “I just want the council to make the streets available again. It’s very unwelcoming to non-locals if there are any and it’s inconvenient for locals.
“It’s ugly and impractical and it discouraging people from using businesses in town. We need to make it easier for cars so that businesses can survive.”