Perth & Kinross Council's bid for £1.1million from the Scottish Government's Spaces for People Fund has been approved. Administered by Sustrans, the grant will enable a series of 34 proposals to move forward aimed at improving safety and access for pedestrians and cyclists in Perth and 12 other communities around the Perth and Kinross area, as well as maintaining physical distancing during the current coronavirus pandemic. The next stage will be further discussion with community councils, businesses and the public about the proposals. With a significant drop in vehicle numbers on key roads and streets since lockdown, a corresponding rise in people getting around on foot or by bike has also been noted. The successful bid will fully cover the costs of all the proposals without the need for match funding from other sources. A range of measures are covered by the bid, including additional signage and road markings, removal and/or relocation of unnecessary street furniture, introduction of reduced speed limits, provision of temporary cycle lanes and cycle segregation, footway widening and extra pedestrian space, additional school exclusion zones, alterations to pedestrian crossing operations, and temporary or floating bus stops. Alongside Perth, it is intended that measures would be provided in Aberfeldy, Alyth, Auchterarder, Blairgowrie, Bridge of Earn, Comrie, Coupar Angus, Crieff, Dunkeld, Kinross, Milnathort, Pitlochry and Scone. Executive Director of Housing and Environment, Barbara Renton said: "The aim behind our approach is to provide, as far as possible, Covid-safe streets and pedestrian areas as the current lockdown begins to be relaxed, in the locations we were successful in getting funding for. While many of the measures are proposed as temporary, we have the option to make them permanent if they are considered useful and supportive by our communities in the longer term. It will be a number of weeks before residents start to see changes on the ground. This is to allow us time to talk with local communities, residents and businesses regarding the proposals so we can put in place the most effective and appropriate measures possible. We also have the option to apply for further funding, so we would be pleased to hear from any communities with suggestions for other steps we could take." Karen McGregor, Director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “It’s clear that people across Scotland want to do the right thing during Coronavirus. They want to look after their physical and mental health.
“They also want to make sure that they are keeping to physical distancing guidelines while still being safe on our streets.
“Providing funding support to Perth & Kinross Council through our Spaces for People programme will make it easier and safer for people to travel around Perth and the local area for essential travel and exercise.”
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