Scottish Greens believe Scotland can support more walking and cycling in our communities. Alison Johnstone, candidate for Edinburgh Central and Lothian region, sets out 5 key ways Greens will support more people to be active.
As a keen cyclist and lifelong sports enthusiast, I am passionate about increasing our options to get active in our daily lives. Walking and cycling are not only good for our health, they are fast and fun ways to travel and explore our local areas. Active travel options also reduce our carbon emissions, helping us to meet our climate targets and lower air pollution. Over the course of the next Parliament, Greens want to make it easier for folks to ditch the car and get outdoors on foot, bike and public transport – and here’s how we can do that:
1. Increase the budget for walking and cycling
Only 2% of the Scottish Government’s £2.2 billion transport budget is spent on active travel. Green MSPs will propose a radical boost to this funding, increasing it to 10%. This would allow us to take much needed action to improve existing routes and paths, making them safer and encouraging more people to walk and cycle.
2. Safer routes and streets
Safety and the perception of safety on the road and in our streets is vital for making walking and cycling an option for everyone. We support measures to implement a rolling programme of safe bike paths and pedestrian routes and junctions as part of every road improvement project. Greens will also push for measures such as a 20mph hour speed limits in residential areas, a ban on pavement parking, better street lighting and lengthened crossing time at pedestrian crossings.
3. Giving communities a say on new route development
Pedestrians and cyclists know where improvements to the road network are needed. A mix of public consultation and participatory budgeting could ensure road users can identify and help fix unsafe routes and junctions. This can also be used to devise new routes and link up sections of our towns and cities for smarter, easier transport.
4. Active young people
We know it’s important to build healthy habits early in life. Greens believe that our schools should prepare the next generation with practical skills, including making positive health choices and building their confidence to explore their communities. We will call for every child in Scotland to have the opportunity to undertake on-road cycle training, provided by local councils.
5. Better public transport
Even with the best intentions, we realise that in some cases active travel is just not possible due to either health limitations or the sheer distance of travel required. But we can make it easier to link up active travel with public transport options, so that anyone who wants to can easily walk or cycle to local train and bus stations. As well as championing local bus routes and campaigning to keep the railways in public hands, Greens will call for cycle hubs at local bus and train stations to make for smarter, linked-up travel options.