The Transport Secretary Michael Matheson must lay out how he will take make Scotland’s towns and cities healthier when he delivers a statement to parliament this afternoon, claimed Scottish Greens Transport Spokesperson John Finnie MSP.
The Highlands and Islands MSP highlighted the huge increase in walking and cycling being seen during the current lockdown and called on Mr Matheson to work with local authorities to immediately introduce temporary widening of pavements and the installation of temporary segregated cycle ways to make these healthier forms of travel safe and easy.
John Finnie MSP said:
“The response to the coronavirus emergency has changed how we go about our daily lives. Streets that were once choking with cars are now largely empty, and more and more families are taking their daily exercise or trip to the shop by bike or on foot.
“I urge the Scottish Government to work with councils to take action now to widen pavements and ensure that people feel they can walk safely ensuring necessary social distancing measures can be maintained.
“Implementing temporary segregated cycle routes would provide people with confidence that they can cycle safely, away from traffic, and it would provide key workers with easy and fast routes to get to work.
“This change in how we travel has obviously come about as a result of a national crisis, but the benefits of lower levels of air pollution are clear for all to see and we should not let that go as we begin to ease the lockdown measures in the weeks and months to come.
“Safer walking and cycling routes benefits everyone’s health, they are good for the economy, and ensures that traffic is kept to a minimum in built up areas. The Scottish Government must seize this opportunity to build healthier towns and cities now.”