Douglas Borough Council’s executive committee has voiced cautious support for the Department of Infrastructure’s consultation document ‘Encouraging Active Travel’.
The committee’s vice-chairman Ritchie McNicholl said: ‘The broad outline of the department’s proposals is commendable. The document defines “active travel” as walking and cycling and the council is fully supportive of initiatives that encourage a healthier lifestyle and help to reduce our carbon footprint. Well thought-out active travel schemes also have the power to boost tourism and the Manx economy.
‘The council is of the opinion, however, that the first step must be to put in place practical, sensible, infrastructure provisions before any moves to change attitudes and behaviour can be attempted. By way of example the council would see as a “sensible” provision clearly defined cycleways that physically separate cyclists from motorists, rather than the current cycle routes which we believe to be more of a “quick-fix” short-term solution that pays only lip service to the active travel concept and could compromise personal safety.’
‘The consultation also considers the travel choices of pupils and students. Again, personal safety must always be paramount, but the council would suggest that designated vehicle drop-off areas should be sited further away from schools, to avoid congestion as well as encourage walking and healthier living.
‘The council contends, however, that when looking at encouraging active travel in an essentially urban setting, the department should prioritise improving the condition of the roads and pavements in the capital; to commit to sustained investment to provide safe, high quality, well-maintained surfaces for motorists, cyclists and walkers alike. Only then can government, the council and the wider community join forces effectively to promote the very real benefits of physically active lifestyles. And only then can we truly get Douglas moving.’