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On Valentine’s Day locals on Arran twinned with Greenpeace Glasgow to show love for sustainable travel, a critically important area in reducing pollution and meeting carbon targets to mitigate the climate crisis.
In Glasgow and on Arran, communities were invited to paint and place pebbles showing appreciation for sustainable travel at Ormidale Park and at the Kelvin Way cycleway which is closed off to cars.
Danielle Banks from Kelvinbridge sad: ‘It’s wonderful that the Kelvin Way has been closed to cars. Over lockdown it’s always packed with walkers and cyclists. It’s outstandingly beautiful and a great example of how a low traffic neighbourhood in Glasgow, that’s properly cared for, incorporating nature, might create more space for people and drastically reduce car pollution.’
Eco Savvy trustee Hilary Maguire, who brought the two organisations together, said: ‘I loved this Valentine’s Day action and loved even more to see two of my favourite environmental organisations working together to express such an important message.’
Showing love for sustainable travel on Valentine’s Day resonated with many on Arran who have been involved in the Sustainable Island Life Project, a two-year project funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge fund which allows Eco Savvy to work with the community to improve travel behaviours using eBikes, volunteer lift share networks, Arran’s first green travel map, maintenance workshops, the Arran rEcharge network, film clubs and much more.
This focus of the project has been a great success so far; engaging more than 450 residents, reducing 207 tonnes of CO2e and clocking up over 16,000 eBike miles. However, even though many residents are making positive changes, the project continues to highlight areas that dissuade and negatively impact full uptake of sustainable travel, namely through lack of active travel infrastructure to nurture safe cycling. Twinning with Greenpeace Glasgow has given us a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the sustainable efforts made so far, whilst encouraging further action to make our island safer and more appealing to lower carbon travel alternatives.
Emma Tracey, Eco Savvy’s Sustainable Travel Coordinator said: ‘Work is still continuing on finalising Arran Green Travel Map which is set to be an excellent tool to inform and encourage active travel on the island by featuring routes within and between villages. However, creating the map has highlighted the lack of accessible user-friendly infrastructure especially on the west side of the island. The eBike project demonstrates the great enthusiasm and desire to change the way we travel, now we just need our physical landscape to catch up with the mindset of Arran residents.’
Encouragingly, feasibility studies and development work are still in progress for cycle paths both from Brodick to Lamlash, and Brodick to Corrie, commissioned and managed by North Ayrshire Council (NAC). NAC will also be updating the local transport strategy this year, after seeing delays to this due to Covid in 2020. This will be an opportunity for the local community to get involved in shaping the future of travel and transport on Arran and we will work to ensure that sustainable travel is at its heart.
Although the travel and transport issue continues to be a leading one for the island, recently suggested as the highest priority for future planning in surveys conducted by Arran Recovery Group, there is lots of community action to celebrate and congratulations to all who have made sustainable travel their daily norm. We will continue to work with the community towards our vision for Arran to be an island where inclusive, accessible, affordable active travel and low-carbon transport is the norm, not the exception.
If you would like to help with route suggestions pick up a free Savvy Travel draft map at the Big Co-op in Brodick or pop an email to Emma at email@example.com