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Active Travel Forres seeking to improve more local routes for walkers and wheelers in 2024

By Garry McCartney

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ATF’s Judith Binney at Grant Park’s St Leonard’s Road entrance.
ATF’s Judith Binney at Grant Park’s St Leonard’s Road entrance.

VOLUNTEERS focussed on pedestrian routes through town are hopeful of more improvements this year.

Active Travel Forres (ATF) started in 2020 to help create a network of interlinked, traffic free passages, including safe routes for wheelchair users, cyclists, pedestrians and those with young children.

Founder Judith Binney confirmed ATF is working with Moray Council to find solutions.

She said: “We’re celebrating kerbs being dropped as we requested; and in 2024/25, a promise to alter the St Leonard’s Road entrance to Grant Park; and other assurance to plan for a shared active travel route from Forbeshill to Anderson’s Primary. But we’ve lots more we’re going to work on in this year including: surveying traffic/active traveller numbers at school travel times on Mannachie Road; surveying numbers joining Victoria Road from the Findhorn cycle path; site visits to the Applegrove catchment area to identify problem spots; and improving access to the railway station and all points to the north of the A96.”

A kerb on Sanquhar Road being dropped o allow easier access to the pathway from Nelson Road following Active Travel Forres’ request.
A kerb on Sanquhar Road being dropped o allow easier access to the pathway from Nelson Road following Active Travel Forres’ request.

Last year, ATF looked at where high kerbs prevent pedestrians on wheels accessing routes easily. Pavements at the Sanquhar Road end of Nelson Road and at the Forres end of the Dava Way have been adjusted. Kerbs at the end of the footpath near Forres Tennis Club which are particularly difficult for prams and wheelchairs will be dropped this spring.

Mrs Binney said: “We cycled and walked around to identify spots where you had to get on and off existing routes. People on our Facebook page also told us about access problems. And Moray Council’s Active Travel department identified a budget for this financial year to sort out bits causing hassle.”

ATF have identified problems on St Leonard’s Road at Grant Park.

Mrs Binney explained: “Children walking down to Applegrove from Adam Drive need to cross near here. Visibility coming from Grant Park is poor, barriers stop large mobility scooters, double buggies and bikes with panniers, and the path is loose gravel on a slope. There is no easy and safe connection between this area, Applegrove and Forres Academy. Improvements could mean fewer people, especially children, would avoid crossing at the South Street roundabout.”

ATF have suggested lowering the wall at Grant Park’s St Leonard’s Road entrance so that folk can see what is coming. Also, removing barriers erected there 30 years ago.

“All ideas are welcome,” said Mrs Binney. “Designs will be drawn up in the next few months.”

ATF have also suggested making the path alongside Grant Park then Drumduan Road wider.

“It could become an official shared Active Travel route,” said Mrs Binney. “This can be done without encroaching on the park or cutting trees down, and would link the town to Forres Enterprise Park and the cycle route to Findhorn.”

Last year, ATF looked at options for pupils travelling to Anderson’s Primary and Forres Academy. This year, their focus is Applegrove.

Mrs Binney explained: “Children from Mannachie in Applegrove’s catchment area cross Mannachie Road. There is already a lot of traffic there which will increase as more houses are built. The main problem seems to be getting across Mannachie Road and also near Forres Fish Bar at Fleurs. Lorries and cars reversing can make it dangerous. It’s difficult from all directions. We hope to make it safer.”

ATF will count pedestrians, cyclists and cars at Mannachie during rush hour to ascertain where pupils cross.

“We will use official survey sheets from Moray Council so that it can be compared with information from other areas,” said Mrs Binney. “We can then think about options for improvements.

“Many parents currently think it’s unsafe to let their children cycle or walk independently so take them in the car.”

ATF also plans to survey numbers joining Victoria Road from the popular cycle path to Findhorn.

She finished: “Please think about joining us. The more we can work on, the faster we can link the town safely for everyone.”

Visit ATF’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/785618812545475/ or email them via activetravelforres@gmail.com

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