Community Links PLUS design competition

Visualisation of the Sauchiehall Street Avenue Project

Woodside Mini Holland - Glasgow City Council - Community Links Plus 2016-17 Stage Three finalist.

A map of the Inverness City Active Travel Network.

Inverness City Active Travel Network - Highland Council - Community Links Plus 2016-17 Stage Three finalist.

A visualisation of part of the West Edinburgh Active Travel Network

West Edinburgh Active Travel Network - City of Edinburgh Council - Community Links Plus 2016-17 Stage Three finalist.

Community Links PLUS is a design competition, hosted by Sustrans Scotland and the Scottish Government. 

Now in its second year, Community Links PLUS seeks big, bold and innovative projects which will restore the balance of Scotland’s streets in favour of people walking and cycling. Previous successful entries have demonstrated an integrated approach to place-making, integrating community engagement, urban design, and promotion of walking and cycling to generate projects on a scale not yet seen in Scotland.

Aim of Community Links Plus

The aim of Community Links PLUS is to create inspirational examples of high-quality infrastructure, and more widely to encourage:

  • the delivery of more ambitious cycling and walking infrastructure across Scotland;
  • an increase in the number of aspirational projects being submitted to Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links grant programme; 
  • greater understanding of what high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure looks and feels like amongst families, communities, and decision makers; and 
  • a demonstration of the wider benefits that cycling and walking brings, including positive impacts on health and wellbeing, the quality of the environment and public realm, strengthened local economies and increased road safety.

Competition Stages

Community Links PLUS is a three-stage design competition. 

Stage One for initial Expressions of Interest concluded on 2 December 2016. Ten projects were selected to proceed to Stage Two, and will each receive a grant of up to £10,000 to develop their proposals further. 

Stage Two concluded on 3 February 2017. Five projects were invited to proceed to Stage Three, and will each receive a grant of up to £40,000 to finalise their detailed proposals and present to a cross-sector expert panel.

The result will be announced in the summer of 2017, with the winning project(s) being delivered from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

Project Shortlist

The five projects selected to proceed to Stage Three of the 2016-17 competition were:

  1. West Edinburgh Active Travel Network - City of Edinburgh Council. This project proposes to transform the west of Edinburgh into high quality Dutch-inspired cycle and pedestrian friendly neighbourhood. Included in plans is the creation of an attractive, direct and convenient cycling and walking route from the Roseburn area to the major business district of Edinburgh Park. The route would connect popular locations within a cycleable distance of 1-5km. Destinations along the route would include the Edinburgh Napier University and Heriot Watt campuses, the Gyle shopping centre and business park, new housing developments at East Craigs and Cammo, and existing communities Stenhouse, Broomhouse, Saughton, Sighthill and Wester Hailes. This major overhaul would see one of the most car dominated parts of Edinburgh transformed into an active travel hotspot.
  2. Meadows to George Street-Places for People - City of Edinburgh Council. This project proposes to create a direct cycle link between The Meadows and George Street, as well as the Old and New towns of the city centre along Hanover Street, The Mound, Bank Street, North Bank Street, George IV Bridge and Forrest Road. If successful, the ‘Meadows to George Street’ project aims to provide a major redesign for walking and cycling in the city, creating safe, coherent and attractive routes through the city centre. With over one third of people in Edinburgh cycling at least once a month and a total of 16.5 million bike journeys made annually, the implementation of strategic cycle infrastructure in a city centre location would potentially increase this level and encourage cycling as the favoured commute option city wide.
  3. Woodside Mini Holland - Glasgow City Council. This project takes inspiration from transport infrastructure in the Netherlands and proposes to deliver an exemplar cycle friendly neighbourhood in the Woodside community. Part of the project would include a segregated cycle route along St George’s Road from Charing Cross to Possil Road and would connect to the Sauchiehall Street 'Avenue' cycleway that is currently being delivered through the Sauchiehall and Garnethill Regeneration Framework. The proposal also includes the expansion of the cycle network into the city centre, Great Western Road, Maryhill, Garscube Road and the Forth and Clyde Canal in a bid to encourage cycling as the favoured commuter option. In addition to the health and wellbeing benefits that the extensive cycle network would bring to the surrounding area, the creation of Woodside Mini-Holland would strengthen local economies and increase road safety. Pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities at St George’s Cross Subway station would also undergo major redesign in order to improve accessibility to the station and surrounding streets. 
  4. Inverness City Active Travel Network - Highland Council. At the heart of The Highland Council’s proposal is the aim to create an active city fit for the future which will promote active travel, improve community health and reduce congestion. The ambitious proposal plans to strengthen the Inverness City Active Travel Network that connects all of the city’s communities with the centre, as well as developing seamless and segregated cycle-friendly routes along Millburn Road, Academy Street and the Raigmore Interchange. If successful, the plans propose a major overhaul of Millburn Road with the removal of one lane of general traffic in place for a fully segregated cycle path. A westbound bus lane and footpath would also be introduced, transforming the area into a less congested and pedestrian friendly area. A signalised junction would also become a feature of Millburn Road with separate signals for pedestrians and cyclists. Academy Street would also undergo a similar transformation with the implementation of a one-way cycle track with buffer zones off the main carriageway behind the parking and loading areas. The city wide active travel network also plans to create a ramp from the Raigmore Interchange to the Golden Bridge that would see construction of a cycle and pedestrian friendly route to the Inverness Campus.  
  5. City Boulevard and Cowane Street - Stirling CouncilCentral to Stirling Council’s vision is the development of a safe and attractive active travel network that would link residential areas and the city centre with key destinations including Stirling University and Forth Valley College, Stirling Castle and Wallace monument, as well as business destinations such as Forthside and Castle Business Park. The City Boulevard and Cowane Street project compromises of two key active travel routes that would allow Stirling to operate as a sustainable and vibrant city which is attractive to businesses, residents and visitors. The focal point of the first route, City Boulevard, is to improve the environment and streetscape along the A811 from Dumbarton Road, along Albert Place and Upper Craigs.  Included in this would be the introduction of more generously sized pedestrian routes, creating a boulevard feel and connecting the city centre to the City Park. Route two proposes to improve the environment and streetscape along Goosecroft Road, Cowane Street, Lower Bridge Street and Back O’Hill Road.  Currently the B8052 forms one of the key routes into Stirling City Centre and priorities vehicles, but if successful the project aims to make the road accessible to all users and redesign road crossings in order to improve accessibility. The integrated network would act as a direct link between Stirling City Centre and Stirling Bridge and continue onwards to the communities of Raploch, Cornton, Causewayhead and Bridge of Allan.

2015-16 Community Links Winner

The winner of the inaugural 2015-16 competition was Glasgow City Council's ‘South City Way’ project. This will run from Queen's Park, along Victoria Road, to the Merchant City district, improving facilities for those on foot, creating more vibrant streets, and creating a 3km segregated cycleway from the densely-populated Southside of Glasgow into the city centre. The project will improve the look and feel of the area and help give the city one of the most cohesive, high-quality urban cycle networks in the UK. Glasgow City Council was awarded £3,250,000, which they are match funding to create a total project fund of £6,500,000.

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, Scottish Government said: “The quality of all five final bids was extremely high in this new and exciting infrastructure competition and I am delighted to see the winner announced. Glasgow City Council has shown real ambition and vision towards improving conditions for people who choose to walk or cycle along a major commuter belt, while also connecting a densely-populated area with the city centre.”

For more information about Community Links PLUS 2016-17, download our Partner Brief.

To contact us about Community Links PLUS, email [email protected] or call 0131 346 9794.