Construction of two new walking and wheeling corridors linking the communities, businesses and higher education institutes of Stirling is set to get underway.
Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling – one of the cornerstone projects of the £90.2million Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal – will create two active travel arteries, connecting people and places in the heart of Stirling like never before.
Stirling Council Leader, Cllr Farmer said: "For the first time ever we'll be able to create seamless sustainable travel options that link the institutions and businesses of our City with their local communities, setting a new standard of local active travel infrastructure.
"This investment will make it easier to walk or wheel around Stirling and we hope this improved and increased access will not only meet the growing demands for better active travel infrastructure, but embed a culture that embraces cycling, walking and wheeling in the everyday lives of the people who live, work and visit Stirling."
The £9.5million project will start construction in March, and will see new infrastructure added to existing but currently disconnected routes over the next two years to create two new, fully connected travel corridors.
Route one will interlink Stirling Train station and the University of Stirling, taking in iconic landmarks like Old Stirling Bridge and the National Wallace Monument along the way. Route two will bridge the gaps between Forth Valley College and the City Centre along Albert Place, Dumbarton Road and Raploch Road, under the shadow of Stirling Castle.
Around 6.5km of new infrastructure will be added in total, funded by £2.5m of Scottish Government investment from the City Region Deal, £258k from Stirling Council’s developer contributions allocation and £6.8m from Sustrans’ Places for Everyone fund, backed by Transport Scotland.
The changes also present the Council and partners with new place-making, parking and tourism opportunities along the routes, with the infrastructure also laying the groundwork for future connections to Clackmannanshire and the wider Forth Valley region.
Clackmannanshire Council Leader Cllr Ellen Forson said: "I am delighted to see this project start to take shape. It will improve connectivity for our residents by providing a link to routes already established in Clackmannanshire, and is a great example of partnership working through the Stirling & Clackmannanshire City Region Deal."
Sustrans’ Scotland Director Karen McGregor said: "Walk, Cycle, Live Stirling is a truly transformative project that we at Sustrans are excited to be working on as part of our Places for Everyone programme. The project will make walking, wheeling and cycling safer and more enjoyable for everyone, making it easier for people to move between the iconic landmarks that make Stirling the unique place that it is."
Scottish Government Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: "These walking and wheeling corridors will promote more sustainable travel, healthier lifestyles and opportunities for tourism while connecting Stirling’s educational institutions, businesses and communities.
"Through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal the Scottish Government will invest up to £7 million in new and improved active travel projects.
"This is helping deliver the bold and ambitious actions we need to help reduce carbon emissions to net zero and encourage sustainable economic growth."
Scheduled to run until March 2024, construction of WCLS will be a prominent feature of the Stirling landscape in the years to come as work spreads across communities.
The initial construction phase starts in tandem on Raploch Road East near the King’s Knot, and Airthrey Road near the University. Disruption will be minimised and affected communities will be direct-mailed before each phase.
By conclusion of the project, WCLS will: