The 5 Lochs project is more than just about improving infrastructure. It’s also about considering other ways to improve safety, protecting the area and making the absolute most of what brings visitors here in the first place.
In an earlier post I referred to the increasing concern about vehicles being parked either on or adjacent to roads in the 5 lochs area. There are two main areas of concern here; parking on trunk road verges and parking in passing places.
The issue in the 5 Lochs area is when people pull their cars off the road to park.
This often means slowing down and carrying our risky manoeuvres on what can be quite fast roads. On busy days this can be extremely risky and dangerous with the potential for a serious accident becoming more likely as more people see it being done and join in.
The other problem we see a lot of is parking in passing places along single track roads. Passing places are there to help keep the flow of traffic going. Unfortunately, some people choose to ignore the passing place signs and decide to park their vehicle for the day or even for the weekend. On busy days this can result in gridlock with vehicles unable to go either way. The added complication here is that in the event of the emergency services needing to get through, they would not be able to get to an incident in time.
We are about to start discussing the options available to deal with these issues with the relevant roads authorities. We’ve already been in contact informally with the community councils to get their views and, on the basis of what we‘ve learned, we’ll be writing to Transport Scotland (who are responsible for trunk roads) and the Local Authorities (who are responsible for all other roads) soon to ask them to look into the problem and advise on possible solutions. One of the possible answers would be to make these roads “Clearways” which would mean it would be an offence to park on verges and in passing places. If the roads authorities decide that this solution could be appropriate there would have to be an official consultation to allow them to obtain public feedback.
The National Park Authority is also conscious of the need to ensure there is enough car parking in different areas of the 5 lochs area. The demand for car parking spaces will be looked at further whether or not plans to bring in clearway status are developed.
At our Loch Lubnaig sites, the final barrier work at Loch Lubnaig is now complete following a number of technical issues being resolved. Another part of getting the sites up and ready to open soon is ensuring that all the relevant licensing is in place. This is currently being finalised as certain criteria for issuing licenses depends on the works on the ground being completed. Once this is finished, all the licenses required can be issued. This should mean that the car parks and kiosk will be open to visitors within the month as we continue to see tourists and locals alike out and about enjoying the stunning autumnal colours.
I hope you have found this update useful and I look forward to your comments.
‘Your man on the ground’