Glasgow Councillors Summer-Autumn 2017

In June 2017 GoBike sent this letter, GoBike Glasgow City Council Letter 06_17  to all newly elected Glasgow Councillors, ie to all 84 Councillors,  Within minutes Councillor Elspeth Kerr, SNP, for Drumchapel/Anniesland replied, followed by others, and following a reminder after the summer recess, a grand total of 15, representing 10 wards, had replied.  We offered them all a tour of the city or their ward, by bike or by foot.

3. Partick East/Kelvindale, Ward 23, cycling tour, 23 September

GoBike member, Johnston Orr, trying to cycle along the Colleges Cycle route on Highburgh Road towards Byres Road.  Note the car encroaching on the very narrow door opening zone and the car parked right across the bike lane!

On Saturday 23 September, GoBike convenor, Tricia Fort, and Johnston Orr met one of Partick East/Kelvindale’s 4 councillors, Tony Curtis, Conservative, for a short tour of the ward – but lots of discussion.  Tony is very keen that all road users obey the Highway Code and relevant legislation, behave responsibly and respect each other, follow guidance when it comes to staying safe on a bike and he is keen to get Police Scotland to address parking and speeding infringements.

Our route was from outside the bar/restaurant 1051GWR on Great Western Road at Gartnavel, up to Highburgh Road and along into Hyndland and Dowanhill. The points discussed concerning cycle infrastructure were:

  1. The possibility of a cycle link from the western end of Devonshire Terrace through to the front of bar/restaurant1051GWR; this would allow people to cycle from Devonshire Terrace along the existing footway, if it were cleared of vegetation and widened, to access Hughenden Lane or Shelley Road.
  2. The reduced hours of operation of the bus lanes on Great Western Road and the lack of any cycle infrastructure on this major artery into the city centre.
  3. Hyndland Road from Great Western Road to the top of Clarence Drive; this is a main route, as Tony pointed out, and yet there is no cycle infrastructure.
  4. The poor condition of many roads, and many cycle lanes, in the city, and in this ward.
  5. The positioning of the cycle lanes on Hyndland/Highburgh Road from Clarence Drive: currently the cycle lanes are on the outside of parking bays.  The door opening zone is too narrow, only 0.5m rather than a realistic 1.0m, and many cars were poorly parked, encroaching on the narrow door opening zone.
  6. Irresponsible parking, such as right across the cycle lane.
  7. The confusion of the signs on Dowanhill Street; had there been cycle lanes here previously?  (And why was one car parked facing the wrong way on a one-way street?)
  8. The apparent contradiction between Glasgow City Council’s policy and action on one-way streets, particularly those streets that are changed from two-way to one-way ostensibly to allow parking on both sides, with respect to maintaining access for people to cycle.  The references here are: Glasgow City Council’s Strategic Plan for Cycling, page 28 referencing their use of Transport Scotland’s design guide, Cycling by Design which states in section 5.1.5 on page 52, under Contra-flow Cycle Lanes, that “The default position should be to permit two-way cycling on one-way streets.”  This is very pertinent for areas such as Dowanhill, where two-way streets have been made one-way under new parking regulations, and for Partick, where new parking regulations – and new one-way streets – are about to be introduced.  This means some significant detours for people who wish to cycle.
  9. GoBike’s view is that cycle infrastructure should be provided where people cycle and our analysis of Strava and other cycle-counting data is here on our website.  Great Western Road, as a main artery into the city centre, has significant numbers of people cycling along it, as does Byres Road, on the edge of this ward, but neither has any cycle infrastructure.

Partick East/Kelvindale is currently the home of the most cycle-interested councillors in the city.  All four councillors have responded to our invitation to walk or cycle round their ward!  There has been a nil response from many other wards.

  2. Anderston/City/Yorkhill, Ward 10, tour of Garnethill, 22 September

On Friday, 22 September, Tim Pearson, GoBike member and Peter Hayman, GoBike committee member toured the Garnethill part of Ward 10, Anderston/City/Yorkhill with Councillor Christy Mearns from the Green Party. Tim and Christy are shown on the photo above, just about to enter Garnethill from St George’s Road, and Tim’s summary of their discussion with photos of points of concern is here: Garnethill Ward Bike Tour 22 Sept 2017

  1. Maryhill and Hillhead wards, 15 September

The first tour was held on Friday 15 September and covered parts of Maryhill ward, no 15, represented by Councillor Jane Morgan, Labour, and part of Hillhead ward, no 11, represented by Martha Wardrop, Green.  Alasdair Macdonald and Tricia Fort of GoBike attended and the route we took is here:  and notes for the tour provided by Andy Preece are here: Councillor Ward Tour – Cowcaddens & Maryhill  It was excellent to hear that the councillors share our concern about accessibility through stopped-off streets, see this photo of the west end of West Princes Street and this rather poor access into Duart Street off Maryhill Road:


They seemed surprised to hear that an advisory cycle lane, such as the one on Garrioch Drive and this one, below, on Shakespeare Street, do not give drivers the option of parking in them but just to enter them while moving to avoid other road vehicles.  However, to prevent parking council staff need to arrange for double yellow lines to be installed at the same time as the cycle lane (it’s not rocket science)

Another surprise was that, unlike other European countries where two-way cycling on one-way streets is the norm, it is not the norm, certainly not the legal norm, in Glasgow – sadly.

We also looked at many places where access, not only for bikes, but for prams, mobility scooters etc could be improved with dropped kerbs; this relatively new access path from new housing to the Kelvin Walkway is a case in point:

And, while the Kelvin Walkway is fine for leisure, we did point out that the A81, Maryhill Road is a main commuter route, not just for cars, but bikes and thus should have segregated cycle lanes.

A further thing in our tour was this path from Cadder Road near Gilshochill Railway Station.  It does have lighting, which can just be seen under the trees, but wouldn’t encourage more people to cycle, and walk, if the vegetation were all cut back?

Further tours are now being planned, with the next one, Garnethill, with Green Councillor Christy Mearns scheduled for Tuesday 19 September.