Away from busy roads – the University of Glasgow Travel Survey

When is away from busy roads not away from busy roads? When it’s beside it, but protected from traffic.

The results are out from the latest travel survey undertaken at the University of Glasgow and are online here and here for everyone to peruse.

We have been looking through it at GoBike and have major concerns with the wording of one of the provided responses to questions about cycling – “More cycle routes away from busy roads”.

Table 3.12 – Encouraging Cycling (top responses for Gilmorehill Campus)
What would encourage you to cycle more?
39% – Better / safer cycle routes and improved lighting
39% – More cycle routes away from busy roads
34% – Nothing would encourage me to cycle / cycle more
28% – More direct cycle routes

We would argue (and we know others had highlighted this during the survey process too) that “away from busy roads” could as easily be read as “protected from busy traffic” and therefore “segregated cycle lanes” as opposed to the assumption the report is making, that respondents are indicating a preference for quieter cycle routes through the campus, and away from direct routes such as University Avenue. We certainly would suggest that a fear of mixing with traffic is at the heart of why these respondents have chosen this answer for why they don’t cycle more, and not necessarily that they want to be able to cycle a longer more convoluted route to get to where they are going.

The finding of a preference for “away from busy roads” is repeatedly referred to within the final report (e.g. 5.3.2 The most popular response for both staff and students is a desire to see better / safer cycling routes and improve lighting around the University campuses and / or more cycle routes away from busy roads.)

We fear that the ambiguity of the wording may allow for this finding to be artificially skewed. UofG are likely to be looking for backing for their plans to provide cycle routes through their campus in lieu of ignoring the more important direct arterial route of University Avenue. We are highlighting it here in the hope that it might avoid this happening and the 700 people who signed our petition agree.

Protected bike lanes seem the most obvious solution to providing space for cycling “away from busy roads”, and they also tick the important requirement for routes to be direct.  The cost of inconvenience is that people will often choose not to cycle. There has also been another suggestion from within our team though. How about solving the need to create space “away from busy roads” by “making the roads not busy”. Now wouldn’t that be a mind blowing idea!

Buried within the appendices of the UofG Travel Survey Report 2019 are a couple more pertinent comments which we sincerely hope will be taken on board:

More evidence that improved cycling infrastructure is good for health.

We have recently linked to a new report published by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Scottish Government on our Evidence pages (see Health) called the UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines that provides a wealth of evidence to show just how valuable exercise such as active travel is, not just to ourselves personally, but also on a much wider scale. We believe this goes a long way to show just how much of a health issue active travel is and should be treated as, particularly when it comes to funding considerations.

Here are some key quotes and infographics pulled out by one of our members for us.

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Glasgow City Council to no longer count bus lanes as cycle routes!

GoBike is heartened to learn this week that Glasgow City Council will no longer be counting bus corridors as part of the city’s cycling route network. Years of wishful thinking had allowed GCC to claim 310km of cycle routes in the city by counting any road designated as a bus corridor – even when some included roads are without bus lanes for long stretches. We hope that this newer, more realistic approach will allow officers and elected members to fully appreciate the work that needs to be done to fulfill the aspirations in the council’s Strategic Plan for Cycling.

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Friday 24th 17:30 – A Silent Protest

We are devastated to have heard that we lost someone cycling on our roads today. We send our condolences to this woman’s friends and family, and strength to the wider cycling community who we know are feeling the shock.

We would like to stand with her in solidarity and join with others in a brief and respectful silent protest for safer cycling. We will gather at 17:30 on the pavement at the corner of Pollokshaws Road and Nithsdale Drive this Friday 24th where we will hold a two minute silence signalled by a bell, and then disperse.

It’s time for ACTION on University Avenue

** Sign and share our petition. **

It’s crunch time for University Avenue, and we would like to ask for your help. Current plans for the redesign of this key arterial street do not include protected space for cycling and we simply cannot allow for the plans to go through unresisted. It would be a tragedy for the future of a safe linked up network of direct cycling routes in our city if University Avenue does not make space for protected cycling – for the staff and students who travel to the University, for the commuters who use the direct route to pass through, for parents taking their children to school or to the park, and for everyone who would like to chose to cycle but won’t, because sharing road space with heavier and faster moving vehicles stops them.

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The Bearsway Needs You

Our members from the Friends of Bearsway mini-campaign would like your help following their protest during Pedal on Parliament weekend that aims to kick start the completion of the Bearsway.

They have written a letter of appeal to local councillors and would like help hand delivering them to local surgeries. If you can help get in touch on their facebook or via email.

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Review of University Avenue proposals called for in light of University of Glasgow Climate Emergency declaration

We were surprised and pleased to see yesterday that the University of Glasgow have joined other institutions by finally recognising that we are in a state of climate emergency. Clearly this will have implications for the implementation of safe sustainable travel on University Avenue and so we have written to the principle as follows:

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GoBike Ride – Sunday 5th May – Strathclyde Town & Country Tour

This ride will see us cycling through East Kilbride on our way to Strathclyde Country Park. We’ll head out of Glasgow along the recently built cycle route connecting Queen’s Park and Muirend, then head up the hill to East Kilbride where we will cross the town on a mixture of paths and roads. Then out into the countryside briefly before descending through Hamilton to Strathclyde Country Park. After lunch, we will head across to Uddingston to return to Glasgow along NCN75 (including the Clyde Walkway).

35 miles round trip, including some short sections on potentially busier roads.

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