SPACE FOR DISTANCING IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

As lockdown starts to ease and shops are preparing to reopen, we are seeing a resurgence of Business Improvement Districts lobbying councils to make on-street parking free. This is counter to council plans for widening pavements for social distancing by removing parking. It also goes against all economic evidence, and as traders on Byres Road have also taken up the call, we look at the evidence here, particularly based around Byres Road.

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Blog: An infrastructure emergency: implementing temporary cycle facilities during lockdown

One of our committee members Ali McCay, has written a new post for the Urban Big Data Centre. This sets out clearly how we can go about creating temporary cycle facilities during lockdown, and outlines exactly why there is an urgent need for creating spaces for people to walk cycle and wheel during the Covid-19 crisis.

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** UPDATED ** Cycling services still open for business

** CORRECT AS OF SATURDAY 16TH MAY AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE – NEW SERVICES UPDATED DAILY **

Cycling for transport and exercise is currently one of the essential things getting us through the Covid-19 crisis and GoBike are really grateful to the people out there helping to keep cycling going in Glasgow and beyond. The government have listed cycle shops as an essential service, and so we wanted to highlight the businesses still up and running, many of whom are offering discounts to our hero key workers, should you need a bike or essential repairs. 

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GoBike Cycle Rides Suspended

We regret to announce that in line with Cycling UK guidance, we have taken the decision to suspend our monthly GoBike rides until further notice.

Current advice does outline that while group rides are not advised, cycling individually is safe. In an open letter sent out on Tuesday to the UK Government, 16 leading academics have outline why “Walking and cycling can be compatible with social distancing if people are responsible.” The World Health Organisation have also given it a green light.

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GoBike Ride – Sunday 2nd February – Eastern City Excursion

This ride will consist of a circular route into the east of the city, taking in a number of newish developments, as well as a few parks. The furthest extent of the ride will be Robroyston with its new station, and Hogganfield Loch. We will also visit the canal at Hamiltonhill, Sighthill regeneration site, Tollcross Park, the Cuningar Loop park, the Polmadie Bridge, Govanhill Park, and finally end up at the Tradeston Bridge.

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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: