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.


New Normal = Normal Issues

Hielenman's Umbrella narrow cycle lane 2020

It’s been three weeks since the funding for ‘Space for People’ was awarded to Glasgow City Council. As part of this we have a new addition in the heart of our city that includes cycle infrastructure. The pavement has been extended on Gordon St and Argyle St at Glasgow Central Station. To create this space there has been a change to road lanes going Westbound, with both becoming contraflow cycle lanes.

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New cycling stats out this week

Two different reports have been released this week detailing research on cycling in Scotland. The first, the latest Scottish Transport Statistics (2019) from Transport Scotland, which clearly show that cycling rates continue to remain desperately low, the general cycling modal share of journeys remaining at around 1% for Scotland.

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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:

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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Consultation Digest Issue 36, 12 June 2019, exciting proposals for Pollokshields, preparation for separated cycle lane on Garscube Road and less exciting matters.

This is a Glasgow issue, with on-line consultation for Battlefield open, grassroots proposals for Pollokshields, Woodside extension to Garscube Road and yet more speed humps – this time in Dalmarnock – but do please read on for even more.

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Consultation Extra: University Avenue, consultation closes TODAY, 07 JUNE so there’s just time to sign our petition or get your response in.

Consultation on both the 20mph proposed speed limit and the waiting and loading regulations, which includes the uphill painted cycle lanes, close today so there is just time, if you haven’t done so already, to sign our petition:

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Glasgow University Back-pedals on Climate Emergency

Glasgow University recently became the first University in Scotland to declare a climate emergency, stating “we are affirming our belief that urgent action is needed to tackle climate change.” (1).

However the £1bn campus redevelopment plans have failed to future-proof transport-links around campus. Many staff, students and commuters have been left disappointed by the absence of a safe route for cycling on University Avenue.  Consequently the petition for University Avenue to include such provision has now achieved over 500 signatures (2).

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