On Monday 10 August, 2 members of the GoBike committee, plus 2 doctors from the new hospital, met with Andrew Brown, Projects Manager with responsibility for cycling infrastructure in Glasgow City Council, and his assistant, Steve Gray on site near the hospital. Andrew and Steve were able to see for themselves the chaotic state of affairs on Govan Road where southbound cycles and motor vehicles exit the tunnels – into the Fastlink construction site. At present cyclists and pedestrians have to fend for themselves to cross Govan Road in between cars, buses, lorries and cars, to get to their homes, to the shops or to their place of work. We were also at the entrance to the northbound cycle tunnel between 5:15 and 5:45 pm and saw the constant stream of people cycling home from the hospital via the tunnel. Many of these people have never commuted by bike before; a big modal shift has been brought about because these people have realised that using a bike provides a practical means of getting to and from the hospital.
What did come out of the meeting is:
- An agreement by Andrew Brown to speak to his colleagues dealing with Fastlink to explore what can be done for cycling (and no, they have not been in close liaison during the Fastlink design and construction process).
- News that the segregated cycle lane proposed for Peninver Drive, and unnecessary in our view, is now on hold because of concerns about other aspects of the Traffic Regulation Order for the area.
- A commitment from the Council to look with some urgency at the crossing from Peninver Drive across Moss Road into the heavily used cycle and pedestrian access to the hospital opposite.
- Acknowledgement from the Council that the very narrow northbound cycle lane marked on Moss Road with faint, white paint, just outside the double yellow lines, is inadequate.
- The view from GoBike that the Council’s proposal for cyclists exiting the southbound tunnel, and wanting to go west to the hospital, to go east towards the roundabout on very narrow redetermined footways and cross over one side road and 2 independent Toucan crossings before heading west, is adding distance and time to the cycle journey, is impractical, over-engineered and unrealistic.
- The observance that the desire line for cyclists exiting the southbound tunnel is to directly cross Govan Road before heading west to the hospital. Andy Winter, the GoBike member who was one of the two doctors at the meeting, has already stated to the Council that this is the route that should be formalised. (The photograph accompanying this post was taken at 08:35 on the morning of 14 August; in under 10 minutes 20 cyclists were seen exiting the southbound tunnel and everyone of them used the route shown on the photograph.)
- Confirmation from the Council that the area leading to the northbound tunnel is to be resurfaced soon.
- Confirmation from the Council that they are actively looking at improved surfacing within the tunnels; it has been suggested to them that trials of the proposed surfacing materials are carried out.
- Confirmation from the Council that signage directing people to the cycle tunnels and the hospital is to be erected soon (we were told that this had been delayed because of the change of name of the hospital!)
In addition the hospital staff told us that cycle parking and showers are available for staff, the Bike to Work Scheme has been promoted within the hospital, there are moves to set up a Bicycle Users Group and hospital management are working with cycling commuters to draw up a cycle-centric guide on routes to the hospital
From all of this it is clear that cycling is rarely considered within Glasgow City Council, apart from by the staff in Andrew Brown’s section; ie there is little, or no, joined up thinking and, overall, traffic planning for the new hospital has not been realistic. In particular a frequently used excuse that the state of the road layout was ‘due to Fastlink’, where cycle and pedestrian safety appears to have been completely ignored, has worn rather hollow.
GoBike objected to the Fastlink proposals because of the exclusion of cycles and the potential danger posed to people on bikes by the new traffic layout, but we were ignored, although concessions are now creeping in in response to realisation by the Council of the need to improve cycle provision.
So while a great new hospital has been delivered on time and in budget, there has been a failure within the City Council to adequately respond to this in terms of cycle and pedestrian access. GoBike will be bringing our concerns to the attention of the councillors for the area and we suggest that you do likewise. The local councillors are:
Councillor James Adams, Labour Party, e-mail: email@example.com
Councillor Stephen Dornan, Scottish National Party, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CouncilLor John Kane, Labour Party, e-mail: email@example.com
Bailie Fariha Thomas, Labour Party, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org”