On Thursday evening, 17 September, we held a meeting with one of the local Councillors for Govan, Bailie Fariha Thomas. The orange barrier shown in the photograph has now been removed from Govan Road but no guidance has been provided as yet for cyclists emerging from the southbound tunnel.
The summary e-mail sent to Bailie Thomas after the meeting is reproduced in full below and you will see that we suggest a less hostile environment should be created in the area to improve conditions for walking and cycling. If you have any suggestions how the ambiance of the area may be improved please let GoBike know either by e-mail or via the Facebook page.
“Dear Bailie Thomas,
Sincere thanks for meeting Alasdair Macdonald from the GoBike committee, Dr Andy Winter, a GoBike member who spends his working week between the new hospital and other venues in the city, and me yesterday evening, 17 September. We were pleased that you understand not only our concerns but those of your constituents in the locality as well as the pressures on the City Council.
I have copied both Andy and Alasdair into this message and have also included Andrew Brown and his assistant Steve Gray, from Land and Environmental Services at the City Council, both of whom met us at the same venue on Monday 10 August. It is unfortunate that despite the efforts of Andrew and Steve, the Fastlink team have not actively engaged with cyclists and pedestrians in Govan.
There has been a phenomenal increase in the number of people cycling to and from the new hospital and in the Govan area, which is very welcome, but this appears to have been done as a result of the very small number of parking places at the hospital and the severe traffic congestion, not because of any increase or improvement in cycling infrastructure on the commuter routes we looked at yesterday.
It seems that, overall, no consideration has been given to the route to and from the now-heavily-used Clyde Cycle Tunnels across the Fastlink Route and, although some changes are now being made to access to the Fastlink lanes, there is a lack of clarity.
To summarise our discussion, we have listed the points we covered below and we would be very grateful if you could assist in finding out some answers for us and clarifying other points of concern.
- At our meeting last month with Andrew Brown and Steve Gray we discussed the proposed resurfacing of the Clyde Cycle Tunnels, but as yet, we have not been told the timescale for these works.
- Steve Gray informed us that he had prepared a signing schedule to guide people to the cycle tunnels; this is very much needed. You will remember that we saw someone on Peninver Drive yesterday asking how to get to the northbound tunnel? It would be good to know that signage will soon be put in place.
- The crossing of Moss Road from the hospital gate to Peninver Drive is of concern. It is heavily used but unsuitable for the number of people walking or cycling across. We were told that improvements would be made promptly but over 5 weeks on we have heard nothing.
- Peninver Drive and Burghead Place, leading to the northbound tunnel: could you please ascertain the extent and timescale of the resurfacing to be done in this area?
I now turn to the exit from the southbound tunnel and Govan Road, where, as we saw yesterday, there is no provision for cyclists. Despite it being City Council policy to install Advance Stop Lines for cyclists, none have been installed at the new traffic light junction of Moss Road and Govan Road. The whole area has been made to look as if it has a busy highway through it and natural pedestrian and cycle routes have been blocked off by all the metal fences that have been installed.
- Cycle exit from the southbound tunnel and route to the new hospital: at our meeting with Andrew and Steve on 10 August they suggested that cyclists would be expected to exit from the tunnel, use a new toucan crossing over Cressy Street (ie taking them east and away from the hospital) use two more toucan crossings over Govan Road and then join the bus lane to continue their westbound journey. There are many objections to this, not least being that it is impractical! A suggested option of a shared footway on the south side of Govan Road now appears to have been removed with the erection of one of the many new fences. We looked yesterday at the option of a shared system on a widened footway on the north side of Govan Road, with the possibility of crossing Govan Road at the high point (thus giving good visibility) directly over the road tunnel (the recently installed pedestrian crossing further west is not in a suitable place).
- However, our conclusion is that a more holistic solution is required and expert advice should be sought as to how a robust and usable cycle network may be constructed alongside good walking routes to allow commuters to the hospital, patients, local residents and people employed in the area to walk and cycle, not only from the tunnel to the hospital but to the new housing that is being constructed on the north side of Govan Road, to the new and existing shopping areas and to the schools and other local amenities. The new housing being constructed is presumably to attract people to live in the area and now is the time to look at improving the ambience of the area, as has very successfully been done in other parts of Govan.
You told us that there would be a review of the traffic management around the hospital one year on – from either the opening of the new hospital or the completion of Fastlink, which, you informed us, is now scheduled for 02 October. I’ve no doubt the completion of the route will be very welcome to all the people who have suffered from the congestion, noise and lack of access! Could you tell us whether this review will cover vehicle flows along Govan Road before the opening of the new hospital, after the opening, before and after the completion of Fastlink and, of course, the numbers of people cycling along Govan Road and through the tunnels?
As we discussed there have been changes to the access allowed to cycles along the Fastlink Route, with the Clyde Arc section being the first to allow cycles, and now Govan Road. GoBike proposed at the time of the initial consultation on Fastlink that bikes should be allowed on the entire route, since the lanes for all other traffic are so narrow. Can you confirm that cycles will be allowed to use the entire route?
We did, of course, discuss many points of concern and we realise that all our questions won’t be answered immediately, but action is required on some points sooner rather than later. We look forward to hearing of improvements being made!
With very best wishes and with thanks for the time you spent with us yesterday,
Convenor, GoBike! The Strathclyde Cycle Campaign, www.gobike.org“