Consultation Digest Issue 59, 28 April 2020: Social Distancing; we all want to keep to the guidelines, but it’s tricky.

We have no new public consultations for you but we do bring news of an important event for Community Councillors and community groups this Thursday, 30 April, see Item 2.1. We also continue our look forward to better days with more and more people cycling – even with the restrictions of social distancing. We report on the Pedal on Parliament #SpaceForDistancing campaign for short-term increases in space for cycling (and walking) but we also need to look past the short term to get more cycling space, thus inducing more cycle traffic.

Contents

Section 1: Current Consultations
  1. Scottish Government, Climate Change Plan, Climate change and you, now CLOSED.
  2. North Lanarkshire, Proposed New Road, Airdrie, closes Thursday 30 April
Section 2: Forthcoming Consultations
  1. Planning for Place – Webinar – 30th April 2020 – 4pm – Reallocating Road Space for Walking and Cycling During Covid-19 (Community Council event)
  2. Pedal on Parliament 2020, Space For Distancing
  3. Glasgow, Louisa Jordan Hospital at the SEC: how do we get there safely?
  4. What about other Shared Footways, eg James Street in Bridgeton?
  5. A Segregated Cycle Route, London Road in Bridgeton, one of several in and around Glasgow and the west of Scotland, plus a mention of the Bearsway
Section 3: Consultation Feedback
  1. The Scottish Parliament: Climate Change & You Update
  2. Glasgow, Ibrox Stadium, Event Day Emergency Routes and Parking Zone
  3. Glasgow, Celtic Park and Emirates Arena, Event Day Emergency Routes and Parking Zone
  4. East Dunbartonshire Council: LDP Newsletter No.56
  5. Glasgow, George Square Experimental Order
  6. From University Avenue Glasgow to Princes Street Edinburgh

Section 1: Current Consultations (in date order for responses)

1.1 Scottish Government, Climate Change Plan, Climate change and you, now CLOSED.

We published information on this consultation in Digest 58 in good faith following information from our friends in Transform Scotland. Soon after publication, we got this email from them:

I’m afraid to say that the Parliament’s ECCLR has now closed the consultation referred to in the article. (The 29 April date that we had used on our website was a placeholder, as the Committee had failed to advertise a closing date when they launched the consultation.)

Poor performance there, then, from our government, but hope some of you managed to have a look. There is some feedback for those of us who did submit our views, see Item 3.1 below.

Item 1.2 North Lanarkshire, Proposed New Road, Airdrie, closes Thursday 30 April

In Digest 57, Item 1.3 we published details of this online consultation and in Digest 58, Item 1.2 we included GoBike’s letter of response, repeated here.

Here’s an email we received from North Lanarkshire Council on 23 April, encouraging feedback on the Link Road Options:

We’re asking for your feedback on our plans for the East Airdrie Link Road, which is being developed as part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

If you haven’t already given us your feedback, please take a few minutes to do so before 30 April. 

We will then consider all the comments received as we develop the plans for the link road. There will be another opportunity to give further feedback at the next stage of the project later this year.

Anyone who previously experienced difficulties returning the feedback form to the email address provided, can now send it to nlccitydeal@northlan.gov.uk.

Thank you.”

If you haven’t done so already, do please write in, by THURSDAY THIS WEEK to oppose the construction of this new road. In these times of limited travel, significant improvements in air quality and remarkable levels of cycling uptake, it is ridiculous that people working in local authorities and for our “city region” should be planning for more and more private road transport.

Section 2: Forthcoming Consultations

2.1 Planning for Place – Webinar – 30th April 2020 – 4pm – Reallocating Road Space for Walking and Cycling During Covid-19 (Community Council event)
Pop-up cycle lane (courtesy of the Guardian)

Not before time, you might say, but Glasgow City Council is publicising a webinar for Community Councils and community groups, “Reallocating Road Space for Walking and Cycling During Covid-19”. There are quite a few GoBike members who are also members of their Community Council so we hope you will all respond to the email that was forwarded by Glasgow City Council yesterday, 27 April. GoBike will be looking in too.

Here’s the text:

From: Scottish Community Councils
Sent: 24 April 2020 11:58
Subject: Planning for Place – Webinar – 30th April 2020 – 4pm – Reallocating Road Space for Walking and Cycling During Covid-19 

Good morning everyone, 


Our colleagues at the Planning for Place programme have asked us to make you aware of an upcoming webinar on Reallocating Road Space for Walking and Cycling During Covid-19.  Facilitated by Irene Beautyman, Place Lead at the Improvement Service, the webinar will be of particular value to council officers, elected members, community groups and all interested in pursuing the role of place as an enabler of healthier lives.  The online event is open to all those with an interest in facilitating active travel during the Covid-19 lockdown and in enabling safer conditions for walking and cycling.  Here is the link to sign up to the webinar (link removed by GoBike). I’d be grateful if you would consider sharing this information with interested colleagues and community councils in your area. 

Regards,

If you do take part, please send any thoughts to the rest of us at GoBike!

****************************

Apart from that, GoBike is not aware of any specific consultations coming over the horizon, except for the Scottish Government information in Item 3.1, but we do hope that you are all able to get out on your bike to check current cycle lane provision, to note where it is sub-standard and where there is no provision at all. We need to make sure that, in future, we get good quality provision for all of us who are now cycling and all those people who will cycle if cycle lanes are there for them.

Let’s look at the facilities we currently have and the options open to us:

2.2 Pedal on Parliament 2020, Space For Distancing

We hope that by now you are all aware of our sister organisation, Pedal on Parliament, and its 2020 campaign inspired by the current social distancing guidelines. They have written up a couple of round ups about the action that happened over the weekend here and here and we hope that the encouragement the campaign has provided to local councils will help get some space for distancing road reallocation in place for people out walking and cycling.

Do have a look at the website and support, where and how you can, the moves to increase the space available for active travel while are streets are so empty during lockdown. We need to have meaningful dialogue, followed by action, to keep us safe on our journeys.

2.3 Glasgow, Louisa Jordan Hospital at the SEC: how do we get there safely?

National Cycle Route 75 will be well known to many of you; it’s narrow from the Clyde Arc Bridge, past the Hilton Garden Inn on the shared footway and along by the river past the Crowne Plaza Hotel and on to the shared footway shown above that runs next to the heliport. Crucially, though, on the other side of the green-netted fence, is a 2-lane road, empty at the time GoBike member, Brenda, took this photograph.

So why is such a narrow space provided for active travel, for people walking and cycling for their “daily permitted exercise”, for people going to their work at the Louisa Jordan Hospital, now the main function of the Scottish Exhibition Centre, and for people going to their work at other locations?

Let’s look at Cycling by Design, the Scottish Government’s design handbook, which Glasgow City Council have confirmed they use. In Table 6.2, “Off-carriageway facility widths”, page 63, the Desirable Minimum for shared pedestrian and cycle use is 3.0m. How does this shared footway compare? While the distance fence to fence is over 3m, the distance between the lampposts and the green fence is only 2.6m. That is, even without social distancing requirements, this shared footway is SUB-STANDARD. So why wasn’t one lane of the adjacent road used for cycling with the footway reserved for walking? That, as they say, is a “good question”.

How else can active travellers reach, or bypass, the Louisa Jordan Hospital? The tube bridge from Exhibition Centre railway station is closed, so let’s look at the surrounding roads. The Expressway is an option, but not for the faint-hearted, so what about Finnieston Street?

Some GoBike members might remember that when the Finnieston Street gyratory system was brought in some years ago we were very concerned about the perils of negotiating the roundabout on a bike. The City Council’s proposed solution was to suggest that the footway on the right hand side of the photo be made available for cycling, as well as walking in both directions! Look at the width. It was SUB-STANDARD then and if is absolutely SUB-STANDARD if we are all to keep a 2m distance from other people (except people with whom we cohabit).

Currently, for people who are confident in traffic, and provided any motor vehicles in the vicinity are being driven according to all the rules, Finnieston Street is a possibility, but for all the people who may currently be seen learning to ride on one of the hired Next Bikes??

2.4 What about other Shared Footways, eg James Street in Bridgeton?
James Street 2m + 2m + 0,5

Last week your Digest editor cycled out to Bridgeton with her cohabiting husband, to look at local cycle lanes, starting with the shared footway on James Street.

So how does this facility meet the standard set out in Cycling by Design, table 6.2? The pedestrian only space is 2m so does it meet the Desirable Minimum of 2m? Well, it would, but only if the lampposts, which clearly reduce the available width for walking were removed! Thus it is SUB-STANDARD.

Let’s look at the cycle space, which again, is 2m. Looking at Table 6.2, the Desirable Minimum for “Two way cycles only” is 3m, so let’s look at the Absolute Minimum (2 minima – how does that work?) and 2m is acceptable – but hold on – the 2m must be “free from line markings” and the white line is within the cycling lane. The verdict must again be SUB-STANDARD.

Why was this facility provided in this way? To allow the all-day parking on the right hand side of the photo and the limited parking adjacent to the cycle lane? Who knows?

James Street shared route

Let’s bring in social distancing and ask whether a clearance from other people of 2m be maintained? Only with great difficulty. We don’t know who the other people in the photo are but it’s a fair guess that they use this route regularly.


Is 2m clearance from other people sufficient to protect people in these times of Coronavirus? We are all told to keep this distance but this Belgian study might get you thinking, but hopefully not worrying too much. Just stay as clear from others as you can, give everyone a good, wide berth.

2.5 A Segregated Cycle Route, London Road in Bridgeton, one of several in and around Glasgow and the west of Scotland, and a mention of the Bearsway
London Road 3m cycleway

George and I then cycled on, via Bridgeton Cross, to the segregated cycle lane on London Road, which was constructed in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2014, even though it reduces to a shared footway well before the Emirates Stadium. GoBike has been reliably informed that if the M74 had been open at the time, removing much of the motor traffic from London Road, 2 one-way cycle lanes would have been constructed instead of this two-way facility.

So what’s the problem? The route is 3m kerb to kerb and that meets the Desirable Minimum Width given in Table 5.4, page 54 of Cycling by Design and if 2 people cycling opposite directions, as above, kept to their respective kerbs, it would just, just, be possible to get 2m clearance between them.

However, this check was prompted by GoBike member and Glasgow resident, Derek, who sent us this email recently:

Last Sunday, coming in through Milngavie I went onto the cycle lane then quickly left when I saw the mass of family groups approaching as there was no way we could pass at 1m let alone 2. On the road, I was then hooted at by motorists yelling ‘get on the cycle lane’.

So what can we do? Just about all our cycle facilities are constructed to the design minima. Obviously the design standards and the construction to date were all done before the terms “coronavirus” and “social distancing” entered our vocabulary, but with all the reports of increased numbers of people cycling, it’s of paramount importance that we get the space we need to cater for healthy active travel. We must refuse any designs done to the old minimum standards in any future consultations.

Section 3: Consultation Feedback

3.1 The Scottish Parliament: Climate Change & You Update

Here’s an email received from the Scottish Parliament after the Digest Editor submitted a personal response to the short-lived consultation on Climate Change and You, referred to in Item 1.1 above. Note that the survey mentioned about halfway down, which closes on 12 May, only applies to people who submitted a response prior to the closure. It’s simply asking respondents’ views of the survey method.
However, there will be further consultation, see the paragraph we have put in bold:

Hello,

Thank you for sharing your views on Climate Change and Behaviour Change with the Scottish Parliament via our online discussion site called Your Priorities.

We were delighted to receive your input on the behaviours we need to change now to help work towards a Net-Zero Scotland and your suggestions on what the Scottish Government should do to achieve this.   

A total of 393 participants took part and contributed 139 ideas, over 500 comments and nearly 9,000 ratings to help prioritise the ideas for behaviour change in the areas of travel, heating our buildings, generating electricity, food, and waste.

The Scottish Parliament is committed to involving people in its work and we would really appreciate if you could take 2 minutes to complete a short anonymous evaluation survey about your experience using our online engagement tool, Your Priorities.


You can complete this short survey via the following link: https://yourviews.parliament.scot/ceu/a6789f89

Your feedback will help us improve how we engage with the public in the future. The survey will close on Tuesday 12th May 2020.

In light of the COVID-19 emergency, the Scottish Government recently wrote to the Scottish Parliament to advise that the intended publication date for the Climate Change Plan update (30 April 2020) was no longer a practical option for a number of reasons, including the need to focus resources on the immediate response to the emergency.


The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee is liaising with the Scottish Government and will be considering how best to take forward scrutiny of the Climate Change Plan update. Your views are being collated and analysed and your engagement will help Scottish Parliamentary Committees scrutinise the updated Climate Change Plan. The Committees will provide an update on their scrutiny plans once further information on Scottish Government plans is available.

We will be in touch when the updated plan is published and provide information about how you can get further involved to support the work of the Scottish Parliament holding the government to account on this vital issue.

For more information on some of our Climate Change work please visit: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/102792.aspx

Thank you again for your participation and we look forward to receiving your feedback.

As soon as we hear, we will let you know.

3.2 Glasgow, Ibrox Stadium, Event Day Emergency Routes and Parking Zone

As we have previously reported proposals were issued in 2018 to limit parking around Ibrox. These proposals have been fiercely (and expensively) opposed by the Club and its supporters. Here’s the latest email we received on 17 April, which refers to the “pre-hearing meeting held on 11 March and here’s the attachment, the note of the Pre-Hearing Meeting, that came with it.

They are both quite long documents so only perhaps of limited interest. Let’s hope that the City Council does take action soon to make our streets available for cycling.

3.3 Glasgow, Celtic Park and Emirates Arena, Event Day Emergency Routes and Parking Zone


On the very same day, 17 April, we received almost identical documents relating to event day parking in the east of the city. Again, the proposals to control parking are opposed by the vested interests of football. Here’s the email and the note of the Pre-Hearing Meeting held on 10 March for your edification – if you are interested.

One disappointing thing to note is that for Celtic Park and the Emirates Arena there is no mention of the local City Councillors or the local Community Council having any involvement. Community Councils, as we have seen elsewhere in the city, can be a powerful force, as also can City Councillors. Two Councillors and a Community Council have taken an interest in events at Ibrox.

3.4 East Dunbartonshire Council: LDP Newsletter No.56



Here’s the latest newsletter, April 2020, which we received on 15 April. There’s a short update on the Proposed Local Development Plan 2 on page 2.

3.5 Glasgow, George Square Experimental Order

Back in Digest 56, dated 17 March, Item 1.4, we gave the details for the proposed reduction of motor traffic in George Square in Glasgow and on 24 March we submitted this response. While we support the proposals we did suggest that the Square, or the majority of it, remain traffic-free later than the 7pm cutoff proposed. This email, received on 14 April, but just missing the deadline for Digest 58, denies this improvement (which we had also suggested at the Stage One consultation).

THE GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL, (GEORGE SQUARE), EXPERIMENTAL ORDER 202_

Thank you for your correspondence dated 24th March to the above Order on behalf of Go Bike.

As explained in my previous email the operational time of the bus priority measures is to provide consistency with the bus gates recently implemented in the city for the benefit and clarity of all users.

Your support will be recorded and reported in the official report to inform the Order. I will advise you of the outcome when the Order is completed but this process may be longer than expected due to the Coronavirus impact.

Any of you currently visiting George Square will be able to enjoy the relative calm; let’s hope the changes are implemented soon, before the motor traffic returns to its previous level.

3.6 From University Avenue Glasgow to Princes Street Edinburgh

Last seen in February 2019 protecting the painted cycle lane on University Avenue, Autumn was photographed recently by her dad near their Edinburgh city centre home, cycling on the footway on Princes Street:

She’s still got the stabilisers but it’s hard to believe it’s a city centre: no taxis, no trams, no busses in sight. But now look what’s happened to University Avenue; GoBike member, Euan, recently submitted this photo:

A four-year old could cycle on the footway, so Autumn will be fine, with or without the stabilisers, but what about all the students, the shoppers, the workers and the visitors to the area? Where are they going to cycle on what was one of the first cycle routes in Glasgow, the Colleges Cycle Route, from the city centre out through the west end to the residential areas of Hyndland, Broomhill and Jordanhill?

It’s hard, but we will need to redouble our efforts in future campaigns and consultations to get active travel recognised. Otherwise it will be back to normal with cars everywhere and the air full of diesel and petrol fumes.

Do please support the Pedal on Parliament campaign to get short-term improvements. There are reports everywhere of increased numbers of people cycling and they need their space. Let’s hope there’s a positive outcome from the Community Councils event on Thursday (see Item 2.1)

More news in 2 weeks.