Like many local authorities, East Renfrewshire has been giving some thought to transport and travel in the post-Covid world, and has received an initial £100,000 of Spaces for People Funding for safer walking, cycling, and wheeling.
This is a huge opportunity. In the past, many parts of East Ren have often felt like a hostile and dangerous place for people on bikes – yet the sheer number and diversity of people seen out enjoying walking and cycling during lockdown have shown just how much of a difference safer, low-traffic spaces can make. Almost 100,000 people live in the East Ren council area and with reduced capacity on public transport likely for the foreseeable future, safe routes for active travel are critical to avoid further locking in car-dependency.
So what’s on the cards?
East Renfrewshire have recently released their Transport Response to Covid-19 for community feedback: read on for more details for each area. There are a number of plans for specific areas for the short to medium term, plus some general measures for the longer term like Neighbourhood Zones and School Streets.
As always, the proof is in the pudding and the devil is in the…implementation – but these are really promising proposals. The change can be a hard sell for local politicians, especially since support is often less vocal than resistance – so if you like what you see, please let East Renfrewshire council and your local councillors know!
If you live, work, or travel in East Renfrewshire, please consider:
- Adding your feedback on the proposals via the community map here,
- Suggesting other specific routes here,
- Contacting your local councillor here – https://www.writetothem.com/.
In Giffnock, Phase 1 measures include widening pavements at key pinch points on Fenwick Road to allow for better physical distancing, as well as a stretch of ‘pop-up’ cycle lane further south between the train station and Eastwood Park. This is a really exciting development as it’s a key commuter route as well as linking up community facilities like the school, park, leisure centre and library…but in phase 2, it gets even better!
A proposed ‘strategic cycle corridor 2’ would link Newton Mearns to Giffnock by:
- Reallocating road space (and converting some existing painted lanes) to a light segregation cycleway – that is, one separated from traffic by the use of batons or small humps like these,
- Reducing speed on Ayr Road from 40mph to 30mph.
….whilst maintaining bus access and liaising with Glasgow City Council about cross-boundary links.
A further stretch of light segregation cycleway – strategic cycle corridor 4 – would link Eastwood Toll to Spiersbridge Roundabout, connecting more communities and enabling safe access to Rouken Glen Park for people on bikes. Just off this, Davieland Road is proposed to change to one-way, to prevent rat running and excessive speeding. This includes a light segregated cycle way which, with the space gained from redetermining this to one way, we would encourage planners to be unidirectional on both sides of the road, safely buffered from the park parking bays, and out of the current extremely poorly surfaced painted cycle lane.
These corridors would be a fantastic community resource to enable many more people to choose cycling for everyday journeys, and to allow the amazing increase in leisure cycling seen during lockdown to continue (see graph below).
Netherlee & Clarkston
Netherlee and Clarkston have to wait til Phase 2 but they also get a Strategic Cycle Corridor of their own, this time between Clarkston Toll and the entrance to Linn Park. This is a very welcome development, especially given the connections it will create to the local primary school – but we can’t help but wish it was more than 1 mile long (an average of 5 minutes on a bike).
In particular, there’s a real need to continue the corridor onwards towards Cathcart, Shawlands, and the city centre if more people are going to be able to choose bikes over cars for commuting, shopping, and socialising.
Also, the stretch near the entrance Linn Park where this cycleway is currently planned to end has a solid island median in the middle of the road that encourages close passing or tailgating of people cycling – we would encourage planners to extend the segregation through this section in order to prevent this.
A number of measures are proposed in and around Thornliebank, with phase one seeing on-street parking reallocated on Main St to provide space for social distancing for those accessing shops and services.
Measures in Phase 2 focus on the roads around Spiersbridge roundabout, next to Rouken Glen Park. As well as the proposed strategic cycle route along Spiersbridge Road (covered above in Giffnock section), there are proposals to close Rouken Glen Rd to through vehicular traffic.
This route predominantly functions as a shortcut (aka rat run) for vehicles avoiding Spiersbridge roundabout. This is a welcome proposal for anyone who has had to negotiate Spiersbridge roundabout on a bicycle, or indeed tried to cross the two lane carriageway on foot or wheeling. This will also provide a direct link to the proposed strategic cycle corridor along Spiersbridge Road to Eastwood Toll, ultimately linking up to the route on the A77 Fenwick Road.
There are limited details on measures being rolled out in Thornliebank from Phase 3 onwards. We would encourage planners to consider a strategic active travel corridor along the B769- potentially linking Dams to Darnley country park, Rouken Glen Park and Pollok Park together, and linking up to other active travel routes.
Barrhead & Neilston
The Main Street in Barrhead has promising proposals to reallocate on-street parking bays to make space for a segregated cycle lane. The plans show this stretching from Dovecothall Roundabout to Allan’s Corner.
This section of the town currently has an abundance of carparks a few steps from the main road that make this a really viable possibility. Traffic doesn’t flow well here at the moment due to cars pulling in and out of on-street parking, and reallocating on-street parking to an active travel corridor would not only help the traffic flow more easily, but would make the town safer and more attractive for people travelling to and through it on bikes.
A partially traffic free link is proposed with a full road closure that could link Barrhead to Neilston via a backroad. The full closure is proposed for Springfield Road between the ‘Five Ways Junction’ at Springfield Road and Kirktonfield Crescent.
While we would prefer direct arterial routes that are more likely to increase modal share in cycling uptake, this proposal could bridge a gap that would open up access between the towns as well as Dams to Darnley Country Park for some people.
A number of other short road closures to improve pedestrian safety are also proposed for Barrhead within phase two, which are worth commenting on if it’s an area you know.
Looking further ahead…
Looking further ahead, the plan also mentions some exciting options in phase 3, including:
- Neighbourhood Zones (reducing traffic in residential streets by reducing through routes whilst maintaining local access)
- School Zones (limiting traffic around schools at key times to ensure child safety and a more pleasant environment)
- a truly connected active travel network…we can but dream!
Get commenting, tweeting, and speaking to your elected members, to show your support for a safer, healthier, greener post-Covid future in East Renfrewshire…and consider joining GoBike to support safer streets as our new normal.