On the evening of Thursday 05 October, GoBike members Tricia Fort, Johnston Orr and Andy Winter met Labour Councillor Martin Rhodes and SNP Councillor Kenny McLean who represent Ward 23 Partick East / Kelvindale on the City Council to look at cycling conditions in part of their ward. Neither Martin nor Kenny cycles, but neither do they drive; they both walk or use public transport. We are grateful to them both for the time they took to walk round Hyndland and Dowanhill with us and here is a summary of the issues we discussed:
- Pedestrian/cycle crossing from Leicester Avenue across Great Western Road towards Gartnavel: We didn’t visit this but after the report on our website from the cycle tour of 23 September with Councillor Tony Curtis, one of our members who lives in Kelvindale commented “it takes FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES to cross over GWR to the restaurant if you use the toucan.” Andy confirmed this from the visits he has made to the sports ground there with his children. This is not conducive to active travel.
- Great Western Road: there is no cycle infrastructure on this road, apart from Advance Stop Lines (into which motor vehicles encroach, as we saw) and the part-time bus lanes that give some protection. This is a busy main road into town with fast traffic and deserves segregated cycle lanes to protect the people who already cycle on it and to encourage others to cycle.
- Great Western Road alternative: from Byres Road to Gartnavel there is the potential to create a quiet way along the terraces. This could then link into Shelley Road, and while this would not be suitable for people going right into town, it would encourage many to cycle in the local area.
- Cross roads, Great Western Road/Hyndland Road/Cleveden Road: at 6:30 in the evening this was a busy junction, with a lot of potentially dangerous driving practices. We saw motorists going through the lights when they had changed back to red, many vehicles on Hyndland Road using the left-turning lane to go straight on to avoid the queue of vehicles waiting to turn right into Great Western Road, vehicles were stopped in the Cycle Advance Stop Line and many appeared to be exceeding the speed limit. Despite all this, we saw a significant number of people on bikes, but, as Andy said, it is not a route suitable for children to cycle from Dowanhill and Hyndland through to Cleveden School. A simple solution at the traffic lights might be to ban the right turn from Hyndland Road onto Great Western Road, but this might push the problem elsewhere. Creating a cycle-friendly junction here would encourage more adults and children to cycle here, and should reduce motor traffic.
- Hyndland Road: cars parked on both sides, on a road that deserves a segregated cycle route to give access to the local sports facilities, schools and Glasgow University.
- Hughenden Lane: this provides a good route through to Gartnavel, but is currently over-parked. Parking controls are needed to allow access for residents and bikes. A left turn allows access through the new flats to Lauderdale Gardens and then to Clarence Drive and we saw several people using this route. Just a bit of work is needed to widen the ramped exit from the carpark at the back of the flats and parking needs to be controlled to free up the dropped kerb into Lauderdale Gardens to improve permeability for active travel.
- Clarence Drive: cars parked on the cycle lanes and on the footway, see the photo above. Parking restrictions are needed as is segregation of the cycle route.
- Hyndland Road, outside the shops: no cycle lane at all, but there are cycle stands and the wide footway improves the ambience of the area.
- Hyndland Road, at the end of the row of shops: the footway has been built out, apparently to provide two parking places outside the shops, but this is where the cycle lane starts again – on the bend, with the danger of cars etc cutting in.
- Highburgh Road: the parking bays are narrow, with many vehicles part, or fully on, the too narrow (only 0.5m) door opening zone and the cycle lane is minimum width too, meaning that the safe place to cycle is out in the vehicle lane. This narrowness is exacerbated by the two disabled parking bays that have been painted in; there is no door opening zone here at all! See the photos below. Parking, at most, should be on one side only, to allow the construction of a cycle lane suitable for all the people, young and old, in the area to use.
- Highburgh Road/Dowanhill Street junction: Dowanhill Street is stopped off at the south side of Highburgh Road but the crossing over Highburgh Road allows access for bikes travelling along the street, giving access to the school and a quieter route to Dumbarton Road than Hyndland Road. However, north of Highburgh Road, Dowanhill Street has recently been made one-way, southbound, thus preventing someone from cycling northbound, unless on the footway! This is despite there still being a cycle route sign at the location and, more pertinently, despite the statement in Glasgow City Council’s design document “Cycling by Design” in 5.1.5: “Contra-flow Cycle Lanes. The default position should be to permit two-way cycling on one-way streets.” We discussed this at length, and compared this area with the proposals for the Woodside mini-Holland, where permeability, ie through access, for bikes is being encouraged, whereas in Dowanhill it is being prevented. It is little surprise that one scheme has been produced by the parking section in Land and Environment Services and one by the cycle section. The alternative route for Andy, or his children, is to cycle up Dowanhill Street, turn left onto Highburgh Road and then do a right turn, on a bend, into Crown Road South – not an attractive prospect.
- Byres Road: heavily parked on both sides, even though studies show that most people arrive here by foot, bike, subway or bus, this busy road with many shops, pubs and restaurants has a high accident rate. We need active travel input to the current consultations. Here’s the link to a GoBike supported group event on 22 October: https://space4peoplebyresroad.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/ride-for-a-better-byres-road/
- Dowanside Road: under the Dowanhill parking controls this has been made one way and yet, even with cars parked both sides, there is plenty of room for contraflow cycling, see the photograph below. We have contraflow cycling in other parts of the city, the nearest to here being Dalnair Street from Old Dumbarton Road to Yorkhill Hospital. We need more.
- Beith Street: we didn’t walk this far but, with all the student accommodation here, it needs cycle lanes.
The main points from this tour are that, while we need good quality segregated cycle lanes on our main roads, we need the access and the permeability in our local areas for people to get out and about in their neighbourhood and to reach the main roads that will take them to school, to work, the shops or the art gallery etc.