Glasgow’s Fastlink – why are there “cycle upgrades” off the route?

Fastlink in Glasgow is absolutely not what we were initially led to expect.  It wavers from side to side of the road, cycling is allowed in this bit but not that, there is no accommodation for people exiting the southbound Clyde Cycle Tunnel to get across to the new hospital and one could go on.  Now we are aware that “cycle upgrades” are being carried out – in the form of shared footways off the main, direct route!  There has been no consultation that we are aware of.  The drawings we have are here: P_5100-S_100_Govan Road_Festival Park GA P_5100-S_101_Summertown_Rd and the letter we have sent, to quite a few people since we were not sure of the person in charge of this work is here: GoBikeFastlinkImprovementConcernsLetter251017 For simplicity we repeat the content of the letter below:


George Gillespie, Executive Director of Land and

PO Box 15175, Glasgow, G4 9LP

Environmental Services, Glasgow City Council

cc: Andy Waddell, Head of Insfrastructure Services


cc: Andrew Brown, Cycling Group, LES


cc: Councillor Anna Richardson

cc: Councillor Martin Bartos, SPT


cc: Councillor Allan Young

cc: Councillor Richard Bell

25 October 2017

cc: Councillor John Kane

cc: Councillor Stephen Dornan


All by e-mail

Dear Mr Gillespie,

Fastlink Core Routes – Cycle Upgrades

You have, we understand, issued a series of drawings this year with the heading “Fastlink Core Routes – Cycle Upgrades and we have been given copies of 2 of these drawings, for Govan Road and for Summertown Road. We are also given to understand that this work is being funded by Strathclyde Passenger Transport.

Your acknowledgement that Fastlink causes problems for people who cycle and that upgrades are necessary is most welcome but these plans (Drawing Nos: PROJECTS/325100/13 and PROJECTS325100/100) show none of the expertise demonstrated in the South West City Way and the proposals for South City Way. Nor do they address, unless this is addressed on the drawings to which we are not party, the critical concerns for people cycling, ie the catastrophic failure to provide access from the southbound Clyde Cycle Tunnel across the Fastlink route to the hospital complex and the varying regime of cycle access to the Fastlink lanes along the route. Neither has there been any consultation.

Problems with these plans are detailed on the attached sheets.

The purpose of this letter is to ask the council to:

1. Immediately pause the work (which has started, but with the part addressing traffic issues outside Lorne Street School) so that the design decisions can be reviewed for effectiveness and value for money.

1. Ensure that all future work nominally to improve conditions for people who cycle or who would like to cycle is subject to a value-for-money test against a range of competing projects, is probed for weaknesses by consultation among potential users, and aims to meet the highest design standards.

2. Agree that the cost of the current work (if continued) is not included at any time when spending on cycle infrastructure is publicised.

Glasgow’s Strategic Plan for Cycling 2016-2015 claims a cycle network length of 310km at the start of the period. It notes as an opportunity the reallocation of road (not pavement) space. It aims to increase the network length by just 90km in the ten years of the plan. It will be failing if this modest addition includes these lengths of shared pavement and painted advisory cycle lanes in places where there is little if any need.

We in GoBike would be very pleased to discuss these proposals and what is needed to ensure a good cycling environment in this area with you and/or the relevant staff, but please acknowledge the receipt of this letter by return, provide a substantive response to Point (1) within one week, and to Points (2) and (3) within a month.

Yours sincerely

Tricia Fort

Convenor, GoBike!


Fastlink Core Paths – Cycle Upgrades

Drawing Nos: PROJECTS/325100/13 (Summertown Road) and PROJECTS325100/100 (Govan Road and Festival Park)

1. General Issues

1.1 The Fastlink design is intrinsically confusing for all road users, with any number of wheels, or none.

1.2 Cycling is allowed on part of the Fastlink carriageway. The simplest, clearest, lowest cost way of improving conditions for cycling on the route is to allow it on all sections of the Fastlink carriageway.

1.3 There has been no consultation on the need for or design of the planned changes.. The Summertown Road plan is dated May 2017, the Govan Road one September 2017. Work started in October 2017 with only temporary TRO notices prohibiting parking posted the day the work started publicising that anything would be changing.

1.4 The plans quote Cycling Scotland’s Fact Sheet 01/07 but ignore Fact sheet 04/09 “Cycle Infrastructure Design Hierarchy of Provision”. This Fact Sheet calls for traffic reduction, calming the remaining traffic, junction treatment and redistribution of the carriageway space all to be considered before shared footways or segregated facilities are considered.

1.5 Failure to address the most obvious problems caused by Fastlink which are:

  • Reaching the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital from the Clyde tunnel

  • Hazardous conditions for cyclists starting up the southbound slope of Finnieston bridge,

  • No quiet link between the Langlands Road cycleway and the quiet back street network leading to/from where Broomloan Road/Orkney St join Govan Rd.

1.6 The ‘improvements’ provided by the plans mainly depend on shared pavements. Shared pavements are disliked by people who cycle – they are interrupted by side roads and other access points, joining and leaving them is usually cumbersome and pedestrians are often not aware that cycling is legal on them. They encourage uninformed cycle users to treat pavement cycling as normal. They are disliked by pedestrians and generate misunderstandings and conflicts between users on foot and on wheels. They encourage the belief among drivers that bicycles are toys with no place on the roads.

2. Specific problems with Govan Rd / Festival Park plans

2.1 The map used is out of date; it does not show the new entrance to Festival Park on the long arm of Govan Road.

2.2 The Fastlink carriageway alongside the planned shared pavement on Pacific Drive is so sparsely used that signs are needed reminding people to check for vehicles before crossing. Creating a shared pavement is unnecessary.

2.3 The planned shared pavement on Pacific Drive is not very wide and takes cycles through bus shelters

2.4 A problem caused by Fastlink does exist within the zone covered by the Govan Road plan. It is the multi-stage caged crossing and narrow shared pavement currently used by NCN7/75 at the eastern junction of Pacific Drive with Govan Road. The solution offered by the plans is far below the highest standard of cycle infrastructure. It depends on another shared pavement (including passing through a bus shelter area), another two-stage caged crossing which is offset from the onward roubte and requires an awkward turn on the northern pavement round the railing and a pole.

2.5 The plan ignores the access road to the west and south of the Village hotel which needs just a dropped kerb at its Govan Road end to form a better alternative.

2.6 The plan shows no thought for the cohesiveness of the whole scheme. It creates a shared pavement circuit round the outside of Festival Park with different arrangements on the three sections – narrow shared pavement, widened shared pavement, segregated shared pavement.

2.7 The north-south arm of Govan Road with its newly designated shared pavement carries little traffic as the northern section is prohibited to everything except buses and taxis (and there are no buses). A shared pavement provides no benefit.

2.8 There is no reason to spend money on widening the pavement on the long Govan Road side of Festival Park in order to designate it as shared – people will not divert round two sides of a triangle to use a shared pavement. The road is generally quiet, and intended as part of a 20mph zone with speed cushions.

2.9 The Lorne Street and Brand Street parts of the plan appear to be addressing traffic and parking problems created by Lorne Street School rather than making cycling related improvements.

2.10 The kerb build-outs in Lorne Street create a pinch point – a hazard for cyclists whatever white paint there may be on the road surface.

2.11 The plan quotes Cycling Scotland’s Fact Sheet 01/07 Cycle Logo-only while ignoring the fact sheet’s guidance that the cycle logo is intended to be on the centre of the road surface, to“raise motorist’s awareness of cyclists, encouraging them to give cyclists space”. Their use inside painted cycle lanes will tend to encourage the belief of some drivers that cyclists must stay in the marked lane.

2.12 The hatched buffer zones on Lorne Street and Harvie Street are less than a quarter the width of the 4m of widened pavement beside Festival Park.. Cycling by Design (version currently being revised) recommends a buffer zone width of 1 metre if cyclists are to avoid being doored.

2.13 Painted advisory cycle lanes are a waste of money. They will be parked over.

2.14 A marked cycle lane on the left of the one-way Lorne Street will cause conflict between drivers and cyclists who want to turn right at Paisley Road West. If the changes to Lorne Street are needed because of the school traffic a better solution for cycling would be to use the Fact Sheet 01/07 cycle logo in the centre of the carriageway. The same applies on Harvie Street.

2.15.Shared pavement on Harvie St north of Brand Street requires a pointless diversion for people headed between Bells Bridge and Brand Street (i.e. most people) and will not be used.

2.16.The zebra crossing west of Harvie Street is a diversion for pedestrians on the most used (north-south) route: cyclists will not want to divert and dismount to use a zebra crossing legally.

2.17The signs indicating shared use are on posts which themselves reduce the available width.

3. Specific problems with the Summertown Road plans

3.1 The route is a poor option for west-to-east through travel as it requires two right turns. Few of those who use the main road route will be drawn by shared pavements to divert along Summertown Road in either direction.

3.2 The proposed shared pavement is of variable width, is broken by side turnings, changes sides, and is obstructed by street furniture including a post box, cycle stands, bus stops, and the posts carrying the shared use signs. Some of these new signs are placed where the space is already reduced by existing street furniture or bus shelters. All of these things will incline cyclists to use the road instead – but this will now be narrower than it was.

3.3 The problematic junction with Copland Road would be better addressed by making Copland Road the minor road, or with a mini-roundabout.

3.4 The plan appears incomplete at the western end.