It’s time for ACTION on University Avenue

** Sign and share our petition. **

It’s crunch time for University Avenue, and we would like to ask for your help. Current plans for the redesign of this key arterial street do not include protected space for cycling and we simply cannot allow for the plans to go through unresisted. It would be a tragedy for the future of a safe linked up network of direct cycling routes in our city if University Avenue does not make space for protected cycling – for the staff and students who travel to the University, for the commuters who use the direct route to pass through, for parents taking their children to school or to the park, and for everyone who would like to chose to cycle but won’t, because sharing road space with heavier and faster moving vehicles stops them.

We have been asking both Glasgow City Council and the University of Glasgow over the last six months to alter plans to include segregated cycle lanes. We have been met with stubborn resistance from both, with repeated assertions that painted lines on the road will make things “safer for cycling” and even stating that paint is segregation. If you’ve not been following the story, we’ve been keeping developments updated on our website here.

** Sign and share our petition. **

With the release of the TRO’s for the changes to the road, we now have an opportunity to have our objections heard.

You can help in three ways.

1. Object to the TRO. We will detail our objections below and you’d be welcome to use any of those grounds in your own objection. You can email your letter of objection to Andy Waddell at Glasgow City Council here or send it by post to Andy Waddell, Director of Operations, Neighbourhoods and Sustainability, Exchange House, 231 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1RX. The deadline for objections is Friday 7 June 2019 and please note that you are asked to include your name and address.

2. Add your name to our petition.

3. Share this request for help with your friends and local organisations who support active travel and wish for a cleaner, healthier environment in the face of climate change.

A TRO is a Temporary Traffic Order, which changes the legal status of speed, parking, loading, and crucially, cycle lanes, within a road. As we know, the consultations on the designs around the University of Glasgow campus redevelopment had failed to detail the design for cycling on University Avenue itself, or to actively include active travel organisations within their consultations. But with the TRO, we now have an opportunity to object to the plans, while keeping our objection related to the points laid out. The more of us who object, the harder it will be for Glasgow City Council to overrule the objections.

Both TRO’s can be found here. We will be writing to support the change of the speed limit to 20mph, but will be objecting to the second TRO named ((UNIVERSITY AVENUE AND UNIVERSITY PLACE) (TRAFFIC REGULATION AND PARKING CONTROLS) ORDER 201_). We’ve uploaded the four relevant documents for you here – draft report / plan / advert / statement of reasons. The proposed restrictions are:

  • No Waiting No Loading / Unloading at any time on University Avenue and University Place (as per drawing 5230-001)  
  • Prohibition of driving in a with-flow cycle lane on University Avenue (as per drawing 5230-001)  
  • Disabled vehicle parking places for disabled badge holders only on University Place (as per drawing 5230-001)  
  • Car Club vehicle parking place for car club vehicles only on University Place (as per drawing 5230- 001)  
  • Electric Vehicle parking places for electric vehicles only on University Place (as per drawing 5230

While on the face of it changing the status of the cycle lanes from advisory to mandatory (meaning that legally, traffic “cannot drive” in the lanes) might appear to be an improvement, we simply don’t believe that this will change anything. We know that University Avenue is already dangerous, and painted lanes have been proven to make dangerous close passes more likely. We have shown that the current double yellow and advisory status of the lanes does nothing to stop people dropping off, loading, or even parking in the cycle lanes. We are repeatedly told by Glasgow City Council that resources are too scarce for effective traffic enforcement elsewhere in the city so the minor legal status change here will change nothing in the real world.

So we are going to object to the TRO on the following grounds:

  • The painted cycle lanes are dangerous.

Painted cycle lanes are dangerous for people cycling on University Avenue. Research has shown that painted cycle lanes legitimise dangerous close passes of people cycling, this situation being made worse by the minimal cycle lane width adopted within the plans. Research published in the Accident Analysis and Prevention journal shows that marked on-road cycle lanes and parked cars reduce the distance that motorists provide when passing cyclists. In situations where the cyclist is in a painted cycle lane, the motorist has a clear lane ahead and not use the safe overtaking manoeuvre that requires crossing the central reservation. As a result there is less of a conscious requirement for drivers to provide additional passing distance. Physical protection is required for people cycling, the full length of University Avenue, on both sides of the road.

  • The design of the painted cycle lanes within the TRO makes cycling even more dangerous.

The design of the painted cycle lanes within the TRO, which disappear at bus stops, crossings, and at the tops of the hill, put people cycling in even greater danger. No provision has been made at these points for the safe continued passage of people on bikes, who will be forced into the stream of moving motorised traffic. Continuous physical protection is required for people cycling, the full length of University Avenue, on both sides of the road.

  • Painted cycle lanes on University Avenue do not prevent waiting, loading or parking.

Painted cycle lanes will fail to address well documented issues with stopping and parking within cycle lanes on University Avenue, due to lack of resources for parking enforcement cited regularly from Glasgow City Council. This will continue to put people cycling in danger, who will be expected to weave in and out of traffic streams to avoid stopped vehicles. Segregated cycle lanes on both sides of the road would prevent illegal parking without the need for enforcement.

  • The plans are in contravention of the Transport Hierarchy.

Painted cycle lanes within a redevelopment of a road as proposed for University Avenue directly contravenes the Sustainable Travel Hierarchy (National Transport Strategy 2016 pg 26) recognised by Glasgow City Council, by failing to provide safe space within the road environment for people cycling. Within these plans, people on bikes are expected to share the carriageway with no physical protection from motor vehicles. Painted cycle lanes are proposed for only half of the road, and the 1.5m width of the cycle lane is below the 2m desirable width stated within the design recommendations of Cycling by Design (pg 51). To provide a safe environment for anyone who wishes to cycle, physical protection is required for people cycling on both sides of the road along the full length of University Avenue.

  • The plans fail to recognise Climate Change Emergency status.

The TRO fails to recognise the Climate Change Emergency status declared by University of Glasgow and recognised by Glasgow City Council, with the creation of the Climate Emergency Working Group. Glasgow City Council have refused to discourage current volumes of motor traffic to make space for protected cycling and improve air quality on the street. GoBike have shown that making the street one-way for motor vehicles would allow for protected space for cycling on both sides of the road as well as an improved pedestrian environment.

  • The plans fail to recognise the Colleges Cycling Route status of University Avenue.

The TRO fails to recognise the Colleges Cycling Route status of University Avenue by neglecting to provide safe physical protection for people cycling on both sides of the road. To provide a safe environment for anyone who wishes to cycle, physical protection is required for people cycling on both sides of the road along the full length of University Avenue.

  • The plans fail to recognise recommendations made within the Connectivity Commission Report.

The TRO fails to recognise recommendations made within the Connectivity Commission Report which mandates for ‘the completion of a network of safe, high quality, segregated cycling arterial routes connecting the city centre to suburbs and peripheral neighbourhoods’. University Avenue is a direct arterial route used by people commuting into the city centre as well as by staff and students travelling to the university campus. While secondary routes through the campus may be being considered, provision for safe cycling needs to be primarily on direct routes. To uphold the report recommendations, this section requires segregation on both sides for cycling.

  • Double yellow lines with kerb marked lines are not legally compatible with mandatory cycle lanes.

The TRO stipulation ‘No Waiting No Loading / Unloading’, as mandated by the double yellow and kerb marked lines marked on drawing 5230-001, is not compatible with the mandatory cycle lanes also marked on the drawing. Double yellow lines allow for dropping off (‘you may stop while passengers board or alight’ Highway Code Rule 238 – Road Markings), which is contrary to rules for solid white line marked cycle lanes which mandate that ‘you MUST NOT DRIVE’ (Highway Code Rule 140). Double red lines should be used instead, which mandate ‘no stopping at any time’ (Highway Code Rule 238 – Road Markings).

  • The TRO drawing is inconsistent with other approved planning drawings.

The TRO drawing 5230-001 is inconsistent with approved planning drawings relating to work currently underway at the University of Glasgow’s Learning and Teaching Hub site, ref 16/01467/DC. Drawing LTH-HLM-00-00-DR-A-5002 shows a disabled drop-off lay-by that has not been reflected in the TRO drawing 5230-001. This is also referenced within the Supporting Planning Statement which state that “A vehicle drop off facility will also be provided on University Avenue”. Should this approved lay-by be implemented, the TRO proposals would cause safety issues whether it’s access traverses the bus stop, or it encourages driving across the ‘do not drive’ mandatory cycle lane. If the lay-by is not being implemented, the discrepancy across the drawings makes it impossible to fully assess the safety implications of the TRO and therefore we must also object on this grounds.

If you can help by objecting to this TRO, signing our petition, and sharing our request we’d be so grateful. Here’s hoping for a safer University Avenue.