You may remember that on 15 April GoBike wrote to Glasgow City Council, to ask for updates on items discussed at the Glasgow Cycling Forum. The letter was addressed to Councillor Martin McElroy, who now chairs the Forum and to Andy Waddell, Head of Infrastructure Services. After a gentle reminder we received a reply on 26 June. Below we reproduce the letter in sections in normal print, with the GCC response in italics followed by a GoBike comment in bold. You may draw your own conclusions as to the adequacy of the responses!
Glasgow’s Strategic Plan for Cycling
The Strategic Plan for Cycling was launched in a blaze of publicity earlier this year. We are very supportive of the measures contained in the document and thus we would be very pleased if you can now confirm that all staff in the Council who deal with changes to the city’s roads and infrastructure have been fully briefed on the document and its contents and have immediate access to a copy. We suggest that this will be staff in Land & Environmental Services, Development & Regeneration Services and Planning. We look forward to seeing all future TROs and city changes fully in compliance with this document.
I note your support of our Strategic Plan for Cycling 2016 – 2025 and would like to thank you for your valuable input during its development. I can confirm that an officer working group was established, comprising representatives of all the relevant Council services, to support development of the Strategic Plan. The good news of the Strategic Plan’s approval by the Executive Committee was circulated immediately to the working group for further circulation within services along with an approved version of the Strategic Plan. In addition, a link to the Strategic Plan has been included on the Council’s website cycling pages, entitled ‘Cycling Policy’, visit www.glasgow.gov.uk/cycling. The Council’s own staff can access this link as well as the public.
Being available is not the same as having been briefed (verbally) to staff but GoBike will expect the council’s policy to reflect the ambition of the Strategic Plan.
20mph in the City Centre
Could you please confirm the date of implementation of this speed limit in the city centre? We now see signage but little evidence of reduced speeds or enforcement. We have been vocal in our support of 20mph speed limits and wish to see the improvement in our city environment brought about by calmer motor traffic.
The 20mph zone within the city centre came into operation on 21st March 2016. Speed surveys have recently been undertaken to assess its initial effectiveness and the results from these will be utilised to ascertain whether further signage etc is required. Close liaison with the Police, who are responsible for enforcement, took place throughout the development and implementation of the scheme.
This is good to know but experience in the city centre does not demonstrate compliance with the 20mph limit.
Bus Lane operation
In November 2014 we responded to consultation on the hours of operation for bus lanes and we understood that this was to be set city-wide as 07:00 – 19:00. However, a phone call followed by the requested e-mail to a member of your staff has failed to elicit a response as to the council decision. Signage in the city, some of which looks new, still shows what seem to be the 3 options, ie rush hour only, 12 hour and 24 hour operation. Please will you confirm the current position?
The recommendation from the bus lane review is to standardise the times of operation for 24 hour bus lanes outside the City Centre to 7am to 7pm. It will not affect those lanes/gates that are provided for traffic management reasons and Fastlink is also out of scope. The changes will require amendments to the Traffic Regulation Orders and this will be subject to the usual consultation procedures. It will therefore be around 8 months to a year before the changes can be implemented.
This standardisation appears not to be a priority; over 2 years from consultation to implementation.
Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs)
It has been agreed at the Glasgow Cycling Forum that when the painted road markings at traffic light junctions are installed or renewed ASLs will be included as standard practice. This now seems not to be the case and we are left with a random arrangement of some junctions with ASLs and some without. Could you please confim that the policy is still active and give your estimate for when all eligible junctions will be fitted with ASLs?
I can confirm that it is Council policy to introduce Advanced Stop Lines for cyclists wherever feasible where a junction is being refurbished. The timescale for implementation will depend on the funding available.
This policy does not suit everyone but it does give visibility to the cyclist’s right to be on the road. However, there is no budget, no timescale and there will, it seems, be no consistency in their line of route installation.
Fastlink on the Broomielaw
One of our members has, earlier this week, submitted proposals for the upgrading of cycle facilities on the Broomielaw, which we very much support. The reasoning behind this is that the pedestrian area next to the water is at times very busy with pedestrians, which is very welcome, but the Fastlink bus lanes are regularly empty, with very few buses travelling along them. Our analysis of the available data shows that the Broomielaw is one of the most heavily cycled routes in the city. Yet, as you will be aware, cycle facilities here, particularly around the Casino, are below the desirable minima set out in Cycling by Design, the Council’s chosen design guide (as per the current Strategic Plan for Cycling)
The proposal is for the bus lane closest to the river to be converted to a two-way cycle lane, the remaining bus lane to be used by buses travelling east to west and the buses travelling east to remain on the northernmost road lane all the way from the Clyde Arc Bridge to Oswald Street.
This will reduce the potential for collisions at the blind corner of the Clyde Port Authority car park, minimise conflict between people walking and people cycling on the pedestrian area and encourage more people to cycle, thus enhancing the image of Glasgow as a Cycling City.
The Council has previously considered options for improving National Cycle Route 75 at the Casino. One option was the replacement of the steps next to Glasgow Bridge with a ramp, Unfortunately, although this seems to offer the best solution for all path users, not just cyclists, the cost of this provision was prohibitive at the time, however other funding options are now being investigated. An alternative option would be to rearrange and widen the ramp at the side of the Casino. Your suggestion with regard to Fastlink is noted.
A question avoided! We did not ask about the steps – how can it be a cycle route with steps? We asked about the empty bus lanes and the busy waterfront area.
The Glasgow Cycling Forum meets next in August. We will take forward these, and similar, issues.