Petition to keep active travel routes open during COP26

GoBike have launched a petition to keep active travel routes open, safe, traffic free and direct during COP26.

COP26 – the United Nations Climate ‘Conference of the Parties’ – is coming to Glasgow in November 2021. The eyes of the world will be on our city and we have a key opportunity during the conference to demonstrate that active travel – walking, wheeling and cycling, for commuters, key workers, shoppers, and everyone getting around our city under their own steam – is a large part of the solution to the climate crisis we face.

Transport is now the UK’s biggest contributor to climate change (1). Research has shown that people who switch just one trip per day from car driving to cycling reduce their carbon footprint by about 0.5 tonnes over one year. Nearly half (47.9%) of all journeys by car in Scotland are less than 1.86 miles (2). Essentially, cycling journeys of 1.5 miles help keep global warming below 1.5 C.

Glasgow City Council have confirmed that Glasgow’s key east-west active travel corridor – the National Cycle Network 7/75 – will be closed during COP from the Clyde Arc (Squinty Bridge) to Partick. They have also stated that progress to the Avenues active travel corridor will cease during the conference. In a climate emergency during a climate conference this is simply unacceptable. 

Glasgow City Council’s own data (3) shows that thousands of people cycle along the Broomielaw every day. The east-west link is also an essential link for people walking and wheeling. Without a safe alternative during COP and particularly with the influx of visitors to the conference considered, public transport will become overwhelmed and our roads will become even more gridlocked and ironically, polluted. Not only will residents of the city continue to require safe active travel routes during the conference, but the large number of delegates and protestors visiting the city will need to be encouraged to safely use sustainable transport to move around the city during COP.

GoBike are calling for Glasgow City Council to: 

  • ensure that safe active travel routes, suitable for all ages and abilities and accessible for all, remain open during COP
  • ensure that active travel is made a priority around the security cordon and that diversions are safe, direct, traffic free, clearly signposted and that closures are advertised to users in advance
  • ensure that active travel diversion plans are proactively consulted on with local cycle campaign groups ahead of their public announcement 
  • accelerate implementation of a linked up active travel network in the lead up to COP (and beyond)
  • maintain the momentum gained with the Spaces for People program and work to improve and make permanent the temporary measures in place

This is a climate emergency. Glasgow City Council need to back up their rhetoric that Glasgow is a sustainable city with strong decisions in the face of opposition, and action on the ground. They must work harder to bring our embarrassingly poor active travel provision into a state where everyone will have the option to choose to travel directly and safely in a sustainable way around our city.

Join GoBike and sign the petition to ensure that Active Travel routes remain open during COP26.