Good news: Glasgow City Council is looking to reduce traffic on Oswald Street and Union Street (pictured left) in an attempt to cut emissions. Not so good news is that no cycle lanes are proposed but see more detail in item 1.5. Excellent news: consultation is underway on improving walking and cycling on the “Underline”, (see Item 1.3) but bad news is that there is still no word on the status of contraflow for Elmbank Street to allow northbound cycle access to Sauchiehall Street (see Item 3.1 for this). We have lots more for you in this issue so do please read on. Continue reading “Consultation Digest Issue 22, 20 November 2018: A bumper bundle of new consultations.”
Many thanks to Iona for keeping you up-to-date so well while I was off on a big tour of Kenya – four weeks without getting on a bike – and what news there was. A massive rethink on Byres Road! Didn’t we all do well! That’s the power of lots of us letting people know our views, so please keep writing and answering those surveys. Let’s hope Byres Road does become as peaceful as this earlier publicity picture suggests, but with those all important segregated cycle lanes.
On Saturday 11th November 2017, GoBike members Bob Downie and Andy Winter, and Rumina Kakati (who leads rides enjoyed by new, nervous and lapsed cyclists) met with Allan Young, the Green councillor for Govan ward, to go on a tour of some of the cycle facilities in the ward. Committee member Brenda Lillicrap organised the ride but was prevented from doing all but the start of the tour by a puncture. We were delighted that Allan was available to come out with us and hope that the other three ward councillors will be able to come for a similar tour in future. The invitation remains open . Our route took us out and back from Cessnock subway station, past Bell’s Bridge, the Science Centre, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Govan centre, all the while critiquing the cycle facilities we saw and used, good and bad.
Our start was in Walmer Crescent, a short one-way street with slow traffic, no junctions, and a sharp corner at both ends – ideal for the council’s declared default of permitting contraflow cycling on one-way streets. Not yet though.
Picture 1, shown above: Start – Govan Ward 5 Tour 11/11/17, Rumina Kakati, Allan Young, Andy Winter and Bob Downie at Cessnock Station
Picture 2Map Route taken on Govan Ward 5 tour 11/11/17. Numbered points refer to photograph locations below
Our route initially took us north on the signed Cycle Route 7 along Cessnock Street, Brand Street – now with perpendicular parking for the new flats along the south side, a potential hazard for cyclists on this well-used route – and Govan Road. We able to see the ‘improvements’ being made connected with Fastlink. We wondered about the value of spending money on a grade-separated cycleway alongside a road where the only permitted traffic is buses and taxis – and there aren’t any bus routes. There are much stronger candidate areas for cycle infrastructure spending even when the funding is ring-fenced for work connected with Fastlink.
Our first major hurdle was where Govan Road joins Pacific Drive. At these traffic lights, cyclists are invited to behave like pedestrians and cross Pacific Drive to cycle westward on the north-side pavement. To cross, cyclists must wait for 3 individual sets of pedestrian controlled lights, the first to cross the two lanes of the Fastlink bus corridor (not available for cycle use), followed by lights for each lane of ordinary traffic. The presence of extensive pedestrian barriers makes crossing by more than 2-3 bikes at a time very difficult. The experienced cyclists will almost certainly ignore the invitation to use this crossing and travel westward on the road. Those new to cycling (or with tandems, trailers or cargo bikes) are discouraged by tight turns made more difficult by poles, railings and control boxes, especially when there are pedestrians or other cyclists to consider.
While manoeuvring the crossing we agreed that plans to designate the footway on the south side for shared use (right through the bus shelter, and next to the sparsely used Fastlink carriageway) were a frustratingly marginal improvement, and we wondered why no effort had been made to route cyclists behind the Village Hotel to get toward’s Bells Bridge. There is already a crossing across Pacific Drive opposite the Bell’s Bridge path, albeit one offset from the desire line and with yet more barrier/pole/box obstacles.
Picture 3CrossToPavement We were invited to behave as pedestrians and use the pavement on the north side of Pacific Drive (point 1 on map)
It was generally agreed that the new path from Pacific Drive to Bell’s Bridge then continuing along the river in front of the BBC and the Science Centre was excellent. We wished it were possible for the riverside path to extend eastwards under the Clyde Arc Bridge. Back at Govan Road we continued westward and on to Golspie Street, which was re-engineered to accommodate the Fastlink carriageway. This gives it the appearance of a fast dual-carriageway, by-pass type of road, with its absence of active frontages and sweeping turns at the junctions. With the two directions of normal traffic using the single non-Fastlink carriageway it feels like a hostile piece of road for cyclists. This section is difficult to avoid for east-west travel because of the barrier of the lines into the subway depot. The layout of the both junctions on this stretch encourages drivers to make fast left turns, with the potential for left-hooking cyclists. The extensive pedestrian barriers at the junction with Harmony Row hem cyclists in in a manner that is worrying. There is nowhere for cyclists to escape if cars come too near.
Picture 4Barriers Extensive barriers at the junction of Golspie Street and Harmony Row (point 2 on map)
A newish, good quality pedestrian-cycle route took us the 200m from Golspie Street to Langlands Road. This was free of motor traffic and wide enough for cyclists and pedestrian to easily pass in both directions. A useful improvement would be a dropped kerb at the eastern end to allow easy access for west-bound cyclists without having to mingle with pedestrians at the pelican crossing.
Picture 5SharedPath Using the Golspie Street to Langlands Road cycle/pedestrian route (point 3 on map)
On Langlands Road significant sections of the advisory cycle lanes, only denoted by painted lines, were blocked by parked cars on both sides of the road. We understand these painted lanes form part of the ‘active travel access’ for the newly enlarged hospital. Allowing parking in cycle lanes shows that cyclists lack any real status on Glasgow’s roads. Cycle users deserve better.
Picture 6CarsInBikeLane Cars parked in the Langlands Road cycle lane (point 4 on map)
We carried on along Langlands Road to the underpass beneath the A739, the busy dual carriageway leading to the Clyde Tunnel. This underpass gives cycle access to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, but the large amount of graffiti and general feel of dilapidation gives it an edgy feel. This is not a facility most people would like to use at night.
Picture 7Graffiti Pedestrian/cycle underpass beneath the A739 to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. A highly graffitied and unwelcoming place (point 5 on map)
The feeling of dilapidation continued on the west side of the A739 where the first entrance to the hospital had no dropped kerb as well as being very rough, and needing another tight turn to negotiate the bollards in the underpass entrance.
Picture 8HospEntrance Off-putting entrance to the QEUH. Note the lack of dropped kerb (point 6 on map)
We continued north beside the A739 on an excellent shared pedestrian/cycle path which continued along Moss Road. At the junction with Peninver Drive a new pedestrian/cycle crossing has been installed but the timing of the lights was so slow (about 3 minutes) that no one was inclined to wait and we all took the chance to cross when the traffic appeared clear. The timing of these lights needs to be reviewed.
Picture 9LongWait Very slow timing of the lights allowing cycle crossing from Moss Road to Peninver Drive (point 7 on map)
Onward to Govan Road where we noted that parking was allowed by the shops near the junction with Holmfauldhead Place. We were told that this parking can at times cause significant congestion leading to cyclists being squeezed on the road, with drivers overtaking without allowing sufficient space.
Picture 95ParkingSqueeze Govan Road near the junction with Holmfauldhead Place. A busy road restricted by allowing on-street parking. Cyclists get squeezed here (point 8 on map)
A major problem in this area is the difficulty that south-going cyclists have turning west along Govan Road when they exit the Clyde Cycle Tunnel. To cross Govan Road “by the book” is so slow and complex that few cyclists comply and simply cross Govan Road when and where they can. The lack of a simple and safe crossing is simply unacceptable.
Our tour concluded with a ride through the centre of Govan and discussion as to how a dedicated cycle route through the main street of Govan Road could be a significant feature as part of the area regeneration.
Overall we were underwhelmed by the cycle facilities that we saw and used in Govan. Short sections were excellent but on the whole we felt that most were let down by poor design and poor implementation. The biggest issues are the lack of interconnectivity between adequate facilities and the method the planners use to take cyclists across main roads by requiring cyclists to behave like pedestrians and use complex, slow, barriered crossings. These are tricky for inexperienced cyclists to manoeuvre through, and experienced cyclists are likely to ignore the lights and cross as and when they see a gap in the traffic. The perennial problem of cars parking in non-segregated cycle lanes remains an issue in Govan as almost everywhere else in the UK.
We hope that Councillor Allan Young will be able to use the information gained in this tour to inform him in his work as a councillor and as ever, GoBike are here to help should he (or any of the other three Govan councillors) have any further questions.
We have one more tour planned for Friday 01 December with Councillors Cullen and Cunningham around Ward 13, Garscadden/Scotstounhill. Then, unless we can choose daylight during the winter, we’ll be hoping to resume in the spring – if councillors are minded to join us!
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 GAP_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:
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.
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 awarenessof 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.
GoBike member, Johnston Orr, trying to cycle along the Colleges Cycle route on Highburgh Road towards Byres Road. Note the car encroaching on the very narrow door opening zone and the car parked right across the bike lane!
On Saturday 23 September, GoBike convenor, Tricia Fort, and Johnston Orr met one of Partick East/Kelvindale’s 4 councillors, Tony Curtis, Conservative, for a short tour of the ward – but lots of discussion. Tony is very keen that all road users obey the Highway Code and relevant legislation, behave responsibly and respect each other, follow guidance when it comes to staying safe on a bike and he is keen to get Police Scotland to address parking and speeding infringements.
Our route was from outside the bar/restaurant 1051GWR on Great Western Road at Gartnavel, up to Highburgh Road and along into Hyndland and Dowanhill. The points discussed concerning cycle infrastructure were:
The possibility of a cycle link from the western end of Devonshire Terrace through to the front of bar/restaurant1051GWR; this would allow people to cycle from Devonshire Terrace along the existing footway, if it were cleared of vegetation and widened, to access Hughenden Lane or Shelley Road.
The reduced hours of operation of the bus lanes on Great Western Road and the lack of any cycle infrastructure on this major artery into the city centre.
Hyndland Road from Great Western Road to the top of Clarence Drive; this is a main route, as Tony pointed out, and yet there is no cycle infrastructure.
The poor condition of many roads, and many cycle lanes, in the city, and in this ward.
The positioning of the cycle lanes on Hyndland/Highburgh Road from Clarence Drive: currently the cycle lanes are on the outside of parking bays. The door opening zone is too narrow, only 0.5m rather than a realistic 1.0m, and many cars were poorly parked, encroaching on the narrow door opening zone.
Irresponsible parking, such as right across the cycle lane.
The confusion of the signs on Dowanhill Street; had there been cycle lanes here previously? (And why was one car parked facing the wrong way on a one-way street?)
The apparent contradiction between Glasgow City Council’s policy and action on one-way streets, particularly those streets that are changed from two-way to one-way ostensibly to allow parking on both sides, with respect to maintaining access for people to cycle. The references here are: Glasgow City Council’s Strategic Plan for Cycling, page 28 referencing their use of Transport Scotland’s design guide, Cycling by Design which states in section 5.1.5 on page 52, under Contra-flow Cycle Lanes, that “The default position should be to permit two-way cycling on one-way streets.” This is very pertinent for areas such as Dowanhill, where two-way streets have been made one-way under new parking regulations, and for Partick, where new parking regulations – and new one-way streets – are about to be introduced. This means some significant detours for people who wish to cycle.
GoBike’s view is that cycle infrastructure should be provided where people cycle and our analysis of Strava and other cycle-counting data is here on our website. Great Western Road, as a main artery into the city centre, has significant numbers of people cycling along it, as does Byres Road, on the edge of this ward, but neither has any cycle infrastructure.
Partick East/Kelvindale is currently the home of the most cycle-interested councillors in the city. All four councillors have responded to our invitation to walk or cycle round their ward! There has been a nil response from many other wards.