Councillor Tour 7, Drumchapel / Anniesland, Ward 7, Thursday 12 October

Congratulations and a gold star to Councillor Elspeth Kerr, SNP, pictured above wearing purple, who doesn’t own a bike but yet cycled 6.5 miles round her ward on Thursday with Anne Glass, from Drumchapel Cycle Hub, also pictured and GoBike Convenor Tricia Fort.  We are indebted to Anne and the Drumchapel Cycle Hub for the loan of Elspeth’s purple bike, shown above.  The route we took, a shortened version of one devised by Andy Preece,  is shown below:

Here’s a guide to the route: Councillor Ward Tour – Anniesland & Drumchapel final

There are some busy main roads in this ward and we cycled on the footway along Drumry Road East, through the roundabouts to Great Western Road, then from the point where we left the canal path up Great Western Road to Knightswood Cross and again at the end of our ride along Drumchapel Road and back up Drumry Road East to the Hub.  There are no cycle facilities on these busy roads and although it is not correct to cycle on the footway, it is far safer for someone like Elspeth, who is not confident on the road.

So, in this relatively poor area with fairly low car ownership, what did we see apart from the lack of cycle facilities?  As Andy points out in his notes, when we crossed from the Great Western Retail Park to the south side of Great Western Road, the footway is shared.  At the Glasgow boundary, with no change of width in the footway, this stops, and people on bikes are directed to the canal towpath.  What if they want to go straight up Great Western Road towards Knightswood?  Tough, and they encounter a lack of dropped kerbs if they do venture here on a bike or they are pushing a pram or a wheelchair.

We went on the canal towpath for quite a bit of this ride, and one has to be aware of pedestrians and dogs.  There are ground lights for part of the way, but to ensure these are effective, vegetation must be kept back.  At Lock 35, we crossed to the north side to look at the garden that has been developed by volunteers, including members of GoBike:

Back on Great Western Road, we noticed that, although laybys have been provided for parked cars, some drivers prefer to leave their car in the inside lane of this 3-lane road!

This picture shows 1 car in the layby, 3 parked in the inside lane, and 1 car actually moving in the middle lane.  This doesn’t leave much room for bikes, or buses.  This dual carriageway, a major artery to the city centre, has plenty of room for a cycle way on each side.

At Knightscliffe Avenue we cut in round the Netherton Community Centre and onto the path, Temple Walkway, which runs from Glencoe Street right past the Community Centre and the disused Temple Swimming Pool to Shafton Road.  The path has a good surface and could be used much more for cycling and walking if it were lit.

Shafton Road took us round, via Avenel Road to the canal, with a steep access path and we cycled west as far as Blairdardie Road Footbridge.  From here, with no dropped kerb to help us down to the roadway, we made our way along Moraine Avenue, and to the path that took us under the railway to Essenside Avenue and more locations needing dropped kerbs:

Here, at the access to the path leading to Drumchapel Road, the fence is blocking the very bit of the kerb that is dropped, albeit only slightly.  So, all in all, this is not an area that is active-travel-friendly, but with much potential for improvement.

Glasgow Councillor Tour 5, Victoria Park, Ward 12, 06 October 2017

On Friday 06 October Councillor Maggie McTernan, Labour Councillor for Ward 12, Victoria Park, toured part of her ward with GoBike committee members John Donnelly and Alasdair Macdonald and GoBike member Neil Lovelock.  Councillor McTernan doesn’t cycle so John took her, and Neil, round in the rickshaw he currently owns.  After the ride she posted her photos and a commentary on her Councillor Facebook page; she has very kindly sent us the photos and allowed us to use her words to describe the ride.  They are reproduced in bold below:

“The question you need to ask is, would you let your child cycle ahead of you?”

Thanks to Neil, Alasdair and John from Gobike for taking me on a cycle tour of my ward, Victoria Park, today – with an honourable mention for John, who powered the cycle rickshaw for non-cycling me!

If we want to cut emissions and improve health, we need to take seriously the cycle routes across the city – as John said, they should be safe enough for a child to use.

Most of us don’t just use one form of transport – we walk, cycle, drive or take public transport depending on the situation. So our infrastructure should reflect this, supporting us to share our public spaces safely.

Cycle paths don’t always have dropped kerbs – here, the entrance to the cycle path had bollards that were too close to allow the rickshaw through!

Double parking to block a cycle path, opposite a bus stop…

Some of the signage is faded, making it hard to follow cycle routes

There’s good news too – this pavement at St Paul’s Primary was widened in 2014, to improve safety for children cycling to school

The route that the group followed was devised by GoBike ride leader, Andy Preece and is given here: Councillor Ward Tour – Victoria Park map and his comments on features along the route are here: Councillor Ward Tour – Victoria Park

Glasgow Councillor Tour 4, part of Partick East / Kelvindale with the Labour and SNP councillors

Clarence Drive

On the evening of Thursday 05 October, GoBike members Tricia Fort, Johnston Orr and Andy Winter met Labour Councillor Martin Rhodes and SNP Councillor Kenny McLean who represent Ward 23 Partick East / Kelvindale on the City Council to look at cycling conditions in part of their ward.  Neither Martin nor Kenny cycles, but neither do they drive; they both walk or use public transport.  We are grateful to them both for the time they took to walk round Hyndland and Dowanhill with us and here is a summary of the issues we discussed:

  • Pedestrian/cycle crossing from Leicester Avenue across Great Western Road towards Gartnavel:  We didn’t visit this but after the report on our website from the cycle tour of 23 September with Councillor Tony Curtis, one of our members who lives in Kelvindale commented “it takes FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES to cross over GWR to the restaurant if you use the toucan.”  Andy confirmed this from the visits he has made to the sports ground there with his children.  This is not conducive to active travel.
  • Great Western Road: there is no cycle infrastructure on this road, apart from Advance Stop Lines (into which motor vehicles encroach, as we saw) and the part-time bus lanes that give some protection.  This is a busy main road into town with fast traffic and deserves segregated cycle lanes to protect the people who already cycle on it and to encourage others to cycle.
  • Great Western Road alternative: from Byres Road to Gartnavel there is the potential to create a quiet way along the terraces.  This could then link into Shelley Road, and while this would not be suitable for people going right into town, it would encourage many to cycle in the local area.
  • Cross roads, Great Western Road/Hyndland Road/Cleveden Road: at 6:30 in the evening this was a busy junction, with a lot of potentially dangerous driving practices.  We saw motorists going through the lights when they had changed back to red, many vehicles on Hyndland Road using the left-turning lane to go straight on to avoid the queue of vehicles waiting to turn right into Great Western Road, vehicles were stopped in the Cycle Advance Stop Line and many appeared to be exceeding the speed limit.  Despite all this, we saw a significant number of people on bikes, but, as Andy said, it is not a route suitable for children to cycle from Dowanhill and Hyndland through to Cleveden School.  A simple solution at the traffic lights might be to ban the right turn from Hyndland Road onto Great Western Road, but this might push the problem elsewhere.  Creating a cycle-friendly junction here would encourage more adults and children to cycle here, and should reduce motor traffic.
  • Hyndland Road: cars parked on both sides, on a road that deserves a segregated cycle route to give access to the local sports facilities, schools and Glasgow University.
  • Hughenden Lane: this provides a good route through to Gartnavel, but is currently over-parked.  Parking controls are needed to allow access for residents and bikes.  A left turn allows access through the new flats to Lauderdale Gardens and then to Clarence Drive and we saw several people using this route.  Just a bit of work is needed to widen the ramped exit from the carpark at the back of the flats and parking needs to be controlled to free up the dropped kerb into Lauderdale Gardens to improve permeability for active travel.
  • Clarence Drive: cars parked on the cycle lanes and on the footway, see the photo above.  Parking restrictions are needed as is segregation of the cycle route.
  • Hyndland Road, outside the shops: no cycle lane at all, but there are cycle stands and the wide footway improves the ambience of the area.
  • Hyndland Road, at the end of the row of shops: the footway has been built out, apparently to provide two parking places outside the shops, but this is where the cycle lane starts again – on the bend, with the danger of cars etc cutting in.
  • Highburgh Road: the parking bays are narrow, with many vehicles part, or fully on, the too narrow (only 0.5m) door opening zone and the cycle lane is minimum width too, meaning that the safe place to cycle is out in the vehicle lane.  This narrowness is exacerbated by the two disabled parking bays that have been painted in; there is no door opening zone here at all!  See the photos below.  Parking, at most, should be on one side only, to allow the construction of a cycle lane suitable for all the people, young and old, in the area to use.
  • Highburgh Road/Dowanhill Street junction: Dowanhill Street is stopped off at the south side of Highburgh Road but the crossing over Highburgh Road allows access for bikes travelling along the street, giving access to the school and a quieter route to Dumbarton Road than Hyndland Road.  However, north of Highburgh Road, Dowanhill Street has recently been made one-way, southbound, thus preventing someone from cycling northbound, unless on the footway!  This is despite there still being a cycle route sign at the location and, more pertinently, despite the statement in Glasgow City Council’s design document “Cycling by Design” in 5.1.5: “Contra-flow Cycle Lanes.  The default position should be to permit two-way cycling on one-way streets.”  We discussed this at length, and compared this area with the proposals for the Woodside mini-Holland, where permeability, ie through access, for bikes is being encouraged, whereas in Dowanhill it is being prevented.  It is little surprise that one scheme has been produced by the parking section in Land and Environment Services and one by the cycle section.  The alternative route for Andy, or his children, is to cycle up Dowanhill Street, turn left onto Highburgh Road and then do a right turn, on a bend, into Crown Road South – not an attractive prospect.
  • Byres Road: heavily parked on both sides, even though studies show that most people arrive here by foot, bike, subway or bus, this busy road with many shops, pubs and restaurants has a high accident rate.  We need active travel input to the current consultations.  Here’s the link to a GoBike supported group event on 22 October: https://space4peoplebyresroad.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/ride-for-a-better-byres-road/
  • Dowanside Road: under the Dowanhill parking controls this has been made one way and yet, even with cars parked both sides, there is plenty of room for contraflow cycling, see the photograph below.  We have contraflow cycling in other parts of the city, the nearest to here being Dalnair Street from Old Dumbarton Road to Yorkhill Hospital.  We need more.
  • Beith Street: we didn’t walk this far but, with all the student accommodation here, it needs cycle lanes.

The main points from this tour are that, while we need good quality segregated cycle lanes on our main roads, we need the access and the permeability in our local areas for people to get out and about in their neighbourhood and to reach the main roads that will take them to school, to work, the shops or the art gallery etc.

 

 

 

 

Glasgow City Council Transport Summit, 27 September 2017 – GoBike report

GoBike was invited to attend the recent Transport Summit held by Glasgow City Council, and was represented there by 3 committee members, John Donnelly, Peter Hayman and Alasdair Macdonald.  Here is Alasdair’s report of the proceedings:

This summit was organised by Glasgow City Council and was chaired by Councillor Anna Richardson, Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, assisted by the Director for Roads.

There were presentations by Council officers, Transport Scotland, representatives of the bus and rail industries, an academic, charities/campaigning groups Sustrans and Transform Scotland and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

In the audience there were campaigning groups like GoBike! and Get Glasgow Moving, representatives from a number of Community Councils and representatives
from the haulage industry as well as Councillors representing Greens, Labour and
SNP.

The keynote speaker was Iain Docherty BSc PhD CMILT who is Professor of Public Policy and Governance and Head of Management at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School. His presentation set the tone for the remainder of the proceedings. Although he was careful to ensure that his speech was academically rigorous and carefully qualified, he was pretty explicit that dealing with issues relating to private cars and parking is the major factor in improving transport in Glasgow. This was echoed by most of the subsequent speakers, with no-one making a counterargument. 

There was widespread agreement in the room that something needs to be done about cars in Glasgow.  It was only the 2 Glasgow City Council Officials who said “This was not about penalising car drivers”.  Almost every other speaker highlighted that the only way to improve transport in Glasgow involved making changes that would reduce the number of cars in Glasgow. 

I had not heard people in positions of influence being so unequivocal and so explicit. A memorable, line, slightly tongue-in-cheek was that with white paint to repartition road space and amendments to traffic light crossing times, Glasgow could make a significant improvement relatively quickly!

However, while that might be a way forward, it is an intensely POLITICAL thing and therefore those of us who wish to bring about change must be supportive of politicians in creating the ethos in which such changes can take place. The motoring organisations will not take this lying down. While it is important that campaigners push for good infrastructure constructed to good standards, we also need to work constructively and co-operatively with elected members and officers to bring about the change.

Compared to ‘peer cities’ in Europe, such as Malmo and Bremen, levels of cycling in Glasgow are very low, but rising, and the number of car journeys is INCREASING. So, we have to get people out of cars and on to their feet, on to bicycles and on to trains and buses. The importance of buses cannot be overstated. They account for more than twice the journeys compared to all other modes. While there are improvements to rail services underway and advocacy for an extended Subway, in the short and intermediate term, it is buses that will carry most of the people who are ‘persuaded’ to leave their cars.

A related point was the fact that organisations like the bus industry and the Chambers of Commerce, feel we need no more NEW road building, but that we would be better improving (and repartitioning?) the road network that we currently have.

The issues relating to buses are about emissions, about the lack of services across the city rather than through the city, single-ticketing using modern technology. SPT indicated that the transfer-ticketing issue is likely to be solved soon. Retrofitting of buses to the highest EU standard for emissions is feasible with current technology, but the question is, ‘Who pays?” Recent amendments to Union/Jamaica St appear to have speeded transition of buses through that route. Nevertheless, there is still work to be done.

Improvements to Queen Street Station and electrification of Glasgow/Edinburgh should improve things, but, at present, there are no plans for Crossrail.

The Chamber of Commerce made a strong case for developing Glasgow Airport as an economic generator. Renfrewshire Council’s City Deal is focussed on the Airport, but from a cycling and walking perspective, there are substantial benefits associated with it.

It was a pretty well-informed meeting. We were provided with a lot of information. But, to the credit of the presenters, I think they were pretty succinct. There was also a fair degree of coherence amongst the presentations, despite them coming from quite a wide range of sources. There were a number of opportunities for discussion and almost all the contributions were from community councils and campaigning bodies. The standard of debate was high and courteous.

I give the Council high marks for organising this event. it was heavily led by the transport professionals, but I think they were respectful of their audience. I think we need a follow up meeting where the audience represents ALL the community councils, and the various community organisations and campaigners like GoBike!

Bill Fraser (a GoBike! member, community council chair and member of a local ‘hertage’ group) has some interesting ideas about community innovation using organisations which are NOT the community council but are closely related to them (for legal reasons). Bill could give a good presentation to the target audience I have indicated.

Glasgow Councillor Tour 3, part of Partick East/Kelvindale with Conservative Councillor, Tony Curtis

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The poor condition of many roads, and many cycle lanes, in the city, and in this ward.
  5. 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.
  6. Irresponsible parking, such as right across the cycle lane.
  7. 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?)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Glasgow Councillor Ward tour 2, Garnethill in Ward 10 with Green Councillor, Christy Mearns

The photo, taken by GoBike committee member, Peter Hayman, shows Councillor Christy Mearns and GoBike member, Tim Pearson, having just crossed St George’s Road and about to tour Garnethill on Friday 22 September.  Tim’s brief report of what was a lot of discussion and a detailed tour of the area is here: Garnethill Ward Bike Tour 22 Sept 2017

Details of all our tours are here on our website: http://www.gobike.org/campaignsconsultations/projects/glasgow-councillors-summer-autumn-2017

Glasgow Councillors tour their wards with us, Tour 1 Maryhill and Hillhead

Further to our letter to all Glasgow Councillors in June, our first tour took place on Friday 15 September 2017, with Councillors Jane Morgan, Maryhill ward, Labour (in yellow above) and Martha Wardrop, Hillhead ward, Green (behind GoBike committee member, Alasdair Macdonald).  The photo above was taken on Striven Gardens, where leaf-fall and parked cars, plus mis-placed bollards further along can impede good cycle access.

We were able to discuss many items on the tour, such as cars parked in bike lanes, the need for dropped kerbs to facilitate access for bikes, as well as prams etc, plus the need for good cycle infrastructure on Maryhill Road.  Details of the tour, as well as the map of the route are shown here .  It was an excellent way to get our message across to two councillors and we look forward to meeting other councillors over the forthcoming weeks.

Get off the road!”, a GoBike member’s View on Parking, Private Property and Cycle Facilities

We reproduce below the submitted text of a Herald newspaper Agenda item, written by GoBike member, Bob Downie, and  published in the Herald today.  It is just possible that the car owning populace of the land might not like this article, so if you agree with it then please get your letter of support into the Herald now!  Bob has written the item in a personal capacity but we are pleased to publish the views of GoBike members if they are generally in line with our aims. The printed text, as in the Herald, is given here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/15483256.Agenda__On_street_parking_should_not_be_at_the_expense_of_cycling_infrastructure/

******************************************************************************************************************************

“When on your bike, how many times do you hear the phrase “get off the road!”, followed by a barbed statement along the lines of “roads are for cars and you can get your toy onto the pavement”? The answer is more often than many of us would like. Being the mature adults that we are, we sadly shake our heads and cycle on. It is to be hoped that the holders of such ideas will in time pass on to the great motorway in the sky, and be replaced by a younger generation more used to the idea that one’s transport mode depends on the journey, walking, cycling, driving or public transport as the circumstance dictates. We can dream.

However, even enlightened urban car owners consider that they have an absolute right to park on the street outside their property. As a campaigner for improvements in the cycling environment in Glasgow, I keep bumping up against the refusal to install any cycling infrastructure because it could only be built at the expense of on-street parking. This factor, possibly more than any other is the primary reason why we do not, and possibly cannot, have good quality, protected cycle lanes in our fine city.

The desire to park on the road close to one’s property is perfectly understandable, but let us step back and ask the fundamental question, what is a road and what is its function? The online Oxford English defines a road as “a wide way leading from one place to another, especially one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles can use”. The Collins dictionary offers “a road is a long piece of hard ground which is built between two places so that people can drive or ride easily from one place to the other”. However, the most important definition is the Road Traffic Act 1988 which states “a road physically should have the character of a definable route, with ascertainable edges, and that leads from one point to another to enable travellers to move conveniently from one point to another along that route”.

The essence of all the above definitions is that a road is constructed route that people can use to travel by vehicle from one place to another, the RTA of 1988 adding the term “move conveniently”. What is conspicuously missing from any definition of “road” is that it is a place to store your priv2ate property. Now call me picky, but what is a car if not private property?

It thus seems that we cannot have the network of safe, connected cycle infrastructure in Glasgow that we so urgently need, because of the priority given to allowing people to store their private property on the public road. I have no fundamental desire to stop parking where there is room to do so without impeding traffic, but cyclists are every bit as much traffic as are motor vehicles and it is wrong to deny them safe, segregated routes by preferentially prioritising parking. Glasgow, like all urban areas, needs a cycle revolution. The pent-up desire is huge but until safe infrastructure is created the desire will never be satisfied for the many would-be cyclists intimidated by sharing roads with motor vehicle.

So, on-street parking is fine, but should be given the lowest priority and allowed only after the needs of all traffic, including cycling, are satisfied. Roads are routes to travel on and not places to store personal property. I say, “Get the parked cars off the road” and allow the cycle traffic to flow.”

******************************************************************************************************************************

Parking controls and 20mph for Partick but no contraflow cycling on one-way streets.

Glasgow City Council are currently consulting on a Traffic Regulation Order to introduce a mandatory 20mph speed limit in a significant number of streets in Partick, see https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=18127  This follows earlier proposals to “manage” parking, which introduced some new one-way streets.  Unfortunately parking is still being allowed to a significant extent on many streets, to such an extent in fact that the Council refuse to allow contraflow cycling on these streets.  This is despite contraflow cycling on one-way streets being the default position in the design guide the Council uses, Cycling by Design!  Further details on our Consultations page and our Design Guides page.  Our letter of support for the 20mph proposal includes our concerns: GoBike Partick 20mph support with concern 100717

We have also responded to on-line consultations for Glasgow City Council’s proposed Mini-Holland scheme (details were on view on 23 June), the Green Party’s ambitious proposals to update their active travel policy and the future of the Walk, Cycle, Vote campaign.  We have supported a minor proposal from Glasgow City Council to control parking on Havannah Street/Duke Street.  See our Consultations page for details.

On-street Car Parking – let’s get it sorted – respond to this Scottish Government Consultation

Scottish Government — Improving Parking in Scotland consultation
Deadline: 30 June
The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on responsible parking. Among other things, It invites views on how to provide greater clarity of the laws on parking, and how to stop issues such as pavement parking. To read the consultation, see here. Living Streets Scotland have also put together a consultation response for members of the public to join the call to end pavement parking.
This appears to be prevarication on the part of the Scottish Government in response to the Pavement Parking bill put forward by Sandra White SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin.  The car lobby is obviously very powerful, but random, irresponsible parking is damaging our towns and cities – and our lives.  Please respond to the consultation and let’s get our pavements clear for walking and our cycle lanes clear for cycling.