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, Ward 7, Langside, 11 October

On Wednesday evening, 11 October 2017, a group of GoBike members met Tanya Wisely, Green Party Councillor for Ward 7 to tour her ward and to see how the ward can potentially link into the proposed South City Way.  The photo above shows, from left to right, Graham Muirhead, Meredith Muirhead, Tanya Wisely, Tricia Fort, Bill Wurthmann and Bob Downie at our meeting point, Langside Hall.  This photo and the ones below taken by Ajit Panickar, a GoBike member who also joined us for the tour.

Here’s the route we followed: https://www.strava.com/activities/1225746006   and the map:

So, what did we experience?

  • Streets between tenements with cars parked both sides, leaving little room for moving vehicles.
  • Dropped kerbs blocked by parked cars – on Carmichael Place (at the end of the White Cart Cycle Route path) and at the end of our ride hampering cycle access to Balvicar Street from Pollokshaws Road.
  • A very tricky road crossing from Sinclair Drive over Battlefield Road to Grange Road.
  • No cycle facilities leading to the New Victoria Hospital, but there is a narrow cycle lane marked on the footway on Queen’s Park Street, circling part of the hospital, which doesn’t connect into any cycle lane at the Grange Road or the Prospecthill Road end.
  • A nice, wide road past Hampden connecting Cathcart Road to Aikenhead Road, where there is then a very narrow shared footway with a long wait at the toucan crossing to cross to an equally narrow shared footway, part of the “Cathkin Braes Route”.
  • Cars parked on the roadway outside houses, leaving little room for bikes, cars, vans to move along and certainly not an environment where children could play outside their gardens.
  • New flats and houses in Toryglen with no cycle lane access.
  • A narrow, dark path from Prospecthill Circus to Polmadie Road; if this were widened and lit for its full length and the glass cleared regularly, and the junction area of Polmadie Road to Aikenhead Road to Dixon Road made less daunting for people on bikes it would provide an excellent link from Toryglen to Govanhill and to the forthcoming South City Way.  Access to the South City Way from other parts of the ward is feasible – if the route could be continued around Queen’s Park – on both sides (Langside Road/Queen’s Drive and Pollokshaws Road), while a route through the park is fine for a leisurely cycle ride in daylight.
  • The curious nature of some streets,eg Dixon Road, being adorned with blue signs indicating that this is a  “Route recommended for pedal cycles on the main carriageway of a road”.  One wonders what the criteria are to merit the signage.

Some details of the route from Andy Preece, who devised the tour – although we deviated a little at the end to check out the access at Balvicar Street are here: Councillor Ward Tour – Langside v2

Car blocking the dropped kerb at the end of Carmichael Place where there is access to and from the riverside path through to Tantallon Road – and yes, the car is parked on the double yellow lines.

Aikenhead Road at Hampden

Car blocking the cut-through from Balvicar Road to Pollokshaws Road, the end of the route we took.

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 – Woodside Mini-Holland project wins Community Links PLUS funding!

We have just been sent this good news from Glasgow City Councll, which makes a refreshing change from our earlier post about Dowanhill!

“Woodside Mini-Holland Update

Glasgow City Council is delighted to announce that the ‘Woodside Mini-Holland project’ has been successful in winning the Community Links PLUS competition facilitated by Transport Scotland and Sustrans.

The Woodside Mini Holland bid proposes to improve walking and cycling including the creation of a Dutch style cycle-friendly area using a combination of hard infrastructure and softer measures to increase the attractiveness of everyday active travel and creating better streets and places for people. The project will see some £8m spent on transforming the Woodside Area.

The project is considered as having four main elements:

  • Place. Enhancing the road environment is vital to making this area a lucrative place to visit and attractive to pass through.
  •   Segregated cycle tracks. Safe, dedicated cycle tracks, more attractive pedestrian space and excellent public transport connections.
  • Permeability and Connectivity for the Woodside area
  •   Outreach work. At least 5% of the project budget will be allocated for outreach activities aimed at encouraging active and sustainable travel, working closely with partners and community organisations.

We will be in touch in due course to keep you informed and advise how you can contribute to the design.

Please share with family and friends or have them email the project team if they would like to be added to the Woodside Mini-Holland mailing list.  The email address, if you wish to get updates direct is:  SustainableTransport@glasgow.gov.uk

Kind Regards

WMH Team

Glasgow – UK Council of the Year 2015″

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.

 

 

 

 

Almost October, time for the GoBike monthly ride – the Kilmacolm circular

 

Yes, the first Sunday of the month is the day for our intriguing and somewhat offbeat ride out around Glasgow.

Andy Preece will be leading this ride; further details of GoBike rides are on the Rides page of our website

Sunday 1 October – Kilmacolm Circular
We shall head out mostly on minor roads through Paisley, Linwood and Houston to Kilmacolm. After lunch, we’ll return to Paisley via the NCN75 path to visit a few more of the town’s attractions to be seen along the way, before continuing onwards to Glasgow.
Meet 10am Bell’s Bridge, Congress Road, Glasgow.
Ride on paths Ride on quiet roads 
Significant hill climbing
Rated: Go Bike star rating Go Bike star rating
 Go Bike star rating

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.

An update on #GlasgowCycleInfraDay17

Time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been more than a week already since #GlasgowCycleInfraDay17 and after such a phenomenal response it has mostly spent reading and re-reading Tweets, whilst staring at a spreadsheet, trying to figure out how best to put them together in to the story of Glasgow’s cycling infrastructure.

As you might expect, most of the submissions were negative.  If you’re familiar with cycling in Glasgow you can probably imagine them; pictures of potholes and flooding, of cars parked in cycle lanes, of busy roads with no infrastructure and of barriers blocking access.

Examples of bad infrastructure

Perhaps more surprising was that around one in eight of the Tweets were positive.  With so few examples of truly segregated cycling infrastructure in Glasgow, you sought them out and held them up as examples of what you need.

Unfortunately it’s not all good news.  Poor maintenance, flooding, and in some cases bad design decisions all meant that the negative feedback for segregated infrastructure outweighed the positive more than 2-to-1.

Whilst the Council might believe that they are ‘leading the way in the UK regarding implementation of segregated cycle facilities‘ the results of #GlasgowCycleInfraDay17 would suggest there’s a way to go still.

So what’s next?

First up, there will be another blog post here shortly focusing on the details of some of the worst examples from #GlasgowCycleInfraDay17 and how they relate to Glasgow’s Strategic Plan for Cycling 2016-2025.

A similar approach will be taken when communicating this year’s submissions to Glasgow City Council, tying them in to the Strategic Plan for Cycling to help to identify areas which need increased focus.

Finally (for now), where specific safety issues were identified, these will be raised directly, and individually, with the Council to ensure that they are rectified.

Whilst all this is happening, the Tweets for #GlasgowCycleInfraDay17 have (so far as possible) all now been added to the CycleStreets.net.  Have a browse; seeing them mapped across the city really highlights how much work people put in on the day to cover as much of the city as possible.  So thanks again to everybody who took part.

 

 

Glasgow’s Woodside “mini-Holland” plus other schemes get the go-ahead

Cycling is about to return to St George’s Cross with the latest announcement of funding from the Scottish Government, see these articles from the Herald and the BBC.  Let’s hope it all comes to fruition:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15542741.Cities_braced_for_cycling_overhaul_after_major_cash_injection/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-41309510

It’s strange but the headline in the paper edition of the Herald is less anti-cycling than on-line.  Let’s hope the motoring lobby don’t spoil it for us.

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.