Almost February – time for a ride round the parks of Glasgow’s East End with GoBike!

Another chance to see bits of the city you’ve never seen before!  See our Facebook event

Sunday 4 February – East End Parks
We have previously had park rides in the north, south and west of the city, so now it is the turn of the east. As well as the big parks of Glasgow Green, Tollcross, Hogganfield and Alexandra Parks, we shall visit a number of smaller parks and open spaces, and a few other points of interest. The ride will be mostly on quiet roads and asphalt paths, except at Cardowan Moss (see image above) where we will be using well made unpaved paths. An 18 mile ride ending up in the City Centre in time for lunch.
Meet 10am Bell’s Bridge, Congress Road, Glasgow.
Ride on paths Ride on quiet roads Ride on rough tracks Moderate hill climbing
Rated: Go Bike star rating Go Bike star rating

See our Rides page for more information on where we go each month.

Councillor Tour 10, Govan, Ward 5 with Councillor Allan Young (Green Party), 11 November 2017

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!

Glasgow West School Run Summit – a success

Last week we told you about the forthcoming West Glasgow School Run Summit, hosted by Dumbarton Road Corridor Environment Trust, that took place on 14 November.  We are pleased to hear that the event was a success, see the press release that has been issued: 20171116_DRCET_SchoolRunSummit_PressRelease  So let’s hope that we soon see more school runs by car becoming school runs by foot or bike!

A positive outcome of the event is that Councillor Michael Cullen, for Garscadden/Scotstounhill, SNP, who attended the event, has now been in touch to say that he would like to cycle with us round his ward.  We’ll be progressing that and, hopefully, we might get some of his ward colleagues along too.

Ride out to Dumbarton Rock with GoBike! Sunday 05 November

Sunday 5 November – Dumbarton Rock
On this ride we shall follow the Loch Lomond Cycle Path out through Clydebank and Bowling to visit Dumbarton Rock. At Bowling we will see the latest developments at the Bowling Bridge. After lunch in the town centre we’ll take a tour up to Overtoun House before returning to Glasgow. Note that there will be a couple of short sections on main roads, plus a tricky main road crossing, on this ride.
Meet 10am Bell’s Bridge, Congress Road, Glasgow.
Ride on paths Ride on quiet roads Ride on canal towpaths Ride on busy roads Significant hill climbing
Rated: Go Bike star rating Go Bike star rating
 Go Bike star rating

For further details of GoBike cycle rides see the Cycle Rides page on our website.

Glasgow Councillor Tour 8, Ward 6, Pollokshields, with Green Party Councillor, Jon Molyneux, Thursday 19 October 2017

On the afternoon of Thursday 19 October, Councillor Jon Molyneux, Green Party, met GoBike convenor, Tricia Fort and GoBike members, Bill Fraser, who is also on Pollokshields Community Council, Bob Downie and Nick Kempe for a cycle tour of Ward 6.  We were waved off from Pollokshaws Road at Shawlands Cross by Baillie Hanif Raja, Labour Party, who doesn’t cycle but wished us well.

Details of the route planned for us by GoBike ride leader, Andy Preece are given here: Councillor Ward Tour – Pollokshields map and his notes are here: Councillor Ward Tour – Pollokshields  We deviated slightly from the route and the actual route is shown here: 

So, what did we notice apart from the information given in Andy’s notes?  We left our meeting point on Pollokshaws Road, the most heavily cycled route in Glasgow, that has next to no cycle facilities and went along Moss-Side Road, past Shawlands Academy.  There were cars parked right along, with no sign of any assistance for parents or pupils who might want to cycle to school.  We made our way over the railway at Crossmyloof Station, with only an Advance Stop Line for anyone who wants to cycle to Hutchesons’ Grammar School, and down into Titwood Road.

Springkell Avenue is a wide, quiet road, where all the houses have gardens and driveways – so why do they park on the road?  We then came to this, where apparently a nearby housing development is having an adverse effect on the railway bridge:

Yes, there was room to get through on our bikes, so why isn’t it signed for bikes as well as pedestrians?  Where’s the permeability?

At the end of Springkell Avenue, a pleasure to cycle on, we came to the path down to Dumbreck Road.  Apart from the spreading vegetation over the path, there is no lighting on this path, nor on the section that goes all the way to Nithsdale Road – not a winter commuter route then!  At Dumbreck Road we joined the carriageway; a tricky manoeuvre since the toucan crossing and lights seem to assume that someone on a bike will be going into Pollok Park not over the motorway towards Bellahouston Park.  We checked out the exit from Bellahouston Park, thinking that quite a few families from the area might want to cycle to and from it.  The only crossing over Dumbreck Road is a pedestrian one; there is no traffic signal for cars or bikes exiting the park.

As the picture shows, there are no cycle facilities on NIthsdale Road, a useful route across to the east of the ward, and with 2 lanes of traffic coming towards Dumbreck Road, it’s quite a narrow access for bikes as well as cars.  Later, we turned into Maxwell Drive, where cars park right over the painted cycle lanes, or are parked so close to the cycle lane that an opening door could seriously damage a bike and its rider.

We made our way to Albert Drive where the Community Council has put much effort into trying to prevent cars being parked at street corners.  Double yellow lines have been painted on them all, but they are not mandatory until the necessary signs are in place.  The signs are not in place – what an omission by the City Council!

On the eastern end of Albert Drive, we came upon a car parked on the cycle lane and then the cycle lane disappeared under a road narrowing scheme designed to protect the weak railway bridge:

So, one wonders, why wasn’t the bike lane continued, but with segregation, to narrow the road?  Where are people on bikes supposed to go?  Into the narrow roadway or on the footway?  After this point the cycle lanes disappear again under parked cars.

We took a left on Barrland Street to avoid the busy Pollokshaws Road but we did go to the eastern end of Maxwell Road, where there are no formal dropped kerbs to Pollokshaws Road but tarmac ramps were made for a running race a couple of years ago.  Fortunately, they have not been removed.

The Community Council, we heard, are working towards improving Maxwell Road by liaising with house-builders and improving the parking situation.

We took a look at Forth Street, the home of Soul Riders, where recent parking changes included making the street one-way, and not exempting bikes.  So, it’s either a long detour or a technically illegal ride on the footway to get to their premises.  Where is the encouragement to cycle?  Where is the permeability?

At the new school on St Andrew’s Road, we cycled along McCulloch Street, that has been nicely traffic-calmed, and which gives much better access to Shields Road and the crossing to the South-West City Way.  From this cycle way, just about the best in the city, we made the awkward right turn at West Street Subway Station to travel along all the painted cycle lanes back to Pollokshaws Road and we finished our tour alongside the cars parked on the contraflow lane linking Pollokshaws Road with Eglinton Street.

The potential is there in this ward to encourage cycling, but a bit of enlightened thinking is needed to protect the existing cycle lanes and to improve access and permeability.

 

Ride for a better Byres Road, 22 October

We have been sent the following message, which we are pleased to repeat, to encourage you all to ride, and then act, to ensure the revamped Byres Road is cycle and active travel friendly:

If you are keeping an eye on the future design of Byres Road, you may be interested in this event this October.

Byres Road is currently undergoing redesign and it presents a great opportunity to make big improvements to this important street. Currently the road is dominated by motor traffic that makes for an unpleasant walking environment and a hostile cycling experience.

The current proposals lack the commitment and ambition that will make Byres Road a people friendly place. We want Byres Road to have a pleasant walking environment, safe cycling provision, and low volumes of motor traffic.

That’s why we’re Riding for a Better Byres Road on Sunday 22nd October. Show your support by coming on our family friendly ride. We’re gathering at the Transport Museum for 10:45am to leave at 11:00am to ride the length of Byres Road. We’ll then gather at Vinicombe St for 11:15am after which we’ll go for lunch and spend the walking and cycling pound!

Please feel free to pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.

Regards,
Euan Muir

https://space4peoplebyresroad.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/ride-for-a-better-byres-road/

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

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

Today is #GlasgowCycleInfraDay17

#GlasgowCycleInfraDay17
It’s Friday!

It’s September 8th!!

It’s #GlasgowCycleInfraDay17!!!

Yes, the day has finally arrived for us to take to the streets of Glasgow and show the world exactly what our cycling infrastructure is like.  Some of it will be good, some of it will be bad, and we need to see it all so we can show it to the Council and help to make ours a true Cycling City.

Keep your camera with you today and when you spot any cycling infrastructure that you want to highlight (good or bad) – or if you spot somewhere that’s crying out for infrastructure it doesn’t have yet – take a picture and Tweet it with the hashtag #GlasgowCycleInfraDay17.  Don’t worry if you don’t have Twitter, you can still take part by emailing your pictures to us at CycleInfraDay@gmail.com.

You’ll be able to watch the gallery build throughout the day by keeping an eye on the hashtag on Twitter (you don’t need an account for this – just click this link), or by following the Twitter account (@CycleInfraDay).

Remember, this is supposed to be an easy way of documenting a day in the life of Glasgow’s cycling infrastructure.  So please be sensible; don’t go dashing across busy roads to get an ‘action shot’, or exploring the collapsed section of the cycle lane along the Clyde to show the damage after the weir jammed last week.

Most importantly… have fun!