Glasgow considers reclaiming roads in a pedestrian priority push
March 7 2022
Glasgow City Council has opened a consultation into a 'people focussed' draft City Centre Transformation Plan (CCTP) that calls for city centre roads and public spaces to be reallocated for active travel, green infrastructure and public transport.
The policy shift could see city centre streets gradually reprioritised for walking, cycling and buses over single-occupant vehicles to encourage healthy, inclusive and sustainable alternatives to the car.
If adopted the goal is to see 80% of rush hour travel in the city centre made by active travel or public transport by 2030, with a corresponding 30% reduction in peak private vehicle traffic.
Key to the approach will be the creation of a People First Zone bounded by Hope Street, Cowcaddens Road, North Hanover / Glassford Street and Howard Street. Tentatively planned for 2027 this area would be defined by wider pedestrian crossings, longer red lights and greater provision of pick up and drop off points around transport hubs.
Karen McGregor, portfolio director for project backers Sustrans said: “By prioritising active and sustainable transport options for Glasgow, The City Centre Transformation Plan underlines a strong commitment to building a greener future and furthering the ambitions of COP26. The proposals outlined in this comprehensive framework will not only make Glasgow’s street safer and its air cleaner, they will ensure that walking, wheeling and cycle is accessible for generations to come.”
The six-week consultation will commence in May following local government elections, before a final consideration in September.
Besides the wider environmental concerns, private cars, EV or not, have no place in our towns and cities. Before taking into account pollution and the deaths linked to it, particularly air pollution caused by vehicles, the number of deaths on our roads through reckless/distracted/drunk etc. driving every year is beyond shocking. Yet we seem to accept it as a fact of life; one of the motoring industry's greatest PR triumphs.
#1 is right in that cars can't be wished away. We need to take real action to reduce and remove cars from our roads. We need to be improving our public transport networks (emphasis on network – integration between modes is the key), and addressing issues of accessibility, both physical and fiscal. We need to build streets for people, those on foot and those on wheels, be it a bicycle, e-scooter, mobility scooter, wheelchair or rollerblades, with greenery and places to sit and eat lunch with colleagues or to read a book.
All this to say (or, tldr;, if you will): the cities of tomorrow are walkable, cyclable and, above all, liveable. We should be looking towards and following the examples set by Paris, Copenhagen and Barcelona. I applaud GCC for this initiative and look forward to the consultation.
Reducing car use in the tightly defined 'city centre' isn't a bad idea, but it's pushing at an open door. Trying to be seen to do something rather than looking at the city as a whole. Reducing car use in areas where people live is a whole different, and more difficult, proposition that what we have here. Frankly, the volume of traffic is a deterrent at rush hour in itself. But the plan fails to address two key issues.
Firstly, all this does is push the problem out of the city centre a little. The middle of Norfolk Street has always been an odd place to define the 'city centre' (should either stop at the river or include the Gorbals, Laurieston and Tradeston). So GCC seem to be saying it's ok to all pile into these areas and abandon cars to get into town? Great for people who work at George Square perhaps but pretty miserable for residents of these area's that until this document was propduced GCC have spent a lot of time regenerating.
Secondly, the traffic that actually is the least pedestrian and cyclist friendly are buses and taxi's yet they'll still be allowed (in fact they'll need to be increased to be seen to improving public transport). Pedestrian friendly means stopping having 12 buses nose to tail along any given street leaving pedestrians the only option but to try and sneak out between them to cross the road.
People aren't put of walking by the volume of traffic (by and large cars stick to the road not the footpath), the reason is usually the weather or the inescapable fact they live outside the tightly defined city centre and choose to use their car. The solution is introduce a congestion charge for the city centre and create a decent park and ride facility well out of town (say Silverburn, The Fort, Braehead all with ample parking and quick motorway link for buses). Then if people want to drive into the city they have a choice, but they'll have to pay for the privilege. At least that way GCC will be able to recoup some of the money they'll lose from people no longer parking in the on street, meter, parking spaces.
Great to see Transport 1800 getting all hot and bothered about BEVs -- have they never thought about the particulate issues from bike use / jogging / human life?
Loving the Barca / Copenhagen boosterism -- unfortunately both highlight the issue of 6 lane arterial roads with flat junctions running through a busy city and the problems they cause.
So here's to the M8 and the difference it makes to Glasgow life by removing traffic from pedestrian areas.
Remember -- when it comes to the impacts of transport corridors on city life: first they came for the M8 and then they came for the railways.
Only going half the way and creating loads of exceptions e.g. for disabled people and busses just makes it pointless. There are a lot of blue badge holders, exempting them will still mean a lot of traffic will go through the city centre.
For those who think cars are essential to city life - get over it.
If the cost of public transport is not severely cut, then there are other options than GCC, which will lead to businesses moving out.
Improving public realm is great and welcome but needs to be part of a holistic approach.
Interesting -- then you either have a degree in logistics / have a Rain man type memory for bus timings / you are always on the cadge regarding lifts from your parents or pals.
Or most likely -- a bit of all three.
Personal transportation is not the big evil -- building cities on the cheap with no provision for vehicle ownership is the issue.
And then you have the irony of a political class who boast about building new pavements but can't clean the ones we already have -- trying to sprint before they have learned to crawl would be one way of describing the current situation.
File under government by press release / never ending consultations -- not good.
Fat Bloke on Tour is a cynic and part of old guard that needs shaken up. ????
Or the poverty of distressed gentle folk who can't afford a new Audi and won't be seen dead in an old Ford -- discus !?!
City cars have a place in the Automotive Universe for a reason -- might be a case that they could do with a wider design spectrum to maximise their utility and minimise their environmental impact but they are needed and they are here to stay.
All this architect / urbanist chat about not needing a car is just a few trendy wendy one club golfers trying to convince themselves that they have made the right choice.
No chance -- they are just cadgers on the cadge but won't admit it.
GCC are claim to be encouraging a wider demographic to live in the city centre (CDP2 anyone!?), but these sorts of consultations suggest otherwise. You need to be fit, young and able to carry your shopping from the organic deli to your bijou residence.
Maturity means more experience of life therefore the mature / old fart viewpoint has more depth / more gravitas.
Doesn't mean they are right -- just a case that it needs more effort to prove that they are wrong.
A bungalow in Bearsden awaits too many of today's young hipster lite urbanist warriors -- just a case that they don't know it yet.
Life is currently a constant drudgery of pushing water up a hill and wondering why they are always wet.
Plus you have the situation where the car haters / refuseniks would appear to be male in the vast majority of cases -- I wonder if the penny will ever drop?
The hipster youth / car refuseniks of the People s Liberation Front for City Centre Living do come across as very middle class.
And very male.
I do think that with decent car parking on the outskirts of a car-free zone, (and simple, accessible public transport within it) then it's a very good idea.
However those that declare that cars are unnecessary are very lucky - they live and work in the city (or adjacent to a regular public transport service) and yes, they can make it work. But Scotland comprises many rural areas, and there are many people for whom a car is essential - tradespersons, anybody who has to work outwith the public transport routes, and anybody who lives in a rural location. A wholistic view is required - not everybody can get to work while drinking a takeaway coffee.
Living near town I have these things called legs that can take me anywhere and get me into a bus if farther.
People live to make excuses - I'm on the night shift and too tired to wait (not too tired to drive though). I'm a shift worker and need a car - so cannot be bothered car sharing?
Tradesmen will obviously have the same issues as London where the cost of congestion charge is added to their customers bill.
You can walk and drink coffee - multi tasker boaster.
Have they never heard of leasing / PCP / contract hire -- all of which help you manage your outgoings?
I fear that the anti-car vibe is just the insecurity of the distressed gentle folk cohort whose grandparents bought a Lancia Beta or a Leyland Princess back in the day and never really recovered their faith in personal transportation.
Also loving all the public transport chat in the wake of a global pandemic that has pushed back progress in this area by 20 or 30 years.
The Avenues project in Glasgow just highlights how the current political class couldn't manage their way around Tesco sorry Waitrose without knocking up a consultation paper to demand changes in the vegetable aisle.
Hopeless and clueless at the same time.
Also with the current level of violence against women it's not unreasonable for a women on a nightshift to elect not to wait for a bus in the middle of the night.
None of these are 'excuses' they are legitimate concerns of those with a different life situation to you. Consultations like this one invite us to show some empathy for our fellow citizens. If you give it a go you might find it rather enlightening, and in some cases horrifying.
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Something that Transport 1800 don't seem to understand for various reasons.
The young team can busk their way around town until they have sproggs and then the benefits of a car become all too apparent.
Cars can't be wished away.
And then you have the BEV revolution where we will need more on street charging facilities to go with the on street parking.
Reduce the effects of car use -- I'm in.
Eliminate car use -- don't be so blinkered / stupid.