£9 Million Byres Road Plans Risk a Missed Opportunity
Glasgow has outgrown the private car. The air we breathe is unsafe, our roads are crumbling under ever-increasing traffic volumes and our transport system is failing to address the needs of the half of households in the city without access to a car. Other parts of the city are benefiting from investment to make it easier for people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle safely.
However, spending £9 million on Byres Road to simply install pretty stone pavements and cycle space that has no protection from traffic isn't good value for money in one of the most vibrant parts of Glasgow. Redefining Byres Road as a place for people rather than a space for cars - a safer, cleaner, less congested, more vibrant destination to work, live, shop and play - is achievable but requires vision.
Green councillors Martha Wardrop and Martin Bartos and Glasgow MSP Patrick Harvie are already pushing Glasgow City Council to go further with their ambitions, but they need your help. Tell the Council they need to do more to create a Byres Road for everyone.
Our vision for Byres Road is a Green vision for everyone:
A street that prioritises people rather than vehicles
Clean and healthy with breathable air
Safe enough for children to walk or cycle
A variety of independent and high street shops and cafes
Less congestion on the pavement and the road
Well connected by eco-friendly transport systems
To support our vision please respond to the consultation before Wednesday 27 June. You can see the consultation documents by clicking here: https://www.glasgowconsult.co.uk/UploadedFiles/Byres%20Road%20-%20Exhibition%20Panels.pdf , and you can respond by clicking here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BRPP2018 .
You can use our suggested text, below, to get you started and copy and paste it into the comments box at question 3. However, your response will have more impact if you personalise it and speak from your own experience.
1. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
2. The Byres Road Placemaking Plan set out the following vision:
“Rejuvenate the quality of Byres Road streetscape and public realm to create a people-focussed place that enhances the pedestrian experience, promotes social interaction and dwell time, enhances the economic vibrancy of shops and services and improves its cycle-friendliness and environmental performance.”
To what extent do you think the proposed design will deliver the vision?
Delivers a few aspects of the vision
3. Do you have any other comments on the draft proposals?
I object to the proposals on the grounds that they do not go far enough to improve air quality, improve conditions for cycling, and reduce the amount of motor traffic on Byres Road. Some aspects of the plans are very welcome such as wider pavements; level footways across side roads; a reduction in car parking; the 20mph speed limit; and the one-way system in the southern section. These will all contribute to making the environment of Byres Road more pleasant than it is currently.
While the consultation documents outline a placemaking approach, it has been stated that Byres Road is to retain a function as both a high street and as a major through road. I believe that these two functions are incompatible and priority should be given to implementing the placemaking report and in setting a vision for the street to be used differently in the future. By retaining both functions, the placemaking outcomes will be impossible to achieve and that is seen in the many problems with these current proposals.
With regards to pedestrian space, the wider pavements in the plans are welcome. However, while crossings of minor side roads will be raised, the prominent kerb lines mean that drivers will still feel that they have priority over people on the pavements. Removing the kerb lines will make it clear that people on the footway should have priority at these junctions. There are justifiable concerns from those with visual impairments that some non-visual indication is needed as a warning that pedestrians are entering a space which traffic might cross. However, there are other solutions, such as a different paving texture, which would still respect the transport hierarchy. There are no additional pedestrian crossings provided. As levels of through traffic will not be reduced, it will remain difficult for people to cross from one side of Byres Road to the other. More crossings should be provided, or traffic levels should be reduced.
The proposed cycle lanes are not of an acceptable quality as they offer no physical protection from motor vehicles for people cycling. They do not respect the nationally approved transport hierarchy as they have prioritised the needs of motor vehicles over those of cyclists. Vehicles will need to cross the lanes to access bus stops and loading and parking bays, leading to conflict with cyclists and damage over time to the proposed sett surface. People cycling will be at risk of “dooring” when passing cars in parking bays. The potential for conflict at junctions with side roads remains high and the proposed cycle gates are compromised by the lack of protected space leading up to them. This will remain a hostile and risky environment to cycle in and will totally fail to encourage anyone who does not already cycle down Byres Road to do so. In particular it does not make provision for vulnerable cyclists such as children or those using mobility aids. Many of these issues could be mitigated by placing the cycle lanes in between the footway and the parking and loading bays, and by removing parking and loading bays in the narrowest part of the street.
There is also no indication of what provision there will be for cycle parking. This should be treated as integral to any design and not as an afterthought. The final proposal should include an assessment of the number of formal bike spaces (as opposed to railings & other sites which cyclists often have to use). Locations for additional covered bike racks should also be identified.
Glasgow City Council knows how to design high quality cycle infrastructure and it is disappointing that excuses have been found to avoid doing so here when enabling a higher cycling modal share is a strategic target of the council. Without cycling infrastructure which matches the standard of that elsewhere in the city, people who might travel by bike are likely to travel to Byres Road by car or choose to go elsewhere.
It is important to see reductions in traffic volume if there is to be any significant improvement in bus provision or air quality and the current plans give no indication that this will be achieved. With no reduction in traffic levels, buses will continue to be delayed by queues of cars. Parking and loading bays on the narrowest part of the street will add to congestion as vehicles pulling in and out of them will hold up everyone behind. Both of these will have a negative impact on air quality. Consideration should be given to removing all parking in the narrowest parts of the street and to having timed restrictions on loading. Given that Byres Road has consistently breached legal limits for air pollution, the final proposal must be accompanied by independent modelling which demonstrates an improvement to air quality.
Consideration should be given to moving the taxi rank at Hillhead underground station. This is one of the obstacles to segregated cycle lanes and the current site is also unpopular with residents. An alternative location should be chosen which minimises the impact on residents and other transport modes. If the taxi rank remains in its current location, specific measures must be taken to reduce the risk to the cycle lane. The physical separation between the cycle lane and the taxi rank should be significant enough to prevent taxis pulling out at any point; only the taxi at the front of the queue should be physically able to re-enter the road, and the design and markings should reinforce to drivers the fact that re-entering the road involves turning right across a cycle lane.