The network aims to reduce transport pollution, congestion and road safety issues by making cycling more accessible for all throughout the city
On Tuesday 5 October, Glasgow City Council published part of its new strategy to promote active travel across the city, including an extensive new network of cycleways and upgraded footways. The new active travel strategy will sit alongside the recent Liveable Neighbourhood’s Plan, which aims to reduce dependency on private cars by improving access to daily services upon which people rely.
The combined strategies will identify opportunities for enhanced active travel along existing routes and repurposing of other routes following canals, rivers and old railway lines. The ambitious plans will add 270km of high-quality cycleways to the existing network and ensure that all schools are within 400m of main active travel routes, whilst no home will be further than 800m from a segregated cycle lane.
Ultimately, the aim is for those travelling by bike to reach most of the city in under 30 minutes and almost everywhere else within an hour.
Councillor and City Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Anna Richardson spoke about the reasoning behind the proposals and cited two main issues the plan intends to resolve. Firstly, there is a pressing need to reduce motorized traffic congestion in a growing city.
“Glasgow’s population is continuing to rise with the obvious consequence that more and more journeys are being taken in the city,” she said. “To avoid increasing traffic levels, congestion, air pollution and road safety issues in future, we must provide alternatives for people to get about the city.”
Secondly, she states that “safety is the number one reason for people being discouraged from using active travel and in particular, cycling.” Therefore, the new plans will meet the existing demand for cycling whilst also addressing these concerns of reluctant potential cyclists by providing segregated cycle lanes.
ECF Member Cycling Scotland has welcomed the proposed plans, stating that “Glasgow Council’s new commitment to a city-wide network of cycling infrastructure for all parts of Glasgow is central to helping people of all ages and abilities to cycle safely and confidently […] these plans could transform the city and we applaud the ambition of Convenor Richardson, a previous winner of the Cycling Champion of the Year Award, and the council.”
Cycling Scotland also noted that new physical infrastructure needs to be complemented by soft measures such as the Bikeability Scotland cycle training within schools that allow children to cycle safely and confidently within the city. Saying that “over 40,000 children received this training annually. We want every child in every primary school to have access to the free, Scottish Government-funded, on-road cycle training programme.”
The proposed plans also come at a time when the city is gearing up to welcome world leaders and climate experts to COP26 this November and signals the city’s genuine desire to tackle the climate crisis through concrete action. Nevertheless, the plans are not yet a reality and have only been presented in a paper to the Environment, Carbon Reduction and Sustainability Policy Development Committee.
Source: Ben Luoma (European Cyclist Federation)