Since the first lockdown, the council's Spaces for People team has designed and implemented temporary travel infrastructure to provide additional public space for walking, wheeling and cycling during COVID-19.
Supported by funding from the Scottish Government (administered by Sustrans Scotland), the programme has delivered a raft of short-term measures in our city centre, city neighbourhoods and active travel routes - full details of which can be seen here.
Building on this progress we are taking forward more projects; including further pedestrian priority measures, additional cycle lanes, improved access to parks and open space, and more attractive physical distancing infrastructure in the city centre that will also support business recovery.
In the coming weeks we anticipate making further progress in the following areas:
A significant amount of road space was reallocated for walking and wheeling at the start of the pandemic in anticipation of a gradual lessening of restrictions. Given the ongoing COVID-19 limitations however some of these measures were recently removed to allow a focus on delivering temporary infrastructure where it's most needed and to improve its look and feel, with some infrastructure set to be replaced as required with planting, seats and attractive street furniture.
Larger style planters and trees will be used around George Square to green the space as well as restrict vehicle movement. Complimentary work is also expected around St Vincent Place and Queen Street, as well as Merchant City.
Temporary footway widening will remain in situ around our main transport hubs and busier bus stops, however further measures may be needed elsewhere as and when restrictions are anticipated to ease, and footfall starts to increase.
Pop-Up Cycle Lanes:
We are continuing to add new active travel infrastructure with the implementation of a further 10km of (soft) segregated cycle lanes. Locations earmarked for future work are Brockburn Road, Cambridge Street, Braidcraft Road, Howard Street, Royston Road and Wallacewell Road - with full details to be made available as soon as possible.
Improved Access to Parks and Open Space:
We will soon be increasing signage within our parks and providing wayfinding on routes to help ease physical distancing. A programme of vegetation clearance to remove obstructions on public footways is also being undertaken.
Increased Pedestrian Priority at Junctions:
An early Spaces for People intervention saw the need for pedestrians to use the push buttons at crossings eliminated to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. This popular measure which is now in operation at over 50 sets of lights is being rolled out more widely throughout the city.
Our first low traffic (or quieter) neighbourhood is being progressed at Dennistoun to encourage connected walking, wheeling and cycling, whilst reducing or preventing access to 'through' motor traffic. Further schemes are under consideration as part of the next Spaces for people phase.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we will look to maintain temporary Spaces for People measures during their transition to permanence or prior to their removal. This follows on from a commitment made by the council last June that all SFP measures will be evaluated with the view of making them permanent, following consultation and before any relevant Temporary Traffic Regulation Order(s) expire. To this end, the council will work with Sustrans to agree a monitoring and review process and thereafter to appoint an independent consultant to carry out a review of the infrastructure delivered and make recommendations on which measures should be made permanent.
It is proposed that this review would take place from April/May onwards and a report presented to Committee for decision thereafter.
Cllr Anna Richardson, Convenor for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction said: "Since the start of lockdown, our Spaces for People programme has responded quickly and flexibly to help suppress the virus through the rapid delivery of temporary travel infrastructure that has created and safeguarded extra space for walking, wheeling and cycling. Examples include the early closure of Kelvin Way to traffic which has proved highly popular for active travel, and the pop-up cycle lane on the Clydeside which has helped to significantly boost cycling popularity in this part of the city.
"We'll soon be consulting on making Spaces for People measures permanent and by doing so we aim to leave a legacy of supporting the conditions that encourage greater rates of walking, wheeling and cycling in the future - which in turn helps to reduce air pollution, improves health and wellbeing, reduces our carbon footprint and helps manage demand on our public transport network."