Commentary

Website by Andy Preece

This is an occasional commentary on cycling and unrelated issues - 'blog' if you must - and will be updated from time to time.


Posted 9 February 2014:
Oh, don't you love it when people try and meddle with things they don't understand! Councillor Audrey Doig is "trying to reduce congestion" by having buses lay over at a bus stop with an off-carriageway stopping area, claiming the previous terminus at Alford Place is unsuitable since "the increased bus traffic continually stopping is actually a danger to other vehicles and pedestrians". However, her proposed terminus is part of the way along the road from East Fulton into the centre of Linwood, meaning that anyone boarding a bus around the Gilmartin Road loop will now have to sit tight while the driver waits time, has a break, and readies the bus for its return journey to Glasgow.

The Alford Place bus stop is at the furthest extent of the route, so is most suitable for being the terminus. If the road needs altered due to an increase in bus traffic, car traffic (a large new school was built nearby not so long ago), or even pedestrian traffic, then her council should build an off-carriageway bus stop facility there. Has there been an increase in terminating bus traffic? Well, First Glasgow's service 9 has terminated there for at least 15 years, the McGill's (previously Arriva Scotland West) service 7 is newer, but the Riverside service 9 (previously 8A) has been withdrawn. There are fields on that side of the road and no footway (other than at the bus stop itself), so I doubt pedestrian traffic has increased. So I suspect that it is the car traffic that has increased, quite possibly due to the new school.

I wonder what the councillor will make of the complaints from her constituents about having to wait on the bus at the bus stop in Clippens Road.


Posted 8 February 2014:
I guess I can be forgiven for being amazed at this too. A report of a council stakeholder workshop about a proposed cycle route along the A81 between Milngavie and the Glasgow boundary that I was sent:

  1. Segregated 3 metre 2-way cycle lane from Milngavie to Glasgow boundary.
  2. On-road and segregated, probably by kerbs or armadillos, on East side of A81, although first section from Milngavie to Allander Sports Centre will be on West side of road, crossing at the proposed entrance to the housing development.
  3. Section through Hillfoot will be on shared-used footway.
  4. Cycle lanes will be mandatory.
  5. There is an acceptance that fast club/commuting cyclists will stay on the road.
  6. The road section through Hillfoot will be coloured surface and have a compulsory 20mph speed restriction.
  7. There will be quite extensive parking restrictions, but these shouldn't affect a segregated track.
  8. Decision to be made on whether to build one section fully, per year, say Milngavie to Hillfoot, or one element fully, say segregation year 1 and surface year 2, as funding might not allow full implementation in one go.

Item 5: "There is an acceptance that fast club/commuting cyclists will stay on the road." Is this not an admission that what they intend to do will be poor quality and the existing busy road will be a more attractive place for anyone cycling fast to cycle? I hope not, but I can't help fearing that if this scheme is being built on the basis that fast cyclists won't use it, then it will be built to low standards, suited only to cyclists who currently (illegally) cycle on the footway.


Posted 5 February 2014:
I've had a couple of reasons to be amazed of late.

Firstly, the fuss over the Advertising Standards Authority's decision to ban a road safety advert over the inclusion of a cyclist without a helmet in the advert. The ban was swiftly suspended, pending a review. The advert itself was promoting how motorists should overtake cyclists on the road - with plenty of space - but this seems to have got lost somewhere along the way. Instead the helmet debate has reared its head, although one or two people have also noticed that the ASA criticised the road position of the cyclist, saying she should be closer to the 'parking lane', whatever that is (there was no marked parking spaces on the road in the advert). However, the advert itself clearly showed some potholes in the road that the cyclist was sensibly passing on the outside. The road also had a cobbled gutter, making it harder to cycle closer to the kerb. In any case, the overtaking car barely crossed the centre line when being driven passed the cyclist. The cyclist herself was not going especially fast, and on a quiet road in Pollokshields is not really in need of any additional safety hat. In any case, I think the advertising campaign ended some time ago, so the ban was somewhat irrelevant!

The second item to amaze me was Glasgow City Council's proposed Fastlink busway. This scheme, on which construction has already started, has just been out to consultation for the Traffic Regulation Orders (the legal documents that specify what restrictions and prohibitions there will be when the road opens). Although Glasgow City Council didn't make the cycle provision details public as part of this public consultation, copies of the cycle plans did emerge and got distributed around the various cycle campaign groups. On seeing that the scheme would have a significant impact on road cycling (new pinch-points, single lane sections where previously there had been bus lanes, no cycling on the busway and instead having to share with all the other traffic) and the proposed compensatory measures of permitting cycling on various existing footways, including some convoluted multi-stage road crossings through pedestrian guard-rail cages, a number of objections went in to the council. The council has now replied saying that there will be an assessment of the objections. However, the council's cycling czar had already informed us that the Fastlink project has been in the pipeline for about 10 years, and this explained the lack of cycling provision. But other schemes such as the Clyde Gateway have also been in the pipeline for a long time and have had cycling incorporated into them (in the case of the Clyde Gateway at a later stage since the original proposed cycling provision of parallel routes on the roads the new road was to 'relieve' didn't happen and instead cycling provision was made on the new road itself). While the provision on the Clyde Gateway is not perfect, it is a world away from what has been proposed as part of Fastlink. Why was a similar exercise not conducted at a earlier stage, and copied the same style of provision onto the Fastlink route? Now construction is underway and in some areas partly complete, it will be rather expensive to alter the infrastructure.


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