Following a comment on Twitter I was asked by Sarah Boyack, Shadow Cabinet Member for Environmental Justice, to follow up with an email to detail my concerns. I have reproduced that email below.
Dear Ms Boyack
Thank you for your interest in the development of cycling infrastructure.
I wanted to illustrate the problem of brand new cycling infrastructure being built that is of little use to anyone. The section of NCN74 between Rutherglen and Cambuslang is unfortunately such an example, and indeed is one of the worst sections of new cycle route I have ever seen. I believe the route was designed and implemented by South Lanarkshire Council rather than Sustrans. I rode the route eastbound, and due to the nature of the route cannot comment on the westbound provision on the eastern half of this section since the road is wide and busy, so I was concentrating on navigating and not being run over, etc.
This route divides into two sections. West of the junction of Main St and Hamilton Road the route uses back streets and residential streets, and is generally on-road on quiet roads (except for rat-running traffic on Hamilton Road). East of this point the route is along the main A724 Cambuslang Road/Glasgow Road and is a mixture of on-road painted cycle lanes and shared-use footway. Given this mix, it is hard to imagine a single user who would use this route in its entirety. If one is happy cycling on the busy A724, then the slightly less busy Main Street will be preferrable to using the less direct back streets, while for those wishing to avoid heavy traffic the A724 is totally unacceptable.
The design also has the problems of:
I took some photographs and present a selection of them here to illustrate these points.
The route starts in King St, Rutherglen, where a junction is made with another cycle route, NCN756. However, little thought has gone into this junction, and riders are required to bump a kerb.
The route heads east along King St, but this road is one-way westbound for part of its length, so cyclists have been directed to use a narrow footway, between parked cars and properties fronting onto the street.
Once the cycle route returns to the carriageway there are numerous examples of painted cycle lanes leading cyclists into (legally) parked cars. In most places, no account has been made of where cars may be parked and where cyclists will need to position themselves.
The traffic calming chicanes on Hamilton Road (which fail to deter rat-running through traffic) have cycle lanes painted in one direction around them. These appear to encourage motorists to overtake cyclists whilst in the chicane.
When the route joins the A724 nothing more than painted cycle lanes and Advance Stop Lines are provided for the on-road sections. There is no advance warning in most cases of when the cycle route expects users to leave the carriageway for the footway, or when to rejoin the carriageway.
In some cases, the cycle lanes have been painted within the space occupied by other traffic lanes, meaning that the space is shared with motor traffic and is not dedicated to cyclists.
Where cycle lanes pass outside of car parking laybys, they are painted in the 'doorzone' (the space in the road where car doors open into) which is a highly dangerous place to cycle in.
The route has been signed with standard direction signs, but on the on-road sections signage should be provided with signs on the approach to junctions so cyclists can see where to turn and prepare for the turn, rather than only see the sign as they go past the junction already committed to a particular manoeuvre. Several primary schools are listed on direction signs along this route, including the A724. I for one would not take any children cycling along this route, let alone allow them to do so unaccompanied.
I have added my photographs, including those listed above, to the group http://www.cyclestreets.net/photomap/tags/ncn74/ which includes photographs from other sections of the route.
I hope this helps you to understand my frustration about this and other routes being built to an unacceptable standard and that you are able to influence those in power to get matters put right. I support the provision of properly designed and built cycling infrastructure, but this does not fulfill any useful function and is a complete waste of money.