I meant to publish this post weeks ago, during the Games, when it would have been most relevant, but other things got in the way. Oh well.
We fully understand the need to make sure the Games are safe and secure for everyone. But we don’t understand why on the one hand people are being encouraged to cycle and walk to events, but are being discouraged from doing so with routes that are complex, fiddly and avoid high-quality infrastructure, such as the NCN
He’s talking about the closure of several National Cycle Network routes in Glasgow which occurred before, during, and after the Commonwealth Games in the name of “security”. He’s quite right to object to the closures – it’s a scandal in this would-be cycling city, European Green Capital, city of active living, etc. – but the notion that the NCN is “high-quality” is delusional. I think John needs to get out more so he can see the state of the infrastructure his organisation puts its name to.
Let’s take a look at the NCN75 today, and see what John reckons “high-quality infrastructure” for cycling looks like. This route is not only complex and fiddly, but slow, subjectively and objectively dangerous, and severely deficient in every way. In addition, far from the Games closures being a one-off, these facilities are actually obstructed quite routinely.
This is the section between the Riverside Museum and the SECC, where there’s no lighting and no natural surveillance. Desolate. Enclosed. Terrifying.
Crap shared pavement with one of Glasgow City Council’s giant propaganda boards obnoxiously plonked right in the middle of it:
Just beyond this is the degraded crossing point created in connection with Fastlink that I wrote about the other week. It’s reasonably plain sailing from there to the Tradeston bridge – apart from the bit in front of the flats at Lancefield Quay, which is too narrow and well over capacity – but after that you’ve got 2 options, both astonishingly poor in their own ways.
The first option is to continue cycling beside the river, where you’ll find the effective width of the path massively reduced by these big black things. I don’t know exactly what these are – they’re for tying boats to or something, right? Well, newsflash: Glasgow isn’t the world’s major centre of heavy industry any more. There are no ships this far up the Clyde these days. Rip ‘em up.
If you enjoy blind corners, sharp on-the-spot turns, overgrown vegetation, and being crowded into ludicrously narrow spaces, you can then take this ramp up to street level:
The second option is to leave the riverside path and ride along the shared-use pavement that runs along parallel Broomielaw. It is far too narrow and there are not even any dropped kerbs where it gives way to a bingo hall car park. Careful, now!
Both of these options lead you to a toucan crossing of King George V Bridge and underneath Central Station bridge with more shared-use:
On, to an under-bridge of Glasgow Bridge, which is too dark and not wide enough:
Note the “courtesy signs”, urging pedestrians and cyclists to “be considerate” to one another, installed as a feeble substitute for effective infrastructure:
If you want to leave NCN75 and head towards St Enoch, you can do so with this innovative “one-at-a-time” ramp:
If you carry on along NCN75 you’ll come to the shared path on Clyde Street, which was obstructed for weeks on end by contractors working on a railway bridge. The conflict this caused is immortalised in the latest Google Street View images. The council could have created a temporary cycle track here, by placing concrete barriers in the road, but chose not to – preferring to prioritise the motorist and leave pedestrians and cyclists fighting over the remaining scrap of path instead. I don’t recall a peep of dissent from Sustrans then.
Conclusion: Sustrans and their “high-quality infrastructure” are impediments to a civilised Glasgow.
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