East Dunbartonshire Council recently finished construction of a new cycle route along the A81 through Bearsden, so I’ve been along to take some photos! For more details, please do see:
The Bears Way is a ~2.5-metre-wide bidirectional segregated cycleway that runs for about a mile from Burnbrae Roundabout to Hillfoot. This facility has replaced some bog-standard advisory cycle lanes. The design has advantages (car parking for residents was retained) and disadvantages (as a cyclist, it can be difficult and time-consuming to enter the cycleway if you’re on the “wrong” side of the road). It has fresh tarmac from end to end, so it’s very smooth! Top marks to East Dunbartonshire there. Glasgow’s lazy council, by contrast, prefers to leave the crappy old pothole-ridden road surface in place when they build cycleways.
At one point the cycleway switches from one side of the road to the other. The crossing is a toucan so you need to press a button, which is a bit annoying:
The cycleway has priority over all side roads, but in each case this is less safe than it might be. One has a mediocre imitation of the best Dutch design:
It’s set back from the road and on a raised table, which is great, but visual priority is disrupted by the tactile paving, kerbs, double-yellow lines, and lack of a distinct colour for the cycleway.
This design is more typical:
A bit too ambiguous for me, I’m afraid. There’s clearly a risk of cyclists being left-hooked here. The side roads didn’t seem to have much traffic when I visited, so it might turn out not to be much of an issue, but I don’t know what they’re like at different times of the day.
The bus stops have been commented on elsewhere, and I agree that they are generally of a poor design. Here, people have to step almost directly into the cycleway when they get off the bus – not good.
This one has a floating bus stop (good!), but a chicane reduces the usable width of the cycleway to the point that it is dangerous. It isn’t even effective at slowing cyclists, because it’s easy to dodge it by going onto the wrong side of the path.
Another example. Notice the burned-off lane markings – for some reason, they’ve decided to make the northbound cycle lane even narrower:
Only one was done properly, with a nice gentle taper. This is how all the bus stops should have been:
The cycleway conks out before it reaches Hillfoot shops and railway station (i.e. useful destinations), so it’s back onto the road. This is supposedly going to be extended southwards in future, but I don’t see how – more on that in a bit:
Despite the flaws, I don’t think this is a completely awful cycle route. I would probably use I if I lived in the area. Sadly, it’s clear that this is a standalone scheme, not part of any wider plan. The council has been hard at work rebuilding the roads at each end of the cycle route to make any extension more difficult and expensive.
The possibility of the cycleway being extended northwards into Milngavie town centre along Main Street is very obvious. The road layout, with low-quality advisory cycle lanes, is the same as the former layout of the A81 – it could be upgraded in the same way:
As you can see, things just need to be shifted around a bit. Easy peasy. Unfortunately, this common-sense idea has been stymied by the construction of a new cattle-pen in the middle of the road:
This absurd, oppressive, hateful structure compels pedestrians to cross a simple two-lane road in two separate stages simply to cut a few seconds off the time drivers have to wait at a red light. It also takes up a lot of space. It will have to be dug up and changed to a straight-across crossing to make way for a cycleway.
At the southern end of the route, outside Hillfoot shops, the part of the road where a future cycleway needs to go has been turned into car parking bays, complete with pavement build-outs. The same has been done on the other side of the road. There’s nowhere else for a cycleway to go:
Politically, I’d say the chances of getting rid of these parking bays, now that they’ve been institutionalised, is remote. The stupidity on display here staggers me. It is unforgivable. I despair, I really do.
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