Glasgow City Council’s consultations website is now inviting comments on a rewritten version of the Strategic Plan for Cycling (you will need to click through to Current Consultations – the amateurish website doesn’t seem to be allowing direct links).
What I hate most about it is the relentless aren’t-we-so-fucking-great tone that runs all the way through. Cycling in Glasgow has fundamental problems that need to be recognised and addressed. The plan does not do this.
Cycling in Glasgow: now with 160% more shite
The big idea seems to be the “City Ways”, a “network of high quality cycle corridors on key routes to the city centre from the north, south, east and west” (p21). We are clearly supposed to believe that these routes will be built on main roads, but the need to identify specific roads has been cleverly avoided by the use of diagrams, rather than maps, of the proposed routes:
The same has been done for the farcical, non-existent “Glasgow Cycle Network”:
This is because the political will to provide segregated cycleways on the busiest main roads does not exist.
The proposed design standards should also be regarded with extreme scepticism:
City Ways will include off-road paths, segregated cycle tracks, buffer zones to protect cyclists if the removal of parking is not possible, and early starts for cyclists at signalised junctions. (p21)
“Buffer zones”: sounds like bus lanes – or worse, advisory cycle lanes with a crappy little strip of painted hatching next to parked cars – to me.
We will continue to implement routes and facilities using Cycling by Design as a minimum standard. (p20)
It’s news to me that Glasgow City Council has ever followed even this feeble standard, which was outdated before it was written and is a national embarrassment. The thought of this parochial little manual, covered in the grubby fingerprints of petrol addicts, still being used in 2025 is the sort of thing that gives me sleepless nights.
Certain things are notable by omission. There is not a word about keeping cycle facilities free of snow, leaves, and potholes – or the perennial obstruction of cycle facilities of all kinds by lawless drivers. No serious funding is attached to the strategy (no – spending “above the Scottish national average per head of population”, i.e. hee-haw, is not serious).
Another thing that jumps out is the implicit abandonment of the Scottish Government’s “shared vision” for a 10% cycling modal share by 2020. The council does not even propose to achieve this by 2025 (p14):
Faith also continues to be placed in all the usual failed witch-doctor remedies:
Since 2007 we have provided at least 100 bicycle parking spaces per year and we will continue to adhere to this (p20)
Gosh, as many as a hundred? You’re spoiling us.
Addressing driver behaviour is an important aspect of making cycling safer. We will work with partners to promote respect between road users and demonstrate how to share the road space available. (p27)
This does not work.
advanced stop lines, Toucan crossings (p23)
What will end up happening is very easy to predict. The most likely scenario is that this plan will be put on a shelf as soon as it’s adopted and never looked at again, because it will by then have fulfilled its primary function of generating wholly undeserved acres of positive publicity for our crap council. In the event that some infrastructure is actually built, it will be of the usual low quality and in places where it won’t upset drivers too much. It will then not be maintained or enforced. The use of the abysmal and totally failed Connect2 route (now rebadged as the “West City Way”) as an example of the kind of thing we need more of neatly underlines this reality:
The most important thing to take away from this is that nothing is going to improve. This is not a plan to succeed – it is merely a plan to fail slightly less spectacularly than at present.
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