Council continues oppression of wheelchair users

I took this picture on Aikenhead Road, but you can see scenes like this all over the city. The footway has been blocked by contractors and there are no ramps to allow people in wheelchairs to move around this obstacle.

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It is yet another reminder, in case there was any doubt, that wheelchair users sit right at the bottom of Glasgow City Council’s priorities.

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A81 “Bears Way” cycle route review

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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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Another example. Notice the burned-off lane markings – for some reason, they’ve decided to make the northbound cycle lane even narrower:

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Only one was done properly, with a nice gentle taper. This is how all the bus stops should have been:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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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Glasgow City Council’s Strategic Plan to Nowhere

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).

It’s crap.

Sigh.

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.

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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:

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The same has been done for the farcical, non-existent “Glasgow Cycle Network”:

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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):

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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)

*projectile vomits*

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:

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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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Council raises two fingers to pedestrians (yet again)

Argyle Street, opposite the Kelvingrove Museum. Footway blocked off, with no diversion. A woman with a pram, trying to get back onto the footway with a bus bearing down on her:

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It would, of course, have been possible to take a lane out of the road to create a temporary footway past these works – but that would be War On The Motorist, and we can’t have that. Glasgow’s vicious Labour council despises pedestrians, and desires nothing more than to clear us all off the streets and into cars. Their decision not to provide a temporary footway here is just another carefully calculated step towards that goal.

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More tenth-rate cycling and walking infrastructure

Today I will put the boot into the “improved” Langlands Road in Govan. Marvel, dear readers, at the kind of conditions Glasgow City Council considers suitable for people walking and cycling to the city’s new “super-hospital“. Like this crap cycle lane, in the door zone of parked cars:

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And this crap cycle lane, which can quite lawfully be parked in due to the absence of segregation or even double-yellow lines:

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And this crap cycle lane, which is interrupted by a bus stop. How anyone, in this day and age, can design a cycle lane without floating bus stops and stay in a job is a mystery to me:

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There is also a picture of a bicycle painted on one of the footways. There is no discernible reason for cycling to be permitted here (or indeed on any footway). In any case, there are no dropped kerbs to allow the cyclist to get on to this “facility” from the carriageway:

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Pedestrians fare no better in this classic Labour dystopia. Here are some new kerbs, that haven’t been dropped for wheelchair users. The laziness of this council continues to astonish:

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Footway parking is, as ever, totally unchecked:

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Bus shelters continue to obstruct the footways, despite the construction of bus stop build-outs where they could be sited instead:

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Conclusion: this whole scheme is absolutely worthless trash.

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Glasgow City Council’s latest attack on pedestrians and cyclists

Glasgow City Council is always devising new ways to stamp out walking once and for all. This year, it has been the turn of the lucky residents of Govan to see their streets turned entirely over to the car-driving minority. This destruction has been greenwashed by attaching it to the Fastlink Bus Rapid Transit scheme – a very clever ruse, and exactly the type of thing I’ve come to expect from one of the nastiest councils in Britain.

Once upon a time, the traditional tenements on the north side of Govan Road were separated from the small roundabout at Golspie Street by an area of grass and trees. The council hates trees, as indeed it hates all things that don’t have engines, so they’ve been cut down and tarmacked over. The roundabout has also been converted to a monstrous signalled junction festooned with guardrail. Before (from Google Street View):

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After:

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Shocking vandalism.

One arm of the junction does not even have a pedestrian crossing:

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There are new dropped kerbs sited several metres away from the pedestrian desire line (a term I suspect the useless fuckwits at LES have never even heard of, let alone understand):

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Footways have been obstructed by the contractor’s clutter, preventing passage of wheelchairs:

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The contractors are also obstructing the opposite footway with their vans. Nobody at this crap council notices or cares:

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Pedestrian crossings have been shut off, with no temporary crossings provided:

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Further west, at the roundabout with Skipness Drive, zebra crossings are being ripped up to make way for signalled crossings. Can’t have those pedestrians getting too uppity by giving them priority, can we?

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Naturally, there are no temporary ramps to assist the wheelchair user in navigating these crossings. I would not be surprised if there were no dropped kerbs in the finished job, either. Wheelchair users have always been tenth-class citizens in Glasgow.

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The eastern end of the road has also been comprehensively messed up. Whoever decided on centre-running bus lanes was a complete moron who evidently knew nothing about cycling and cared even less. Cycling in these bus lanes is banned. Nearside bus lanes are better than nothing (though they are not proper cycling infrastructure), but even this faintest of protections is now to be denied to cyclists by the council. It’s not exactly difficult to imagine being tailgated and passed dangerously close by private motorists reluctant to entire the bus lane if you cycle along here:

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The cherry on the cake of this disaster is the location of the new Govan nextbike bike-share station. Despite there being ample space for it in a prominent location right outside the subway and bus station (visible in the background), it has inexplicably been sited on the opposite side of the road out of sight of passersby. Why, it’s almost as if they don’t want people to cycle! I shall be bringing this up the next time some council functionary starts mouthing platitudes about “integrated transport”.

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I had thought my contempt for this Labour council could sink no lower. Well, it just did. Everyone responsible for this should be fired.

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Uses for Glasgow cycle lanes #5023: selling cars

Clarence Drive, where the westbound cycle lane is used as a handy storage facility for cars that are up for sale:

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Naturally, Glasgow City Council does not regard this as a problem of any real significance. They’ve recently backed down on plans to paint double-yellow lines on this road in the face of opposition from a bunch of car-dependent local residents. Why their ludicrous complaints should be permitted to derail policies intended to promote cycling, for the good of the entire city, is unclear – but that is the situation. This useless council has never wanted to rock the (very comfortable) boat of the car owner, and never will. So, next time you’re cycling along Clarence Drive, remember that you’re the lowest of the low in this city’s transport hierarchy.

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