Glasgow's problems are complex and work is ongoing to try and solve some of these issues. However, transport (including transport deprivation with less than 50% of Glasgow households having access to a car) is not an issue that Glasgow is tackling at all, at least not in any significant and meaningful way. The only significant spends on transport in recent years are on more motorway building. £692m for a 5 mile route.
Glasgow's transport arteries are clogged at the best of times. I have posted many congestion videos in the past. However, Glasgow's arteries are getting worse and are now critically blocked. There is little room for 'collateral flow'. It only takes one road 6 miles away being reduced from two lanes down to one to cause complete traffic chaos and transport meltdown.
Here is my experience of my commute this morning to the Southern General Hospital on one particular 2.4 mile stretch of road. I'm on my bike and cycling from north west of the city towards the south.
A quick calculation suggests I was travelling at just over 3200 cars an hour.
With the new Southern General Hospital currently being built south of the river (I work in the old part) many jobs are being transferred from elsewhere to this one location. Is this traffic a vision of Carmageddon that will affect this area more regularly in the future? With the government solution to congestion being to 'build more roads', which in turn induces more demand for the car, what will become of this area in years to come? Where is the space to build these new roads? Will public transport be the answer?
With the hospital build comes a number of new multi-story car parks and a small spattering of cycle parking (at least I assume there will be some cycle parking...). A small budget has been set aside for some cycle infrastructure close to the hospital. Unfortunately, the only draft plans I have seen focus on paint on the road, shared use lanes (shared with pedestrian ) and improved lighting.
That'll do it.......hmmmm.....
Even these inadequate plans do not extend beyond a kilometre or so of the hospital and there are no plans for any cycle infrastructure on the stretch of road in the video, so scenes like this are set to continue and probably to get worse.
I have been accused of being negative in my campaigning by some. I think those commentators are probably right. If I look back at the tone of my blog posts and average them over time I am certain the tone would be generally negative.
Cycling is fun, it is healthy, it does in the long term save lives. I nearly always enjoy my commutes to and from work and I gain huge amounts of joy from seeing my children taking their first pedal strides on their own journeys towards independence.
Let me be quite clear, I love cycling and feel very positive about it, and it's future. There would be no point in campaigning if I didn't.
My critics, however, rarely come from Glasgow. They very rarely cycle on the streets that I ride, day in day out. They don't generally understand that my negativity is borne out of frustration. I know what the road conditions could be like, compared to the reality I currently face on the street. They also don't understand how big a mountain Glasgow has to climb to become anywhere near a cycle friendly city.
But! And this is an important but. That does not mean that I throw my hands up in the air and say,
It'll never happen. Why bother!?
Glasgow and Scotland will one day be cycle friendly. Of that I am certain. Yes, it probably won't exist for my children, but if we start now, and we really put our hearts and souls into it, it could be a reality for our children's children.
So I ask you to share my video from today, and when you do, ask those you share it with, is this the future for Scotland's and the UK cities? Is it time to for change?
Unless we all believe that that we can change the landscapes of our cities then we are doomed to have cities that will never again be called, Dear Green Places.