Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A Frank Letter

As a follow up to the meeting with Cllrs McAveety and Watson yesterday in Glasgow I sent the following e-mail to them both today.

Whilst I am very grateful that we had a chance to meet yesterday and to discuss our issues, I was disappointed with the overall outcome of the meeting. I know you will go away and investigate policy, talk to others etc, but the flat refusal to even consider future budgets for active travel (or to indicate who within the council had the power or influence to drive such changes forward) was really quite depressing. I also find it hard to imagine how the planning process can be improved with the short time scales that that council officers have to deliver the projects, given the piecemeal approach to funding (almost exclusively from external sources).

The lack of targets for cycling participation and any detailed plan to reach those targets is also of great concern.

This comes at a time when Edinburgh is reporting back on its spending on active travel for 2013-14 which was at 6% of its transport budget over the last year ( rising to 7% in the next financial year. Edinburgh also has targets set for participation in cycling (10% of all trips by 2020).

Edinburgh also has a clear plan and is following it up with reviews of progress. (

I am certainly not suggesting that everything in the Edinburgh plan is perfect (dual networks is not a good way forward), however they are making progress and widening gulf between the two cities. Edinburgh demonstrates that setting targets (including spending targets), providing detailed planning, and allowing for proper public consultation are actually possible despite what we heard at the meeting yesterday.

Yes, progress is hard, and convincing politicians within the council that this is the way to go will be difficult, but not doing so will be harder. Not harder on you, the politicians, but harder on the people of Glasgow who have to continue to face the consequences of pollution, congestion, poor health and transport deprivation.

Whilst I live just outside the boundaries of the City of Glasgow itself, having been born there, having lived there and as I currently work there, I feel proud to call myself a Glaswegian. Yet, I am increasingly finding myself feeling envious of our friends in Edinburgh and in the many, many cities worldwide who are also rediscovering the many benefits of active travel for the improvement of their cities. My pride is tinged with a touch of embarrassment at how poorly the city treats anyone who isn't travelling on our roads by car.

As the current Glasgow slogan suggests: People Make Glasgow. Perhaps its time we start to make Glasgow for the people and not just for people with a car.


1 comment:

  1. Well written. As a Edinburgh resident who works and stays in Glasgow quite often I can feel your pain here. Hope things are changing, it is a shame for a city thats sells itself with its great sports infrastructure to not even provide and consider the basics of active travel.