Monday, 17 April 2017

An Interesting Response

Two important events are approaching. The first (and arguably most important!) is Pedal on Parliament. 

Och, that's old hat. Happens every year. Etc....

Well no. This year there is a twist. This year there are four, yes 4.... FOUR PoPs. As usual Edinburgh, and Aberdeen, but this year we add Inverness, and personally exciting for me....Glasgow!

Even better...due to the fact that Glasgow is on a different day (Sunday the 23rd April, the others are on the 22nd) you can attend two!

I'll be in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where will you be!?

The second important event is the local council elections (the main reason that we have spread to four cities!).

In my opinion, council elections are very different from national (Holyrood and Westminster elections). You don't have to, and shouldn't be voting on national issues. You should vote for what politicians have done, and say they will do locally. Thus, you shouldn't necessarily vote for the same parties you vote for nationally.

One place I think many should consider this is East Dunbartonshire.

Anyone who reads this blog will know that the SNP, Lib Dems and some independents voted against the extension of Bearsway. Labour and the Conservatives voted for it. I've blogged on the vote and the issues quite often before (you can read it here, here and here). In summary, the SNP led the vote against and had absolutely no reasonable argument to vote against it. In fact they weren't even voting on extending it, they were only voting on the council conducting detailed designs for the next phase.

The whole thing was stopped.

Anyway, on the run up to the elections I've been chasing the local SNP group for a statement on Bears Way, Would they support it? I've not been having much success and the only responses I've had had via Twitter have been poor. So I decided to contact Ian Mackay, as leader of the local SNP group. This is what I wrote.

Dear Ian, 
As leader of the SNP group in East Dunbartonshire can I please ask you to pass on the following message to your group. 
Firstly, as an organiser of Pedal on Parliament ( can I please extend an invitation to all of the East Dunbartonshire candidates to come along to the demonstration in Glasgow on the 23rd April, calling for councils to make their areas cycling friendly. Humza Yousaf will be there giving a speech and I know that SNP councillors and candidates from Glasgow and the surrounding areas will be attending. Could you please let me know if you will be sending a representative. 
Secondly, can I please ask for clarification on your parties stance on the Bears Way cycle lane. People on both sides of the argument deserve to know where you stand on the extension of the lane. 
Many thanks. I look forward to your reply. 
Best regards 
Dr David Brennan

Now before you read the response, take note of this document.  It is a Transport Options Appraisal Study that was commissioned by the council and conducted by WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff. There is a lot to read, but in summary it looks at different investments in transport that could be made, and provides cost benefits analysis.

Do Minimum
10 Years - 0.59, (Poor Value for money)
20 Years - 0.91 (Poor Value for money)
10 Years and 20 Years present Value
TRL593 GJT [1]elasticities, estimated journey time savings and average fares per journey. Non-user benefits are assessed using WebTAG[2] methodology.
%  journey time saving estimate derived from results of commercial systems published on the SCOOT [3]website.
Extension Milngavie Car Park 
3.04 (High Value for money)
Increasing car parking 134 spaces to 240
Park and Ride Demand Model. Details in Study Appendix.
Extension of Bears Way
3.98 (High Value for money)
4.43(Very high Value for money)
Phase 3 only (5% Background Growth)
Phases 2 and 3 (5% Background Growth)
Assessed utilising WebTAG Databook (Spring 2016 release v1.6)6. [5]

Do Something (Combined)
3.05 (High Value for money)
Extension of Milngavie car park and extension of Bears Way Phases 2 and 3.
Park and Ride Model and AMAT.
New Allander Railway Station   (Single track)
0.76 (Poor value for money)
150 Space Car Park
Bespoke demand forecasting and appraisal tool.[6] [7]
New Allander Railway station   (Single track)
1.17 (Low value for money)
550 Space car park
Bespoke demand forecasting and appraisal tool.
New Allander Railway station
(Double Track)
0.44 (Poor value for money)
150 Space Car Park
Bespoke demand forecasting and appraisal tool.
New Allander Railway station
(Double Track)
0.73 (Poor value for money)
550 Space car park
Bespoke demand forecasting and appraisal tool.

All you really need to note is that Bears Way extension scored very highly for value for money, and the new Allander railway halt, scored poorly. Now, read the reply...

Thank you for your e mail of 13 April regarding the Pedal on Parliament event on 23 April.
Regarding the SNP stance on the Bearsway I would refer you to the decision of the Council on 27 September 2016.  I have copied this below.

a) to note the Report and the review of Phase 1 and approves proposed
improvements bullet points 1 and 2 as detailed in 5.13, page 206, and instructs
Officers to report back to Council on the full implications and costs of bullet
points 3 and 4. The Report would include a full and meaningful public
consultation with all Community Councils in Bearsden and Milngavie, all
Residents’ Associations, bus operators, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport
and disability groups:
b) to note the options available for the continuation of the Bears Way following
the modelling exercise and the feedback from the recent consultation exercise;
c) not to proceed with any of the Phase 2 options;
d) to take note of all elements of public consultation and all comments received
from members of the community;
e) to note the recently organised and submitted petition by Mrs Aileen McIntyre
on that contained 2600 signatures, and numerous comments
regarding Bears Way; and
f) that any future works associated with Phase 1, or any subsequent works, must
Include the protection of residential, commercial and commuter parking.

Bearing this decision in mind we have serious concerns about the safety of the current design particularly at road junctions and crossings. We instigated a moratorium on the project until these concerns are addressed and are awaiting a Council report into the problems with the design of Phase 1. It should also be noted that with the development of the Kilmardinny/ Westpark site just started we still have to assess the impact of the additional access roads to the A81 which will inevitably adjust the scheme already constructed. With regard to the proposed phase 2 from Hillfoot to Kessington we cannot see how the current proposals can work without causing an adverse impact for other road users, particularly at the Boclair Road and Asda junctions.
The SNP group supports the Scottish Governments Active Travel Strategy. We recently secured a commitment from the Council to update all Active Travel Routes to Schools. This is to encourage walking, cycling or scooting to school by identifying safe routes. In addition we are heavily involved in the modal shift agenda encouraging motorists to use other forms of transport and are promoting a new Allander Rail Halt with Park and Ride facilities to assist these changes.
Best Regards
Let's quickly list the issues.

  1. He quotes the outcome of the council meeting. The one he knows I was at, and that I wrote about extensively. Very nice for him to reiterate the outcome.
  2. He suggests that phase 1 wasn't safe (it is, and any issues could have been corrected, but was stopped by the moratorium). I'd be interested to know what experts they have consulted on this.
  3. He suggests that he is waiting for a report. I've checked, and the people I spoke to (in the know) suggest that there is no report coming. What report is this?! I've asked.
  4. He has suggested that phase 2 wouldn't work. We don't know that, specifically because the moratorium stopped the very detailed planning that would have told us.
  5. Well, he says he is supporting SNP policy....I'll let you decide....
  6. And yes,....he is promoting the very things that a report commissioned by the council has already demonstrated that would be of the poorest value.
  7. Oh and he has ignored my invite.


So the best word I can think of that describes the local SNP response (and I stress local, because very good words are coming from SNP Glasgow) is ....Omnishambles. (Actually I can think of a better word, but it's a tad rude).

East Dunbartonshire SNP policy is a mess with regards to active travel. Can you really trust these same people with anything else?!

So what can we do?

Vote, and vote intelligently. Vote on local issues, not national. Don't vote because you like or don't like independence. Don't vote because you like or dislike Jeremy Corbyn.

Vote for the right people for the area. For its future. For a more progressive east Dunbartonshire.

Oh and just in case I haven't mentioned it. Come to PoP. If you are in Glasgow, or in a surrounding area, come on the 23rd. The Transport Minister will be there. Be friendly, but be firm. Let's leave everyone in no doubt that we demand a cycle friendly Scotland.

1 comment:

  1. Are there no Green councillors in East Dumbartonshire? If so - did they vote for or against?

    My local Scottish Green councillor (Martha Wardrop in the Hillhead Ward in Glasgow) has a history of opposing bike lanes (her comment on preventing parking in my nearest bike lane was "I am particularly concerned about the problems created for by the proposals for local businesses due to the reduction in parking due to implementation of the cycle lanes." - but you can't park in the bike lane without blocking the pavement too because the lane's so nbarrow!).

    She was equally obsessed with making sure there was plenty of parking for customers when a residents permit holder parking scheme as introduced in Dowanhill. I contacted her to complain about the proposed one-way scheme increasing the speed of cars and making cyclists take massive detours up a hill. She ignored me.

    I won't be voting Green again!