‘BOULEVARD-Style’ Aspiration For Glasgow City Centre’s M8 Corridor

22 September, 2023 | Active Travel

GLASGOW City Council wants research to start into whether the city centre stretch of the M8 could become a “lower-speed boulevard-style road”.

An update on the council’s aspirations to reduce the impact of the motorway corridor on Glasgow City Centre includes short-term suggestions including a lower speed limit and putting up green walls next to it.

A report by officials states: “Part of the M8 motorway runs through the centre of Glasgow, separating the City Centre from the north and west of the city.

“This barrier creates a negative impact on the City Centre as a place, in terms of community severance, pollution, noise and blight of adjacent land. The M8 reduces the number of available crossing points for active travel and these are often very car-centric.

“The council clearly recognises these issues and the recently opened Sighthill Bridge provides an example of how the impact can be directly reduced.

“It should also be recognised that the M8 serves the city strategically, both in the movement of people and goods, and in some stretches may act to remove trips from the local road network.

“The council has expressed a desire however to explore ways to reduce the impact of the M8 on the city centre in the short, medium and long term.”

Sighthill Bridge

It has already started talks with the Scottish Government on the future of the city centre stretch of the M8 over the short, medium and long term.

Initially the council want consideration of:

  • Measures to address carbon emissions and air pollution arising from the M8, including the provision of green infrastructure such as green walls and barriers beside it.
  • Support for more air quality monitoring.
  • Scottish Government participation in, and funding support for, research into having a people-friendlier road alternative to the M8.
  • How to progress opportunities to improve cross-connectivity for walking, wheeling and cycling;
  • Trialling a lower mandatory speed limit on the city centre stretch to address impacts including noise and air pollution

Over the medium term, Glasgow City Council is seeking to explore:

  • Potential rationalisation of junctions and sliproads, some of which may be over-engineered, in order to reduce the impact of the motorway on surrounding communities.
  • Commencement of detailed transport modelling on options for the future of the M8, including exploration of opportunities to re-engineer and downgrade the city centre stretch of the motorway to a lower-speed boulevard-style road with active uses alongside.
  • Transport Scotland support for the proposed M8 garden cap project at Charing Cross, including consideration of funding opportunities and models, as part of a wider set of medium-term interventions to mitigate the impact of the M8 on the city centre.
  • Transport Scotland support for transport modelling, business case development and identification of funding opportunities for the transformation of existing heavy roads infrastructure in Glasgow such as at Shieldhall and the Clydeside Expressway.
Charing Cross
Garden cap proposal for CharingCross

In the longer term, the council hopes the city centre stretch could be re-engineering and/or replacement with an alternative, lower-speed non-motorway road “which can better contribute to Glasgow’s placemaking, regeneration and sustainable transport objectives”.

A meeting between Glasgow City Council and Transport Scotland officers has taken place and it was agreed that research and evidence gathering was required to fully understand the problem and the nature of journeys being made currently on the M8, including by businesses.

Requests for greening, a reduced speed limit and opportunities for joint working were noted and Transport Scotland agreed to get back to the council on these.

Council officials are now going to draw up an action plan of short, medium and long term aspirations related to all the council’s projects that interact with the M8 between junctions 15 and 22.

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