A PEOPLE-first zone where people would have priority over vehicles has been placed at the heart of plans to transform Glasgow city centre.
It would create an area of high-quality public realm that encourages walking, wheeling and cycling while still providing access for disabled drivers, pick-up and drop-off at key transport hubs and business deliveries.
Proposed as part of an overall City Centre Transformation Plan (CCTP), the people-first zone would cover an area bounded by Hope Street, Cowcaddens Road, North Hanover Street, Glassford Street and Howard Street.
The zone would also tie in with proposed masterplans for Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre shopping centres and is designed to ensure drivers can still access the multi-storey car parks that circle the city centre.
Crossing points would ensure pedestrians have less distance and more time to cross roads in an environment that is quieter and cleaner. Rebalancing how street space is used would also allow for a growth in civic spaces, pocket parks, parklets and street cafes.
The overall CCTP has now been laid out for consultation with views to be gathered from the public over the next six weeks via an online survey and a number of online / in-person sessions for a range of city centre groups and organisations.
With a focus on creating a people-friendly central transport network, the CCTP is expected to support the economic vibrancy of the city centre, help Glasgow’s transition to net-zero, improve residents’ health, well-being and quality of life while also offering an enhanced experience for visitors.
Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “We want our city centre to reach its true potential as a place where people want to live, work and visit.
“Cities all around the world are still coming to terms with the effects of on-line shopping and the shock of covid. But cities everywhere are successfully transforming their centres to become more attractive, liveable spaces and Glasgow should be no different.
“We can move away from an area which is car-dominated to one that is healthier for all who use it and which will contribute to our active travel and net-zero targets. Much less traffic, but better connectivity, would deliver real benefits for city businesses, as well as residents and visitors.
“This is a chance for Glaswegians to imagine a centre that is focused on the needs of people and is environmentally-friendly. The city centre would become an urban heart that people want to spend time in, rather than just pass through.
“I urge people to share their views through this consultation as that will help shape our plans for the future of our city centre.”
Karen McGregor, portfolio director for active travel organisation Sustrans, said: “The CCTP will be an absolute game-changer for walking, wheeling, and cycling in Glasgow, making our streets safer, cleaner and more enjoyable for everyone.
“The plan also neatly links in with a number of other high-profile projects we’re delivering in partnership with Glasgow City Council, including improved active travel routes from Govanhill in the south and from Woodside in the north, creating a truly active and accessible network across the city.”
After consultation and engagement with a wide range of groups in 2020 and 2021, an emerging purpose for the City Centre Transformation Plan developed: the provision of a clear framework for transport decision-making in Glasgow city centre, with the following key aims:
· The re-allocation of road space in the city centre for active travel and green infrastructure;
· The delivery of improved public transport and support/encourage a shift to more sustainable modes, particularly walking, cycling and public transport, with a target of 80 per cent of peak-time travel to the city centre being made by active travel and public transport by 2030;
· Improved access for the mobility-impaired;
· Seeking to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in peak-hour private car traffic in the city centre by 2030;
· The delivery of improvements for servicing (e.g. goods, deliveries and waste collection) to improve the vitality of Glasgow city centre;
· Supporting a doubling of Glasgow city centre’s population by 2035; and
· Supporting Glasgow’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.
After consultation, the CCTP will come back for final committee consideration in late 2022.