COUNCILLORS on Glasgow’s city administration committee voted in favour of keeping the majority of the city’s Spaces for People measures
Most of the infrastructure changes introduced during the pandemic are to become permanent, following consideration of an independent review which highlighted that much of it can deliver lasting benefits including encouraging active travel and their potential to contribute towards meeting wider sustainability goals.
Introduced to suppress the spread of the covid virus and help manage demand on public transport, Spaces for People delivered a significant number of travel interventions across the city to ease physical distancing in public places, mainly through the provision of widened footways, road closures and segregated cycle lanes.
Whilst Spaces for People measures made it easier to stay a safe distance from others, much of the infrastructure also increases the viability and appeal of walking, wheeling and cycling for everyday journeys, and if kept could contribute to the prioritisation of sustainable transport across the city.
An independent review was commissioned earlier this year to look at whether to retain or remove measures.
Key report recommendations that will now be taken forward include:
— The permanent retention of all Spaces for People segregated cycle lanes which offer around 40 kilometres of additional dedicated cycling space
— Keeping footway widening measures and urban greening around George Square and Merchant City, as well as infrastructure that supports physical distancing around city centre transport hubs and bus stops
–‘People Friendly Streets’ measures at Dennistoun, Shawlands and Pollokshields East being made permanent
— The removal of all footway widening measures within city neighbourhoods, except for the road closure and associated infrastructure on Kelvin Way
Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: “I am absolutely delighted that further to the independent review, the majority of Spaces for People measures will now go on to become permanent infrastructure, encouraging even greater numbers of us to walk, wheel and cycle as a means of getting around.
“These schemes were introduced at pace and at the height of the pandemic to support physical distancing however it’s clear that they have proved popular and if made permanent can offer longer-term strategic benefits to our transport network as well as being advantageous to our health and wellbeing, and to the environment.
“I look forward to seeing progress in the coming months to advance these measures to permanency.”
Measures approved to become permanent will in most instances be undertaken by the promotion of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) — a statutory process which provides an opportunity for further engagement, alongside public advertisement of the orders.
Nearly £800,000 has been secured from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People programme, for the work required to either make measures permanent or to remove them.