PLANS to build a city-wide network of active travel infrastructure for all areas of Glasgow have been unveiled.
Released as part of a new strategy to promote active travel in the city, the plans will add 270 kilometres of high quality cycleways and improved footways along main roads.
Intended to support a crucial shift to walking, wheeling and cycling as part of the wider effort to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and improve air quality, the network will be designed to ensure easy access to safe, segregated routes from homes, schools, key amenities and cultural destinations.
Based upon a vision that active travel becomes the first choice for everyday journeys, the network is to be created with the aim that schools are within 400 metres of main active travel routes while no home is more than 800 metres from segregated cycling infrastructure.
It is anticipated that the new active travel network will allow anyone who cycles to reach most of the city within 30 minutes and almost all of the city within an hour.
Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, believes the vision for the city network builds upon significant progress already being made in Glasgow on active travel.
Councillor Richardson said: “Safety is the number one reason for people being discouraged from using active travel and in particular, cycling.
“The existing network is expanding and the Spaces for People project helped show the appetite for change. By creating a network of cycle lanes and associated footways that reaches into every corner of the city we will maximise the opportunity for active travel to be the first choice for everyday journeys.
“Glasgow’s population is continuing to rise with the obvious consequence that more and more journeys are being taken in the city. To avoid increasing traffic levels, congestion, air pollution and road safety issues in future, we must provide alternatives for people to get about the city.
“By having an active travel network easily accessible to every home and school, we can start to turn around a situation with half of the vehicle journeys in Glasgow are less than three kiolmetres.
“By reducing our reliance on private vehicles for getting about Glasgow we can begin to reduce the carbon impact of our transport system. Encouraging a shift to the most sustainable form of transporting available to us can make a major contribution to Glasgow’s effort to tackle climate change. “
It is intended the active travel strategy will sit alongside the council’s recent Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan, which also seeks to reduce dependency on private cars by improving access to local centres and the range of services people rely upon on a daily basis.
Taken together, the two strategies will seek to identify opportunities for improved active travel by making better use of existing routes along canals, rivers and old railways.
The active travel strategy also provides a focus on training and education within schools but also looks to target groups that are under-represented or disengaged from walking and cycling.
This will tackle the barriers that large numbers of older people, people at risk of deprivation and people from ethnic minority groups face to this cheap and healthy form of transport.
It estimated the envisaged network would cost an estimated £470million and work to engage with the Scottish Government has begun on access to financial support from the national active travel budget.
The strategy was presented in a paper to the Environment, Carbon Reduction and Sustainability Policy Development Committee.
It will be subject of a public consultation starting in mid-October.