Glasgow & West Scotland

Call for council rethink on Glasgow street plans

Glasgow shared space Image copyright Glasgow City Council
Image caption The Sauchiehall Street redevelopment would see a walkway next to a cycle path

Concerns over plans to change the layout of streets in Glasgow city centre will be voiced in the city chambers later.

It follows a row over "shared space" schemes where demarcation for different transport types, such as crossings, kerbs and road markings, have been removed.

Supporters argue the overall impact is to reduce vehicle speeds.

Glasgow City Council insists its plan is not technically a shared space.

It says the proposals would give priority to pedestrians and cyclists.

Campaigners have called for a halt on the use of shared space schemes pending "clear national guidance that explicitly addresses the needs of disabled people".

At Thursday's full council meeting, Councillor Cecilia O'Lone will table a motion that "recognises the rights of all Glaswegians to be able to walk in safety and confidence".

Economic development

Her motion says: "Without a safe walking area and a safe place to cross, shared space areas cannot be used safely by blind or partially-sighted people as eye contact is impossible.

"Walking and moving around in such environments for deaf blind people is even more difficult."

Councillor O'Lone, who represents the Calton ward in the city's east end, will urge the council to reconsider its plans.

She will say: "Economic development which leads to improvements in our street architecture should be consistent with the needs of all street-users, and not become an additional barrier for disabled people".

Image caption Campaigners have raised concerns about the safety of disabled people in shared space areas around the the country

The council said its design for a segregated cycle lane was not technically a shared space and would be separated from the footway by a "delineation kerb with a 20mm up-stand".

A spokesman for the local authority said: "The Sauchiehall Street Avenue (SSA) will not comprise shared space as part of its design.

"A shared space is one which removes the hierarchy of road users. The SSA will instead rebalance the hierarchy, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists first, then public transport, then other road vehicles.

"The plans for the transformation of this part of Sauchiehall Street have been developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders and have been informed by the dialogue with various vulnerable user groups.

"It is important to note that the SSA is being taken forward as a pilot scheme and will act as a proof of concept for the Avenues project, and as such will be subject to a monitoring and a review process."

Last August, sight loss charity RNIB Scotland staged a mock-up of shared space proposals outside the city chambers in Glasgow's George Square.

Audio-crossing signals

The group invited councillors to try and avoid passing cyclists while wearing special spectacles that simulated different sight loss conditions.

Catriona Burness, campaigns manager with RNIB Scotland, said: "While we welcome moves to upgrade Sauchiehall Street, we remain very concerned about the need for pedestrians to cross a two-lane cycle way to either get to a bus stop or cross the road.

"Blind and partially-sighted people won't feel safe crossing a busy cycleway, while cyclists won't know a pedestrian stepping out in front of them can't see them, putting them in danger too.

"We want the council to either move the cycleway to the south-side of the street, so that pedestrians aren't forced to cross it to get to a bus, or ensure there is a more distinct separation between the cycleway and the footpath. We'd also like audio-crossing signals positioned along the street.."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites