My Response to the Victoria Road Plans

At the bottom of this post is a copy of the response I sent to GCC regarding the two proposed options for revised road layouts which will potentially include new cycling provision. Details are on the Council website.

Whilst I broadly welcome the proposal, I am very concerned that GCC are still suggesting cycle lanes in the car-door opening zone (Option 1). Option 2 is better but it is very hard for south-travelling cyclists to access. I will be at the discussion forum at Govanhill Baths, 3-7pm on the 26th November to listen and to contribute.

As part of my investigation I found it very hard to understand the actuality of the proposed road layouts from the published plans, so I converted them to GoogleEarth KMZ files which allowed me to see them overlaid on satellite images. A picture tells a thousand stories. If you have GoogleEarth on your computer and want to see for yourself, here is a link to my GoogleEarth and images files. Below is a sample of what the plans look like superimposed on GoogleEarth images.

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My Email to GCC 20/11/2015

Dear Sustainable Transport

I am emailing in response to the published Options for potential revised road layouts on Victoria Road https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=16520. Victoria Road is a busy cycle way that has been the site of relatively high levels of cycle accidents in recent years (STATS19) and I therefore welcome the decision to create separate cycle lanes on part of this road to keep cyclists separated from motorised vehicles. However, having examined the 2 Options, I recognise some significant problems with both.

Option 1: This has separate cycle lanes on each side of the road and as a cyclist I can intuitively see how I would access and leave these lanes as part of my cycle commute that uses Victoria Road to take me to and from the city centre. Unfortunately I see a problem with the sections of the proposed 2m wide lanes that are on the inside of parked cars. The plan specifies a 0.5m buffer zone to allow for opening of near-side car doors, which I feel is insufficient. Cycling by Design (2010) specifies a desirable minimum of 1.0m for very good reasons. I feel that the risk of “car-dooring” of cyclists in Option 1 is particularly high as car passengers, who not being in charge of the vehicle, are less likely to be aware of other road users and thus more likely to throw open the near-side car doors without checking on the possibility of cyclists passing on the inside. If this option is to be adopted, I would strongly urge that either the buffer zone width is increased or that car parking is sited elsewhere.

Speaking as a cyclist, I think that it is axiomatic that installation of a new cycle route provides a safer environment than the status quo. The 0.5m parked car buffer zone is likely to cause higher accident rates and thus If this were to be adopted, I would not be likely to use the route.

Option 2: This has a 3m wide bi-directional route on the west side of Victoria Road. In this option the buffer zones from parked cars are 1.0m which is much safer than the 0.5m of Option 1. However, as a cyclist, I have difficulty in seeing how I would easily access this route when heading south on Victoria Road. As its currently set out, I would have to get off my bike at the Allison Street lights, cross as pedestrian, and then join the new route on the other side of the road. This problem largely stems from the fact that the proposed Option 2 route stops at Allison Street. If it were to continue northward to take cyclists towards and into the city centre, as it clearly should, then this problem is obviated.

A General Comment: As it stands, we are being asked to comment on a short, 330m, stretch of new cycle/road layout. The overwhelming necessity in Glasgow is for continuous arterial routes which take cyclists from the suburbs to the city centre. Option 2 would work well as a section of a route going from the south side into the city centre, but without the rest of the route being open for discussion, it makes little sense on its own. Please can GCC provide us with a plan for a continuous south side to city centre route for us to comment on?

Thank-you for considering my comments.

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