By Ryan Dabbs
Glasgow has unveiled plans to build a city-wide network of active travel infrastructure, which includes 270km of high quality cycleways and footpaths along main roads in the Scottish city.
In an effort to reduce the city's carbon footprint, Glasgow is encouraging people to cycle, rather than drive, with the improved infrastructure. The network is designed to ensure people have access to safe, segregated routes from their homes to schools, key amenities and cultural destinations throughout the city.
Each home in Glasgow will be no more than 800m from segregated cycling infrastructure, while the network is designed to ensure that schools are within 400m of the main active travel routes. It is anticipated that the cycle paths will allow anyone to reach the main parts of the city within 30 minutes, creating ease of access with a focus on safe routes too.
Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, believes that the active travel network will promote a widespread shift in encouraging more people to use walking and cycling as their preferred modes of transport.
Councillor Richardson said: "Safety is the number one reason for people being discouraged from using active travel and in particular, cycling. 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.
"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."
The network will cost an estimated £470m, with work to engage with the Scottish Government already beginning on accessing financial support from the national active travel budget.
The number of people cycling has dramatically increased over the last few years, leading to demands for improved infrastructure for cyclists around cities and UK roads. London is another city that has already implemented dedicated cycle lanes, though there are people who still oppose them.
British presenter Jeremy Vine took to Twitter to challenge people's arguments that cycle lanes are often left empty, saying that riders will use them when they are confident to do so.
Regarding cycle lanes, there are THOUSANDS of people who will not cycle around their city until it's safer. So the lanes have to be built first, and then we have to wait a while for them to get their confidence. So please stop with the “empty lanes” thing. It takes time. ❤️🚴🏼October 7, 2021
"Regarding cycle lanes, there are THOUSANDS of people who will not cycle around their city until it's safer," said Vine. "So the lanes have to be built first, and then we have to wait a while for them to get their confidence. So please stop with the 'empty lanes' thing. It takes time.
"Saying 'there aren't enough people on bicycles to justify building a cycle lane' - known as the Kensington Argument - is like saying you need to wait until planes are in the air before you build airports."
Although Vine is referring to London's use of cycling infrastructure, the debate remains a topical one, with Glasgow now choosing to support an active travel network.
As Glasgow's plans indicate, the active travel network will not only help keep people safer when cycling around the city, but also encourage others to start doing the same in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint.
Glasgow's strategy will be subject of a public consultation starting in mid-October.
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