Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Interesting to see there is no consensus on motorbike access to bus lanes

I read about this proposal a few weeks ago, and promptly forgot about it.

Mainly because most petitions come with thousands of signatures, are often irritating as they are just whining about someone whose nose is ‘out of joint’ about something, and generally sink without trace (sadly true even if they have some justification).

But this one had/has only 43 signatures, and seems kind of reasonable, and practical.

Even as I cycle and walk around Glasgow, without actually keeping tally, I meet from zero to a mere handful of motorbikes, so they are hardly swarming over the city. Maybe it’s the days I’m out there, or even the time of day.

Given the number, I don’t think this is any sort of major issue.

But, what I do find interesting is that there is no common ruling that applies to motorbikes in bus lanes, and how it seems to get even more complex when ‘Bus Gates’ are thrown into the equation.

Surely this should be standardised nationwide, one way or the other, so riders are clear about what is, or is not, legal.

Campaigners claimed motorbikes should not be “lumped” in with everyday traffic and permitted access to the 33km of bus lanes across the city.

“In other cities around the country, like Edinburgh or London, motorcycles can travel freely using bus lanes.

“This in turn reduces traffic and is safer. Why not open up the use of often empty bus lanes to motorcycles and potentially reduce the risk to an already vulnerable road user.”

Steven Wykes of the Glasgow Motor Cycle Action Group said: “Motorcyclists are considered one of the three most vulnerable road user groups – the others being pedestrians and cyclists.

“A study carried out in London between 2004 and 2010 demonstrated that collisions fell by 5.2 percent when motor bikes were allowed to use bus lanes.

But officials raised concerns about the proposals.

Council officer Christine Francis said: “Over the years we have taken the view that motorbikes do not need to use bus lanes. They are not a public service.

“There are 33km of bus lanes which should be saved for people travelling across the city. They are already used by private hire cars, taxis and cyclists.

Chairman councillor Ken Andrew said: “If we do agree this change will motor bikes be allowed to go through the bus gates?”

Ms Francis said: “Yes they would have access to bus gates so they could access the bus lanes.”

But members of the Glasgow Motor Cycle Action Group disagreed.

Mr Wykes commented: “We do not use bus gates in Edinburgh although that may vary in different parts of the city.”

Councillor Archie Graham said: “A motorbike user has the same status as a cyclist. I think it should be considered as part of the transport strategy.”

Call for motorbikes to be allowed to use Glasgow bus lanes

In fact, there was one line I would take issue with…

“Motor cycles should not be lumped in with cars. This would start a process which would solve Glasgow’s emission problems.”

As someone who experienced driving in Glasgow from the 1980s, I STILL don’t buy the Green Loonies claims of emission problems today, with today’s vehicles.

But that’s just me, a personal view, and not based on measurements I can’t make – just the evidence of my own eyes.

Gotta love Glasgow’s gridlocked and fume filled streets! 😉

I shake for at least an hour after cycling this stretch, and through Glasgow Cross 🙂

Trongate To Glasgow Cross

Trongate To Glasgow Cross


25/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Burns’ Cottage joins the list of decaying ‘oldies’

Before I start, I feel the need to make it clear that I’m NOT being negatively critical, as I don’t want to be misrepresented, or misinterpreted.

It looks as if Burns’ Cottage in Alloway is showing its age.

Interestingly, there is a trend (to me, at least) where many of our now ageing historic artefacts are doing the same, with high profile items such as the Winter Garden at the People’s Palace, and even Glasgow’s Tidal Weir featuring in the news.

I can only recall one visit to Burns’ Cottage, and that was a long, long, long time ago, when we used to have the family holiday in Ayr.

I might add Hill House in Helensburgh to that high profile list too.

An urgent appeal has been launched to stop the first home of Robert Burns falling into disrepair.

The world-renowned poet was born in the Alloway cottage in 1759 and lived there until he was seven years old.

But now a £100,000 public appeal has been launched to save the visitor attraction.

The cottage’s thatched roof, walls and chimney all need vital repairs, The National Trust for Scotland has revealed.

The cottage has been in the care of the National Trust for Scotland since 2008 but the charity now says it needs help to stop it getting into a severe state of disrepair.

The trust has a plan to repair the cottage in stages.

A wall at the end of the cottage will be propped up and pulled back in line with the rest of the building.

Cracks along the walls and windows will be filled, and the roof rethatched and the outer walls re-limewashed, weatherproofing the cottage.

Appeal launched to save Robert Burns’ Alloway birthplace

As I’ve strived to point out, I’m NOT complaining, suggesting care has not been taken, or that those in control of ANY of these artefacts have been negligent.

It’s worth bearing in mind they all have paymasters above them, from whom they must justify the funds they are granted.

What I would perhaps suggest is that the model used to raise those finds needs to be changed, to reflect changes in those artefacts.

In the past, they were relatively ‘new’ (a term that varies from item to item), and in better condition by virtue of their age than they are now, as time has passed and various types of decay have set in, and taken their toll of these places.

There’s also the aspect of increased wear and tear on them, as increased mobility has brought greater visitor number to them.

My point being that today, as opposed to a few decades ago, what I would refer to as ‘Cost of Ownership’ is increasing over time, yet in realistic terms, many sources of funding for these places (which often have ‘Free Entry’ in Scotland) are suffering cuts, so have LESS cash available, at a time when maintaining them is probably becoming MORE costly.

Much as I’d like to suggest some sort of magical way to solve that issue, what I really think is needed is NOT the sort of negative knee-jerk we saw some respond to the news of problems at the Winter Garden with.

Instead, rather than see those ‘clever know-alls’ score imaginary points by jumping into (useless) action, there should be a new move to review and change the way these features are looked after, and how they are financed, since the old models are not going to work in future.

There is a potential downside to this – it may mean saving a few while losing a few, if something cannot be done to make the ‘pot’ bigger, and address what would seem to now be a steadily increasing ‘Cost of Ownership’.

Burns Cottage

Burns Cottage

25/01/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Glasgow’s bike thieves using social media to ‘protect’ themselves?

I just read an interesting article about bike theft in Glasgow, around Glasgow University in particular – relevant since I’ve chained up there quite a few times recently.

This article seems to suggest that the criminals involved in such thefts are not only actively targeting the area, but are ALSO organises, AND are responsible for vandalising vehicles as a sideline.

On Tuesday morning, Councillor Ken Andrew asked police: “Is it true that cycle gangs are back and targeting Hillhead?

“On the same night as bikes going missing, cars are being damaged and bus shelters vandalised.

“Is it fair to assume it is the same group of youths causing these problems?”

Sergeant Gillespie replied: “I think it is fair to say it is the same people involved in these crimes. We are working hard to try and suppress them.

Fears raised bike thieves targeting Glasgow University and Hillhead community


This was the line that really caught my eye in this article…

Chairman councillor Ken Andrew added: “One of the things which has been circling social media is that we cannot take a picture of someone stealing a bike. Is there any truth in this?”

Sergeant Gillespie replied: “There is nothing to stop you from taking a picture although we would suggest that members of the public don’t make themselves an obvious target.

I found that question to be almost unbelievable, but then recalled reading somewhere that, today, many people get their news and information from ‘social media’, which I also found almost unbelievable.

I say that as someone who has ZERO trust in ‘social media’, but sadly also realises how stupid people are (recall I just did some post about people having to be warned not to leave their cars unoccupied and idling while defrosting).

For a moment, I wondered how such a statement about not taking a picture of someone stealing a bike would get on to ‘social media’ in the first place.

I guess the answer is really kind of obvious…

The thieves themselves would post this, and work to make sure it is circulated amongst users of ‘social media’.

Which is kind of ironic, since many of them are so dumb they video their own criminal activities, and then post this online while boasting to their mates (and thankfully helping police identify and catch them).

It embarrassing to think that so many people have forsaken reliable sources of information in favour of something as moronic as ‘social media’ (by which they probably mean Facecrook).

It seems we really are witnessing the death of ‘Common Sense’.

60 bikes – £30,000 – will this man go to jail?

Real Bike Thief

Real Bike Thief


While not EXACTLY the same issue, I was intrigued to see YouTube (does it fall under ‘social media’?) announce a change in acceptable content which it will allow to be posted…

YouTube vows to recommend fewer conspiracy theory videos

What’s interesting about this is that it echoes my own view on these things, where the nuts behind those various theories only seem to have the word ‘Right’ in their vocabulary, while being selectively blind to the word that should always accompany it – ‘Responsibility’.

They just like the first one, and have no comprehension of the second.

25/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Duke Street site development proposed after almost two decades

Another of those ‘Just TOO late’ memories, I recall being taken to the car market that took place on the site of Glasgow’s meat market when I was a tiny.

Like many similar auctions, I imagined doing the same myself when I was all ‘grown up’.

And, like all the other similar venues I imagined visiting, this was gone by the time I was in a position to go there myself.

As noted in Glasgow’s old meat and cattle market is ‘At Risk’ not too long ago, it seems to have closed in 2001, suffered arson in 2003, then was razed in 2005.

It looks as if there are now plans for the site after all those years, subject to planning permission.

Home Group intend to apply for planning permission to build the affordable apartments on land at the junction of Duke Street and Bellgrove Street. There would be 252 apartments and two commercial units.

Documents issued as part of the pre-application consultation process state: “This is an exciting opportunity to develop a housing-led proposal on a key site to the east of the city centre assisting Glasgow City Council in realising their ambitions for the wider Meat market masterplan.”

MAJOR Apartment Development Proposed For Duke Street Site

Preceded by…

CITY Council Submits Plans For East End Meat Market Site Makeover

While the last remaining part of this area, the surviving gates, would be retained and incorporated into the plan, similar to parts surviving in the Gallowgate, such as Graham Square, it looks as the plan would see the old sheds and structure inside the area being demolished.

Last Meat Market Building

Last Meat Market Building


Gallowgate Graham Square Gate

Gallowgate Graham Square Gate

I’ll be interested to see how the application goes, and then how the project goes, as I’ve watched one housing development be built and demolished within a timescale of only decades, at nearby Whitevale, where you would not even know the houses and flats had ever been there, had you not seen them being built.

Then there was the conversion of the facade of the former Duke Street Hospital, which became flats for a while, but is now lying derelict, boarded up, and has even had signs attached indicating it was going to be demolished at one point, but is still there, for the moment at least.

Duke St Hospital Flats From West

Duke St Hospital Flats From West

I’ve never taken a specific pic of that area, but did catch part of it in this pair of pics.

The green patch at the front used to be a block of flats. I’m pretty sure they were built when I was REALLY tiny, but were demolished years ago, along with all the housed on the land to the left of this pic.

I recall this spot as one of the residents drove a fairly unique and rare car – I always used to try to see the car park area around the back as I passed in the bus, just to catch a glimpse if they were home, and the car was there.

Whitevale 2015-2017

Whitevale 2015-2017

25/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

Regeneration plans to thwart naysayer and climate change deniers

As somebody who spent a fair few hours of their working life wandering the various shipyards and businesses that once lay along the River Clyde to the west of the city centre, it’s funny to look at how deserted that same area has become in recent years.

Not only have many of those varied business gone, many of the sites they occupied have also been razed and cleared, leaving little to show where they once lay.

This would have been hard to see clearly from the ground, but thanks to tools such as Google Earth, it’s possible for anyone to ‘fly’ over all these places today, and compare them to the past.

Some parts have been regenerated or redeveloped with housing and other features, but a wander along the river shows that there’s probably more deserted area than reused now, and that many of the formerly occupied sites remain derelict today.

There are some ‘backward looking’ nostalgic types who keep calling for shipyards to be planted on the Clyde, but that’s never going to happen with our wages and costs. Those people notably fail to reveal how to finance such yards, or who would but the hugely expensive ships built  in them.

Fortunately, there are a few who can look forward rather than backwards, and plans for redeveloping and regenerating these areas are dependent on looking at change.

Despite flooding concerns, plans to regenerate the River Clyde are moving forward.

The Glasgow Strategic Development Framework (SDF) has been set up to create houses and transform isolated visitor destinations along the river by 2050.

A proposal has identified an approach that would make areas from Govan to Glasgow Harbour more accessible by linking them via a footbridge.

Those involved in the project want to achieve a sheltered water or habitat for wildlife and uncover hidden gems within forgotten parts of the city by linking Govan and Partick by building a bridge.

Those working on the framework have been in conversation with SEPA to ensure flooding can be prevented along the river and allow the project to continue.

Michael Ward of the Glasgow SDF told the Hillhead partnership: “There is a flooding issue and we are engaging with SEPA to see how this can be resolved.

“We are aware of the implications if the river rises by one metre or more. We need to conduct a feasibility study.

“We see this as a long-term vision for the area. There is a lot of potential for the river and we need to maximise that.

“We need to build up activity and vibrancy along the river corridor and prioritise areas which can be included in the strategy from Govan to Glasgow Harbour.”

It is hoped that by constructing a footbridge, visitors will be more likely to visit Govan and its historical assets.

Flooding fears over River Clyde development plans in Glasgow

A couple of items jumped out of these proposals, for me at least.

First was “Concerns were raised that boats navigating along the River Clyde would not be able to sail under the new bridge.

I found that slightly amusing, given how the bridges ALREADY added to the river in recent years have significantly reduced access.

But that doesn’t mean ignoring such access, which the planners clearly are NOT forgetting.

Second has to be the reference to rising water levels “We are aware of the implications if the river rises by one metre or more. We need to conduct a feasibility study.

Easily dealt with just ensuring Climate Change Deniers are selected for this development, then things can proceed without worrying about rising water levels.

(Just kidding, water levels are rising, and deniers have become a minority in danger of extinction – unless they paid lobbyists.)

Let’s never forget problems are there to be solved – there used to be a yard building ships upriver of the Clyde Tidal Weir.

And they were so big the only way to get them over the weir was to pick the right time and tide, and float them over.

didn’t always work, and local history tells of the day one almost got stuck – but the did manage to get it over

Clyde Tidal Weir From West

Clyde Tidal Weir From West

25/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maritime, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

So THAT’s what an ‘urbanist’ is

The Urbanist

I was intrigued to read this, as I’d occasionally come across the term ‘urbanist’ when reading articles in architectural journals, but had never really bothered to go look for a definition, and was content just to go with my own assumption about what the term meant. Thankfully, that thought wasn’t too far off the mark, and probably covers an even greater range than I had imagined.

I never realised it was a job!

GLASGOW City Council has appointed Professor Brian Evans as its first city urbanist.

The part-time role will see Professor Evans work with councillors, officers, the design community, and city partners and stakeholders to enhance Glasgow’s approach to place-making and connectivity. He will also see s act as a bridge between the council, communities and developers.

Professor Evans is a professor in urbanism and landscape at The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh School of Architecture, and one of the UK’s leading urbanists

He will work with politicians and senior officers to develop and embed an approach to ‘place quality’ in plans and strategies that affect housing, business, environment, transport and place connectivity.

GLASGOW Appoints Its First City Urbanist

Randomly selected online dictionary definition:

urbanist (ŭrˈbə-nĭst)

n. A specialist in the study and planning of cities.


25/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Maps, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Bellgrove Hotel from a safe distance

Just a long view along the Gallowgate centred on the Bellgrove Hotel because…

Why not?

Click for bigger.

Distant Bellgrove Hotel

Distant Bellgrove Hotel

I used to cross the road when walking past, then I thought that was being silly, so tried staying on the same side of the street a few times.

Now, I ALWAYS cross the road.

25/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

More sporty types hold their hands out for Glasgow’s money?

As usual, I can only wonder at the reality of the claims made about this (sport) being ‘Good’ for Glasgow, and how I feel like I’m being treated like an idiot when I read some news.

Or how many people realise that the organisers behind these sporting jamborees don’t have to pay the host city for the privilege of disrupting it, and its residents, for weeks/months/years as it makes ready for them to have a whole week or two of fun at the host city’s expense.

The host coughs up the funding to attract them, and then pays for new venues, modifications to existing venues, any new things (like athletes’ villages), and all the organisation and management – THEN has to supply mindless ranks of thousands of unpaid VOLUNTEERS to staff them for the duration, and they’re daft enough to do it for expenses (maybe).

Are these numbers produced by people/organisations promoting this stuff (and recipients of work/cash), or are they independently audited figures which take into account ALL the costs?

A TRUE reckoning might be enlightening (and maybe shocking).

Seems ‘we’ can always find hundreds of millions for sport promotions…

But can’t find less than £10 million to preserve our own assets, such as Winter Gardens. And one actually right beside a holy sporting venue.

In the last decade Glasgow has invested more than £200m in its sporting venues attracting world-class athletes and international supporters and spectators.

Since 2009, attendances at Glasgow Club sports facilities have increased by more than 50%, meaning more and more adults are taking positive steps to improve their health and wellbeing.

In addition, the number of junior members attending sports clubs across the city has more than quadrupled, demonstrating children are increasingly becoming active in sport at an earlier age.

Sport also adds huge value to the city’s economy contributing approximately £367m and employing around 10,000 people across the sector.

Glasgow bids for European capital of sport title

After all the self-praise these things generate, and all the patting of backs for those involved, we get all those apparently wonderful numbers.

Financial number (claims) which are put into stark perspective when we read that…

Celtic contribute around £165m to Scotland’s economy annually – more than the 2014 Commonwealth Games – according to a report commissioned by the club.

Let me repeat that…

more than the 2014 Commonwealth Games

I should add I don’t care about sport/Celtic/events, BUT I do care when I read stuff that makes me feel as if I am being treated like an idiot, which I do whenever I read about these endless bids for sporting events, and the ‘magic’ numbers relating to their finances and after effects.

Maybe I should be indulging in some of the Buckfast seen below when reading those figures.


25/01/2019 Posted by | council | , | Leave a comment


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