Secret Scotland

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George Square goes pedestrian on 20 July for Clean Air Day

After the previous news of suggestions and support to ban traffic from George Square, it seems Glaswegians are to get a taste of what the square would be like if traffic restriction were put in place, and the area was pedestrianised.

Glaswegians will be given a preview of tentative plans to pedestrianise George Square this week as traffic is banned from entering the area.

In celebration of Clean Air Day, Glasgow City Council will be forbidding traffic from entering the city centre location this Thursday (June 20) from 9am to 4pm.

George Square east will be closed in its entirety for the day, while George Square south will allow no waiting, loading or unloading from 3pm on Wednesday (June 19) to 4pm on Thursday.

Several companies will be in attendance at the event to promote public transport and leaving the car at home. They will range from bus operators such as First or Stagecoach through to smaller companies such as bike-only delivery start-up, Eco Runners.

There will be musical performances, displays of electric vehicle, car clubs and an electric taxi. People will be able to try out eBikes and conventional pedal cycles and there will be details of the ‘City Ways’ cycle paths initiative.

Picnic tables will be set out on George Square east with it closed to traffic, allowing people to eat out in front of the City Chambers.

City centre road closure offers a preview of a pedestrianised George Square

George Square (not) Grass

George Square (not) Grass

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19/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

67% of respondents support closing George Square to traffic (Updated)

There’s probably no great surprise in this survey result (other than the number not being higher – but let’s not forget the naysayers who just say ‘NO’ because they like to):

A PERMANENT ban on traffic at Glasgow’s George Square was backed by two-thirds of people who responded to public consultation.

A newly-released City Council document reveals that more than 5,000 citizens took part in the survey last year.

Sixty-seven per cent were in favour of closing the high profile civic space to vehicles for good.

COUNCIL Survey Attracted Strong Public Support For George Square Traffic Ban

It’s a place I pass through fairly regularly, thankfully not driving, and while it may have been a nice place for the odd horse-drawn carriage to stroll around in the past, I’d say the arrangement of streets around the square NEVER suited more modern transport.

It’s almost as if a random mish-mash of streets arrived there, and later changes which may have reduced the volume didn’t do anything to improve the flow (if it even could). When I did drive around there, it was usually by accident (having turned into one of the one-way streets, so forced to go there just to get away).

I don’t say that as some sort of negative criticism, but merely to highlight the fact (to me at least) that there’s little advantage in having traffic circulate there.

Because… that’s all it does – circulate!

I’m pretty sure having it travel along the longer streets around the perimeter would lead to better flow and management, and avoid the silliness of trying to manage vehicles along some fairly short streets that just fill up and get jammed with those vehicles, even if it’s not all that busy.

I hope the planners can come up with something better, not just for the square, but the traffic management around it.

George Square Stitch

George Square Stitch

Update

One of the local media sources picked up on this survey, and carried out its own online question for readers to give feedback.

Completely unscientific of course, since the respondents will be biased rather than a representative cross-section, but when I looked, the result was about the same as the official survey.

See it here:

Should a traffic ban be introduced at Glasgow’s George Square?

Interestingly, for me at least, was the arrival of the ‘Naysayer option’, which was able to make a negative from what I see (and noted above) as a positive.

But, quite frankly, it could be a nightmare for drivers, and as a result, there will certainly be those against the end to traffic around George Square – it is an incredibly popular route for the city’s buses, and for taxis serving passengers from Queen Street Station and these would have to be re-directed if a ban on vehicles was to take place.

Is it REALLY ‘popular’ for buses?

Or do they go that way because the one way system and current arrangement of the roads means they have little other choice? Or at least not one that is any quicker, as they would have to follow a more convoluted route around the existing road, one way system, and traffic lights

The roads and routing around George Square have become little short of a disaster over the years, with little or no benefit from having traffic circulate around it. I said, and still say, removing vehicular access from the short stretches of street leading to, and around the square, could only be a benefit, as it would force the traffic to be managed on longer stretches of road, where it can more easily be distributed.

As it is today, there’s merely a collection of short stretches controlled by traffic lights, with the result that the traffic has to stop frequently, or it will build up and get gridlocked in those short sections.

It would be funny to watch if it was not so serious.

It can sometimes look as if the place is gridlocked one moment, then almost deserted the next, as a wave of traffic flows through.

Update 2

Getting his name dropped in the media yet again, MP Paul Sweeney has spoken in favour of suggestion to ban traffic from George Square.

A Glaswegian MP has backed the proposed ban on traffic at George Square – because he says it currently resembles a “giant roundabout”.

Paul Sweeney, the Labour representative for Glasgow North East, spoke out after the results from a public consultation by Glasgow City Council revealed local residents had voted overwhelmingly in favour of pedestrianising the area.

Speaking to Glasgow Live he said: “It often resembles a glorified roundabout, so the plan should include the full pedestrianisation of the Square and adjacent roads.”

Traffic is just one issue bothering Sweeney, and he also called upon the authority to come up with a decisive regeneration plan to restore the civic hub to its former glory.

He added: “George Square’s civic splendour has been greatly diminished over the last 20 years despite several aborted attempts to refurbish it, so it is urgently in need of a major overhaul and redesign to govern all aspects of its appearance and use.

“Many historic features and monuments have been lost or dispersed but thankfully much of the planning has already been done to research the square’s historic design and prepare a comprehensive plan to restore it to how it appeared in the early 20th century.

“I urge the council to make use of the plan by Niall Murphy of Glasgow City Heritage Trust and ensure that the Victorian grandeur of George Square is rigorously restored, while combining the best aspects of tastefully designed modern amenities too.”

Authority chiefs say they are aware of the concerns and this is why they are allowing the public to take part in the consultations and decision process, but they are keen to point out that nothing has been decided yet.

Speaking to Glasgow Live, a spokesperson said: “It is very early days on this – and we’re looking for the views of the people of Glasgow on the use and design of George Square.

“This ‘Conversation about George Square’ with the city will see a public consultation which will ask what the people of Glasgow would like to see and experience at George Square, or how and if they would like the square to be changed.

“Nothing is off the table – we want to hear about what the people of Glasgow want to say about a beloved public space which is a huge part of our civic life and history.

Glasgow MP backs traffic ban proposal at George Square because it looks like a ‘giant roundabout’

Hopefully anyone still on the council who was around the last time plans were announced to revamp George Square will remember just how big a farce that idea became, with daft ideas to take out the statues and install Continental style water features.

That proved a mistake with a public backlash (since the plans were apparently just ‘announced’ without any consultation or, some said, without any consideration for our wonderful Scottish weather!

George Square redesign

George Square redesign

Having been to a few other cities where they have managed to largely retain the original Victorian splendour and ‘feel’ of squares in the centre, it shouldn’t really be that hard to keep George Square looking classy and elegant – especially if it is traffic free.

All they need to do is make sure no trendy designers get invited to the design party.

Some things are best kept traditional, especially if the people who live around them like them that way.

02/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , | 1 Comment

Interesting proposal/consultation on George Square traffic ban

In a way, I’m slightly intrigued by the appearance of a proposal and consultation regarding the banning of traffic and permanent pedestrianisation of the area around George Square.

While I’m happy to admit my comment is ‘Tongue in cheek’, I almost wonder “Why bother?”

There’re already restrictions in the form of bus lanes, and the convoluted routes that get you to and from George Square in a vehicle (not to mention the time spent sitting at all the traffic lights both around, and approaching, the Square, make it an area to avoid if you actually want to get somewhere.

Granted road access is needed for deliveries to business, and passengers to Central Station, but neither of those happen at speed, or quickly, so controlled or limited access is fine for their needs.

It might as well have a traffic ban.

And if they match that with a sensible organisation of the roads and routes around the area (straighten them out and rationalise the traffic lights) then traffic flow would probably be improved.

But that’s my thoughts from actually standing in the Square for ages, watching how the traffic moves around it.

I’m sure the many ‘Armchair Experts’ who never move their backsides out of their comfy chairs, or have even seen the Square will have better ideas and proposals on a traffic ban and pedestrianisation there than I ever could.

On more serious note, given that this process is STARTING with a consultation rather than an announcement means it will get a fair hearing and be given due consideration.

Consultation on potential George Square traffic ban

Glaswegians are being asked for their views on removing traffic from the city’s George Square.

Roads around the square, in the heart of the city, were closed during the European Championships – with a busy programme of cultural events attracting thousands as part of Festival 2018.

Although roads are now reopening, Glasgow City Council today confirmed it was considering making the move permanent in future – and asked people to share their views.

Council Leader Susan Aitken said: “I think most Glaswegians would like a George Square that is focused more on people, rather than cars – but, with the experience of the European Championships fresh in people’s minds, we’re keen to hear what the city feels would work.

“We’re already making some other significant changes to how the city works and moves; including establishing Scotland’s first Low Emissions Zone and dedicating more space to walking and cycling through our £115m Avenues project.”

People can have their say by completing a short online survey, which is live now

Consultation on potential George Square traffic ban

The survey is actually short and simple – I even filled it in, and I don’t do that very often nowadays!

George Square Stitch

George Square

14/08/2018 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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