The below correspondence was sent to our seven Councillors and the City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction (Cllr Richardson) on 10th May 2020.
I write regarding the issues noted below relating to footway access and active travel provision in the Dennistoun Community Council area and would value your response to the questions identified.
Please note that Dennistoun Coummunity Council’s next meeting will be held online via Zoom on Tuesday 12th May, from 7pm. Full details are available via DennistounCC.org.uk.
On-street domestic bins.
In the majority of instances the introduction of new back court wheelie bins has been a hugely welcome improvement.
In some circumstances, it has been determined that the back court metal dustbins cannot be replaced with new plastic wheelie bins, and the proposed solution is to place large metal bins on the footway (as per the attached letter, shown below). On Friday 24th April this process was underway on Armadale Street, with numerous bins placed on the footway, as per the attached photos, shown below. But by the end of the day the bins had been removed, apparently as a result of Cllr Casey acting in response to complaints received. He placed the following comment online: “I can confirm that after raising this with the executive director of the department the roll out of these bins have now been suspended for this time and the council will now carry out further dialogue with all affected properties to see if there is other arrangements can be made when it is safe to do so.“
It would appear that there’s less of a need for these on-street bins than was identified by the the initial Council surveys/inspections (e.g. minor back court alterations could facilitate safe access via a neighbouring property). Thankfully. After seeing the benefits of removing big commercial bins from footways, it would be a step backwards to then introduce numerous similar bins along residential footways.
It seems like Edinburgh commonly opts to site large domestic bins on the carriageway, even in locations with high demand for on-street parking (as per the attached examples, shown below).
The Glasgow City Development Plan includes the following strategic objectives:
- “We want to achieve a City that is a place where it is easy to move around with active travel…”
- “Improve opportunities for movement within neighbourhoods […] by active travel and public transport.”
- “Reduce non-essential car journeys by restricting parking and designing roads and streets that are pedestrian and cycle friendly.”
- “Minimise the impact of strategic road infrastructure on local movement networks.”
- “Repair or replace walking and cycling connections that have been lost through vehicular dominated design.”
…as well as numerous other stated priorities which give precedence to pedestrians over vehicles.
Q1: Where, after the required re-assessment has been carried out, large collective domestic bins are found to be absolutely necessary as an alternative to back court wheelie bins, must those bins be placed on the footway?
Q2: On what basis are Glasgow pedestrians deemed to be the users who are to be inconvenienced, rather than those who want to store their private vehicles on the public road?
Temporary active travel infrastructure and reallocation of space for social distancing.
With current indications being that social distancing is likely to continue to the end of the year, it is encouraging to note that…
- “To better enable physical distancing, the Scottish Government will fully fund a new [£10 million] infrastructure programme for pop-up walking and cycling routes or temporary improvements to existing routes.” [Source: Transport Scotland]
- “Council bosses are looking at 11 locations across the city to change road layouts in a bid to boost cycling and walking and help social distancing.” And Dennistoun is specifically mentioned. [Source: Glasgow Times]
- Cllr Richardson is actively seeking suggestions for potential schemes. [Source: Cllr tweet]. During a recent Improvement Service Planning For Place webinar Cllr Richardson was one of the speakers advocating strongly for the reallocation of space for social distancing and noted that “Community councils must be at the heart of this“. [Video: https://youtu.be/_IRERSYyZ4I].
Vehicular travel is currently much reduced and a great many more people are walking and cycling. For essential trips, and for exercise. It’s important to make sure people can do this safely under the current social distancing guidance, but also in the coming months and weeks as schools and shops reopen whilst we continue to maintain that social distancing separation.
Frequent problems for walking are already evident due to narrow footways, especially where there are queues outside shop selling food or other essentials. People passing a queue, or even just passing another pedestrian, find it difficult to maintain the 2m distance. In some places people are resorting to using the carriageway to avoid each other.
Many people, especially health staff and key workers, are avoiding the increased risk on public transport, where it’s difficult to properly maintain social distancing. Lowering the risk for public transport staff is also important. Additionally, maintaining the improved local air quality will make it easier for people with breathing problems – recent air pollution has been shown to have a correlation with COVID-19.
Given the right communication, DCC may be well positioned to make a positive contribution to the roll out of such infrastructure reallocation.
Duke Street and Alexandra Parade both present clear opportunities for space reallocation schemes. Other potential exists with the introduction of filtered permeability at multiple locations throughout Dennistoun. Local residential streets should be limited to local traffic, with no rat runs, managed speeds, cleaner air, less noise, and enhanced safety for children and those with mobility issues.
Q3: What schemes are planned for Dennistoun? Will Dennistoun Community Council be directly consulted during the planning phase, or at least notified?
Under normal circumstances, this would not tend to be a priority, except in the case of the most extreme examples of obstruction. But with the current situation as it is, priorities have changed substantially.
It is no exaggeration to say that there are multiple instances of vegetation encroaching beyond the heel of the footway contributing toward a severe reduction in available pedestrian space on almost every road in Dennistoun. The Drives between Duke Street and Alexandra Parade being a particular concentration, where household density is amongst the highest in Glasgow (reference map attached, shown below), and pedestrian travel is above average (reference map attached, shown below).
Issuing Notifications to residents who have hedges or other vegetation that encroach upon the footway in any way at all would seem like a very cost effective way to regain some much needed footway space using already existing powers and procedures. This could be carried out quite safely and easily by the relevant officers. It is understood that where compliance is not forthcoming, the Council has the powers to carry out the work and recover the cost.
Q4: Will pro-active enforcement on overhanging and encroaching vegetation be a course of action undertaken, with any necessary follow-up action taken?
The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 includes provision for a national ban on footway parking. Enforcement of this would be another relatively easy way to maximise the usable space of the existing footway space.
Q5: When does enforcement of the ban on footway parking begin, and will resources be prioritised to maximise that enforcement?
On-street secure cycle parking.
Minutes from our May 2019 meeting note that an on-street secure cycle parking locker pilot scheme included a proposal for 3 sites in the Dennistoun area (one on Armadale Street, and two in Haghill).
Q6: What is the status of the proposals for on-street secure cycle parking locker sites in Dennistoun/Haghill?
Edit: A follow-up email was subsequently sent to Councillors providing a document of examples of reduced footway widths and lines of sight due to overhanging vegetation, parked vhicles, etc. – download here.
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