Glasgow City Council (GCC) recently responded to the most recent query from Dennistoun Community Council (DCC) in an ongoing dialogue regarding various maintenance and streetscape issues in Dennistoun.
The GCC reply dated 5th October 2021 is below.
It is followed by a response from Dennistoun Community Council.
A PDF version of the GCC reply is available here.
A PDF version of the DCC response is available here.
GCC Reply: Tuesday 5th October 2021
Thank you for your recent enquiries/comments on behalf of Dennistoun Community Council. I have again liaised with colleagues across the service and have detailed below information in relation to each topic.
For ease of reference I have provided responses in the order submitted and highlighted the topics/enquiries raised by you in blue with responses in black.
There is much useful and genuinely enlightening detail on current projects to take away from your reply. DCC welcomes this and looks forward to engaging with each of them constructively as progress continues.
GCC: As do GCC
2. Cycle lockers
The information provided is useful, but it is generic rather than specific. There doesn’t appear to be any presence of drains or covers that justify the move of the proposed Armadale Street locker onto Garthland Drive (to a location under overhanging trees which are already beginning to have an effect on the locker below).
GCC: After consideration, the position of the shelter at the initial location would have resulted in partial restriction of clear access to the property.
The unit placed at Garthland Drive functions well without any issues and is at full capacity.
There’s a gully/drain where the Whitehill one was proposed, but that doesn’t explain why it was moved onto the footway rather than to a nearby alternative carriageway location.
GCC: The intention of the units is not to exacerbate any existing parking issues. The shelter location at Whitehill Street is placed on a nib, meaning we were able to place the unit without impacting on available parking in an area of high vehicle parking demand. This unit is at full capacity.
3. EV charging points
The response provided does not answer our enquiry about EV charging points. “To minimise the risk of accidental damage to the EV Chargers” is a disappointing justification for installing vehicular infrastructure in active travel space when examples of installation in the carriageway exist (e.g. 118 Torrisdale Street and 471 Victoria Road). Further, it does not respect the hierarchy of transport modes.
Putting aside that failure against basic principles, the installations fall short against the claim that “we ensure there is 2m clearance on the pavement for pedestrians and wheelchair users”.
At the EV charger outside the library on Craigpark there is only 1.5m pedestrian clearance for pedestrians between plinth upstand and empty cycle stand (which will be reduced to even less whenever the stand is use). But even if the cycle stand were removed entirely and relocated elsewhere, there still wouldn’t be the physical space available for a 2m clearance between the new charging point installation and the existing wall at the rear of the pavement).
The two EV chargers on Millerston Street at Craigpark Drive each leave 1.75m clearance between the new charging point installation and the existing wall at the rear of the pavement (reduced to 1.5m if accounting for the detritus and vegetation that narrows the practicably useable space).
The 2030 target is worthy in many respects, but it is not an excuse to further lower or override standards for active travel provision in deference to provision of motor vehicle infrastructure as has happened in these initial instances in the area.
It sets a very grim precedent for the subsequent tens/hundreds/thousands of EV charger installations installed in Dennistoun, Glasgow and Scotland.
“Having one in an area is an amenity”, yes, but there is no excuse for that amenity being introduced to the clear and unambiguous detriment of pavement users. All on-street EV chargers should be in the carriageway space.
Why are EV chargers being installed within active travel space rather than within the ample carriageway space available, when there are precedents showing that it is entirely possible for this to be achieved?
The stated ‘2m clearance’ was not achievable with an on-pavement installation at either the Craigpark or Millerston Street location, yet EV chargers were still installed on the pavement: why is GCC not meeting its stated standard, and what will be done to correct the problem for this and future instances?
GCC: We have a great number of things to consider when installing chargers and although we have key criteria we try and meet, sometimes we have to make concessions and compromises otherwise we’ll never find any locations that are 100% suitable.
As you’ll see from the attached image from Victoria Road, the protective bollards have both been impacted by vehicles, which reinforces our aim to minimise the number of these we deploy. The alternative was to have cables trailing across the cycle lane. Hence, we chose the better of two options, neither of which were ideal. Our learning from these installations means we’ll be unlikely to use this as an option elsewhere.
Worth also noting that the chargers on both Victoria Road and Torrisdale Street are actually part of the parking bays rather than the carriageway proper. The in-shot nature of these locations affords these chargers some protection, which isn’t the case at Craigpark. See below image.
Apologies, my previous response should have read “we try to ensure there is 2m”. Again, if we stick rigidly to this, the vast majority of pavements in Glasgow would be precluded from consideration. 1.5m is the generally accepted guidance, for example from the Energy Saving Trust ‘Positioning charge points and adapting parking policies for electric vehicles’ guidance. It is also what a number of active travel and disability groups, organisations and charities have asked local authorities to commit to, including but not limited to ‘The Equal Pavements Pledge’ started by Transport for all and ‘Cut the Clutter’ being promoted by Living Streets. Hence we aim to exceed these standards under ideal conditions.
The transport hierarchy is an apt reference when considering preferred options from a sustainability perspective but it doesn’t preclude the use of vehicles in their entirety. Any suggestion that motor vehicles are no longer going to be a part of society is unrealistic, hence planning for active travel options and zero emission vehicles has to be undertaken in parallel. The installation of chargers shouldn’t be seen as preferential treatment for cars but rather on of a raft of activities being undertaken by the Council in response to climate change and air quality.
All of that being said, an officer has visited the library again and has acknowledged that the location of the charger isn’t ideal so is going to liaise with active travel colleagues to see if we can move these racks slightly to improve the pavement amenity. GCC will update DCC on this situation.
4. Road markings on Duke Street
The Duke Street pelican crossing near Whitehill Street has been back in operation since 16th September after an overdue return visit from the markings team. But it Additionally, there are still various places where the markings on Duke Street still do not match what was there before the resurfacing, including the following:
- At pelican crossing between Sword Street and Thomson Street: No studs along crossing route.
- At top of Thomson Street: hatched corner missing next to loading bay outside Essence of Beauty (No. 350B), and resultant changed junction geometry.
- Outside Florresters (No. 447): Loading bay text missing.
- Outside Techbytes (No. 356): Parking bay separator missing.
- Outside Commonwealth Central Practice (No. 362): Loading bay text missing.
- Outside Coia’s (No. 477): Loading bay text missing.
Furthermore, previous resurfacing work on or near Duke Street has taken place in recent weeks/months/years and is still without follow-up road marking reinstatements, including the following:
- McIntosh Street: markings not reinstalled after resurfacing.
GCC can advise that Roads maintenance will inspect the road markings on Duke Street and McIntosh Street and thereafter arrange re-instatement works as required.
- Duke Street at Craigpark: there used to be a hatched yellow box here before the carriageway was patched up.
GCC: With regard to the box junction marking, I’d suggest that since there hasn’t been an enforceable marking at this junction for more than 10 years, and that we’re not aware of any issues since then, there is no requirement for this restriction at this junction.
- Hillfoot Street: yellow lining inconsistencies (double/single/associated parking plate signage).
Can the above road marking issues be reviewed, and corrected where appropriate (along with any other issues not mentioned but which may also be applicable within the scope of this enquiry)?
GCC: Could DCC please expand on the inconsistencies?
Thank you for the new information provided which had not previously been made available by Co-wheels in response to previous enquiries. It is good to know that the return of a Co-wheels car to Whitehill Street is being dealt with as a priority.
GCC: You are very welcome
6. Advertising trailers
We appreciate that the advertising trailers have been raised internally and look forward to their removal in due course.
Planning Enforcement Ref no – DRS – 169192105
GCC: Will continue to pursue this matter
7. Spaces for People/Contraflow cycling
As the Designer of the scheme, ultimate responsibility for amendments to the scheme are the responsibility of GCC.
DCC accepts that “the contraflow cycling measures were removed in response to feedback from Police Scotland which highlighted the risk of collision in the narrow residential roads“, and that GCC has evidently taken this input and acted in agreement. But, thus far, no explanation has been given on the basis for the alleged risk, or how that risk is more significant than already exists on adjacent two-way streets.
Can GCC explain how well-marked and properly-signed one-way streets with contraflow cycling create a risk additional to that which exist on numerous otherwise identical two-way streets?
GCC: The Spaces for People project in Dennistoun was implemented under emergency temporary schemes, it was trialled and unfortunately Police Scotland were not supportive of all the measures, therefore they were subsequently removed. Due to these associated road safety risks it would require a more robust solution, which is something we will look at, and work with the community on when proposing permanent measures in this area.
DCC Response: Tuesday 2nd November 2021
Hillfoot Street (and additional street maintenance issues identified)
A document is attached detailing specific parking/loading signs and road markings referred to. Some other street maintenance issues requiring attention have also been noted.
DCC is aware of discussions about potentially establishing an Environmental Audit of the area. This is something that may indeed be useful for streamlining the future submission of similar streetscape maintenance issues and we would be keen to know more about how that might be implemented.
The additional information is appreciated. But ultimately, pedestrian space has been taken away rather than vehicular space so as “not to exacerbate any existing parking issues”.
Choosing to retain on-street car parking spaces in preference to retaining available pedestrian space is a retrograde step.
DCC welcomes the intention to develop a robust solution as part of future permanent measures in this area.
In the meantime, the process of introduction and removal has been explained but not the nature of the additional risk introduced. It remains unexplained how well-marked and properly-signed one-way streets with contraflow cycling created a “risk of collision in the narrow residential roads” additional to that which is allowed to exist on numerous otherwise identical narrow residential roads where two-way traffic is permitted.
Restrictions on motor vehicle movement and choosing to retain on-street car parking spaces has resulted in a reduction in routes available to cycles. Another retrograde step.
DCC welcomes GCC’s acknowledgement that the installation outside the library does not meet the “generally accepted” 1.5 minimum pedestrian clearance with the cycle stand in use, and we look forward to corrective works being carried out.
Beyond that instance, DCC also welcomes the stated aim of GCC to exceed standards set out by organisations such as Transport For All, Living Streets and others. With that noted, we wish to highlight the following passages from said guidance, which provide a fuller description of the pertinent issues than a focus on minimum allowable pedestrian clearance:
- Transport For All – Equal Pavements Pledge:
Electric Vehicle charging points should only be situated on a pavement as a last resort if there are no other options.
- Living Streets – Cut The Clutter: Tackling Poor Placement of Electric Vehicle Charging Points (on page 2):
The rollout of these new EV charging points should not come at the expense of pedestrians. We have already seen numerous examples of the thoughtless placement of charging points on the pavement resulting in unnecessary obstructions. This easily avoidable pavement clutter is inconvenient for everyone and particularly problematic for people with wheelchairs, buggies, or those living with sight loss. The reduction of pavement space also represents a major step backwards in how we prioritise the allocation of space in our cities and towns.
If EV charging points are to be installed they should be located off-street, for example in car parks at leisure centres, community facilities, shopping centres, train stations, or housing estates. If this is not possible, charging points should be located on the road in well-designed build-outs.
Pavements should be the last resort for EV charging points and should only be considered suitable if 1.5 metres of space is left for people to walk and pass each other safely and easily.
- Energy Saving Trust – Positioning chargepoints and adapting parking policies for electric vehicles (on page 7):
For a wheelchair user and a pedestrian to pass side-by-side, a clear footway width of 1.5m is required, although recommendations vary. Avoid installing chargepoints in locations where the available pavement space has already been restricted by other street furniture, such as road signs, feeder pillars, and bike racks.
DCC additionally notes that GCC’s own Public Realm and Maintenance Guide provides the following guidance (on page 99):
Electric vehicles will bring some benefits to cities, but it should not come at the expense of people and city life. Above all, walking must be prioritised in cities to make cities and citizens the most healthy, happy, and prosperous they can be.
Freestanding electric vehicle charging points should where practicable be installed in the carriageway, in place of an existing parking space or zones of single / double yellow lining. They should mounted on a kerbed and bollarded build out to protect them from moving vehicles, as demonstrated in the image to the right. Locations should not be isolated and should be protected by additional nibs / build outs at either end of the block.
It is of some concern that, as we see the first few EV chargers arrive in Dennistoun, basic minimum standards are not being met, let alone any evident attempt at best practice. Especially so in the Dennistoun Conservation Area. There are many opportunities to provide unobtrusive EV chargers in Dennistoun, so it is disappointing to see these precedents being set.
When an installation designed for use in footways is used in a carriageway situation and found to be easily damaged (as with the Victoria Road example), this should highlight the need to develop a design specifically suited to carriageways rather than ‘reinforce an aim to minimise the number of chargers deployed in the carriageway’.
The Victoria Road and Torrisdale Street examples are indeed in parking bays rather than the ‘carriageway proper’. But so are the locations on Alexandra Park Street at Craigpark Drive, and yet these chargers were still placed in the pavement.
It’s acknowledged that “sometimes we have to make concessions and compromises otherwise we’ll never find any locations that are 100% suitable”. But, again, it seems to be pedestrians who are expected to compromise in deference to the provision of vehicular infrastructure.
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