Congested roads have made Glasgow the most polluted city in Scotland and, due to traffic, motorists have become less able to make convenient journeys.
But in the last two years, the number of people commuting to central Glasgow has increased by more than 80% as attempts to minimize car traffic continue, new figures show.
The largest cycling infrastructure project of its kind in the UK is being carried out by Glasgow. The cost is about £ 115 million, funded by the City Deal initiative of the Scottish and UK governments.
The first level, with segregated bike lanes and visual improvements on Sauchiehall Street, has been completed. Similar improvements will also be made to another 17 streets in and around the city center.
Ten of the best cycle routes in Scotland
The latest figures reveal, according to the city council, that the project has already achieved its target.
The number of cyclists using the route to get into the city center has increased by 80.8 percent in the last two years, from 310 in 2018 (on the day the data was collected) to 561 in 2020, according to the council’s own estimates, while the number of cyclists using the route to leave the city has increased from 56 to 396 – an increase of 606 percent.
The Avenues initiative has its origins in the economic crash of 2008 and its subsequent effects on downtown areas and retailers in particular, and is aimed at enhancing public parks, reducing congestion and providing a safer path for cyclists.
The growth in cycling since the pandemic has been followed by a spike in cycling injuries in Glasgow, recent figures show.
The statistics were welcomed by Thomas Cornwallis of the cycling advocacy group Go Ride, but called for “accelerated.” of the initiative.
He said, “The Avenue projects are a welcome change to the city’s fabric, not only creating better places for walking, cycling or riding, but also improving the entire public sphere with trees, new lights and surfaces.”
How a bike adventure helped three old friends deal with sadness, anxiety and getting older
“This will ultimately lead to a more people-centered city that maintains access by private car for those who need it,” he said.
“We would like to see Glasgow City Council be more ambitious to speed up implementation in the city.”
A number of other cycling initiatives are planned in the area, while proposals to make a pedestrian zone part of George Square have also been approved and free parking has been abolished on Sundays, partially to facilitate active transport.
Figures show that in the first two weeks of the March closure, the decline in cars and buses in the city center contributed to a nearly 50 percent drop in pollution on Hope Street, which has long held the title of dirtiest street in Scotland. However, due to concerns about public transport safety, it is possible that car usage might have increased in subsequent months.
“These figures are amazing and proof that people are willing to get on their bikes in all weather if they feel it is safe to cycle to the city center,” said John Bynorth, policy and communications officer at Environmental Protection Scotland.
Biking up as cordons loosened for four months in a row
Reducing downtown congestion and cars will boost air quality and help industries, and it will benefit health and wellbeing by encouraging people to turn to cycling and walking.
“The success of the Avenues shows that Glasgow is taking the right steps to lay the foundations for a greener recovery from the pandemic,” he said.
“This is critical as the city prepares to host the COP26 climate summit next year.”
A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said, “Sauchiehall Avenue is a pilot for the other avenues to be established across the city center, and this success will hopefully be replicated across the project, bringing economic, environmental and social benefits.”