The Emperor’s New Paving

The last consultation plans for Byres Road are now public. You can view the design document proposals here and take part in their survey here. The plans are also available for viewing in Hillhead and Partick libraries. Consultation ends Wednesday 27 June.

There will also be a drop­-in event 3-7pm on Thursday 31 May (Hillhead Library) where council officers will be on hand to answer any queries about the proposals.

We’ve stitched together the plan sections into one image.

Mosaic of street plans. The red dashed line is the original pavement (click to enlarge)
What the proposals show

There are no formal restrictions on motor traffic. Byres Road will remain a motor traffic through route, continuing to bring existing levels of noise, toxins and danger into the high street.

The proposals do include improvements to side roads, reduced car parking and introduce a one-way system with Church St at the bottom part of the street.

And then there’s cycling. People cycling are expected to cycle in narrow margin “lanes” and overtake buses stopped at bus stops like the extreme sport urban cycling is commonly perceived to be. The reduction in parking will reduce the chance of dooring but there are still places where the cycle lane is in the door zone. People who are new to cycling might be led into a false sense of security.

Not a child friendly situation.

The proposals accidentally show these accidents in the making.

Left Hook and walled-in behind a bus next to a van

The proposals do initially look nice but functionally it is very similar to before with no safe place for cycling in one of Glasgow’s most accident prone streets. You are still faced with the same problems as before.  Is this The Emperor’s New Paving?



So how can we make Byres Road safe enough for a child to cycle?

While we have made previous drawings, we’ve adapted the latest proposals to show you can still keep the same number of parking and loading bays and have safe cycle routes.

Segregated cycle paths fitted into the same plans

With a cycle path next to the pavement protected from the road, it becomes useful for a much larger portion of society. Disabled people can use bikes as mobility aids, and mobility scooters should be allowed to use this space. This should be for everyone to travel with wheels on human sized power, bikes, scooters, wheelchairs, rollerblades, skateboards… And people would feel less forced to drive short journeys.

Compare the official proposals with our segregated paths proposal

Byres Road can’t fit everything in, but are we as a society making the right compromises? Will Byres Road get left behind as other streets in Glasgow build safer streets? We are not tribes of people defined by how we travel, we are individuals who need freedom to safely travel in different ways without harming others. It is important to get your voice heard at the consultation and call for livable streets.


3 thoughts on “The Emperor’s New Paving”

  1. You can’t have buses, cars, lorries, cyclists and pedestrians all being properly catered for in Byres Rd – there just isn’t the room. These proposals are just tokenism, nothing more.


  2. Trying to carve up roads that for anybody’s lifetime have been assigned priority to motored vehicles cannot succeed. The motors have to come off the road and then pedestrians and bicycles are free to use them (have a look at photos from any major city downtown ca. 1900…..). That can happen with two simple moves:
    1. Change liability laws to make the larger collident automatically at fault.
    2. Price fuel according to its extended costs (including military, social, and environmental impact).
    Even a partial application works – witness Amsterdam (check it now vs 60 years ago).


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