StrathbungoThe shop sits on Pollokshaws Road in the heart of the South-side in a small area just north of Shawlands called Strathbungo - an interesting part of the city that straddles the line between more affluent Crossmyloof and Maxwell Park, and the less salubrious areas of Eglinton, (Eastern) Pollokshields and Queens Park. In recent years it's become a little enclave of bohemia, with boutique hipster brasseries like Gusto and Relish and The Bungo rubbing up against traditional working class stalwarts like Heraghtys and The Allison Arms. For a small area, there's quite a bit of cycle infrastructure on display, although it still falls down in key areas of safety and directness.
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Strathbungo lies at the centre of a couple of key local through routes, specifically the North-South route along Pollokshaws Road and East-West routes along Calder Street, Allison Street and Nithsdale Drive/Road/Street, as well as bisecting a couple of train-lines. About 10-15 years ago, traffic routes were amended to create a gyratory system - plans which were vigorously opposed by local businesses and residents - which involved a implementing several one-way streets and the closing off roads to through motor traffic.
At the same time, some cycle-specific elements were implemented to complement. Most of it still survives, but as with a lot of contemporary infrastructure, without maintenance it has deteriorated somewhat. At the same time, there are some ideas that were implemented at the time which seem - in hindsight, quite forward thinking. For example, all the way up Pollokshaws Road, there are examples of raised pavements at junction which give the impression of pedestrian priority.
|The concept is good - if only it could be extended to complementing cycle paths|
|It is possible - why not more of this?|
|You can also cross onto Nithsdale Road towards Maxwell Park|
The western half of Strathbungo resembles something close to the Woonerf's of the Netherlands, namely narrow roads primarily aimed at local access, except minus the lower speed limits. Motor vehicles haven't been removed here, but there's no through roads, with the exception of a narrow lane for bin lorry access at the rear by the railway line.
A little further south, we have another example of what you might call classic filtered permeability, albeit somewhat compromised by the lack of double yellow lines preventing parking across the mouth of the path.
|No-one here today but usually that space is taken by a motor vehicle|
Heading south along Pollokshaws Road towards Shawlands, you are struck by how wide the roadway is and how underused the space is. Again, Glasgow has done half the job, by taking away some general traffic lanes but without being brave or radical enough to the extra step to make cycling easy and pleasant. Again we have the raised pavements across minor roadways, but that seems to be more about traffic calming than prioritising pedestrians.
|No space for cycling here?|
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Continuing on to the border with Shawlands, I was struck by presence of street-lighting attached to the side of tenements, as opposed to the usual free-standing affairs.
|A rare sight|
Clearly it is possible to do that and, as Glasgow has retained a lot of its traditional sandstone tenements, it seems strange that they haven't made further use of this sort of arrangement. It would certainly help to reduce the plethora of street furniture that litters the pavements.
|A pole - yesterday|
ShawlandsAnd onto the crossroads at Langside Road where Shawlands really begins. My fellow Glasgow-based cycling blogger Darkerside has discussed Shawlands at length before, so I won't repeat all of his good work, but there have been a few changes since that post was written which bear comment.
There are apparently plans afoot to transform the area around the crossroads, specifically the Mitchell Halls and surrounds, to turn it into a form of civic square. As you can see in the map and my picture below, there's no shortage of space, but how to allocate it?
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|Space for Posters but no space for bikes?|
|The problem with adding zippy-looking pedestrian-orientated infra on busy through routes - without maintenance it deteriorates rapidly|
|Now with added pinch points!|
Regrettably, the have also removed some of the raised beds over the side streets, replacing this instead with dropped kerbs:
|As it is now...|
|...as it was a little further up the road|
Again, perhaps fashion has changed amongst Glasgow's highway engineers but it seems a shame that this idea has been discarded, given that it could work well if combined with segregated cycle paths.
The widened footpaths have definitely to be commended, and it was apparent that some of the local cafés had taken advantage by extending outdoor seating into it - precisely the kind of thing that makes an area seem much more pleasant. They have also retained the on-street parking, but yet again Glasgow has failed to take into account cycling into the design plan.
This new section corresponds to the footprint of the much-reviled Shawlands Arcade on the western side of the carriageway. Space for the extended pavement has been reclaimed by removing the totally unnecessary central reservation, but I would argue that even more could be done by either entirely removing parking from the western side or by reducing the width of the pavement.
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Now I appreciate the latter suggestion seems a bit extreme, but there's a good reason I make it. The footpath at the roadside only really serves the people who park on the road there - the shops are in an elevated promenade and there are only a couple of entrances for pedestrians at either end of the arcade area. Assuming the Arcade stays in its present form (not a given but there are no current plans to demolish it as far as I'm aware), pedestrian through traffic mainly limits itself to the promenade area. Removal of parking would be a more palatable choice but every bit as contraversial, but there is a relatively un-tapped resource - the Arcade's own 300-space car park, which is free for the first 60 minutes. There have clearly been attempts to promote its use recently, as evidenced here:
That provision easily out-numbers the on-road capacity and is significantly cheaper - all it requires is a bit of consultation and some promotion to change driver behaviour to accept this, and all that under-used space could be freed up for better northbound cycle provision (or indeed creating a wide bi-directional path), whilst still retaining loading facilities on the southbound carriageway.
At the top of the shopping area, its difficult not to conclude that something could be done to improve provision here. Look at all the sheer amount of roadspace in the next picture:
|Feel the width!|