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Bus lane plan for Argyle StreetBus lane plan for Argyle Street (© Evening Times)
Transport bosses want buses to return to the pedestrian area of Argyle Street
in Glasgow city centre.
The route is one of several in the city where Strathclyde Partnership for Transport
(SPT) officials want new bus lanes to cut journey times. The existing bus priority
routes mostly end outside the city centre boundary, leaving passengers with a
frustrating crawl through the city during rush hour.
It is hoped having a quality bus service operating in the east end of Argyle Street
between the junctions of Queen Street and Glassford Street, which has been
pedestrian-only since the late 1970s, would help rejuvenate the rundown area. SPT
officials say cracking city centre congestion is the key to making bus travel more
attractive and combating what they say is a "downward spiral" in the industry, which
has seen routes cut and service frequencies slashed.
At the moment, passengers can take more than 20 minutes travelling from one
end of the city to another during peak periods as buses take their place on the
road with commuters and shoppers travelling by car. The transport body, which is
run by 12 councils in west Scotland, has welcomed moves by Glasgow City Council
to extend the Fastlink "rapid bus" service to the SECC and Southern General Hospital
into the city centre when it opens in 2015.
Council planners are also seeking to make the bus corridors planned for the
Commonwealth Games in 2014 to take visitors and athletes to venues a permanent
feature as part of its legacy for the city – another move SPT believes will improve the
quality of services offered to passengers. But officials have told the Evening Times
that tough decisions would need to be made over the next two years to ensure buses
are given sufficient priority within the city boundaries as new traffic management
measures are drawn up.
They warned that a number of developments, including the expansion of the
Buchanan Galleries shopping mall, plans for a college "super campus" in Cathedral
Street and the redevelopment of George Square could increase car use and congestion
unless they are planned in a co-ordinated way.
SPT chairman George Redmond said: "Working with Glasgow City Council, government,
the Confederation Of Passenger Transport UK, bus operators and others means we
can ensure the promotion of public transport is given the priority it deserves when
designing a city centre to encourage economic growth. These things cannot be done
in isolation. There is a way buses can be brought right into the city. Making better
use of public spaces could result in reduced journey times, as well as improving the
overall consumer experience."
Officials told the Evening Times that reintroducing buses along the pedestrian area
would help make the street more attractive to shoppers. But they have stressed they
are not talking about turning the entire 200-metre section back into a road, but
installing a single-lane carriageway, about three metres wide, that would be used
only by buses. Glasgow City Council is thought to be interested in SPT's proposals,
although officials are cautious about how much road space could be turned over to
buses without making it impossible for cars to travel into the city.
A spokesman said: "SPT is a key partner in delivering Glasgow's local transport strategy.
"Together, we have already invested more than £30million in the city's Streamline bus
corridors and established the country's largest Statutory Quality Bus Partnership.
Over the next two years, we will deliver the first phase of the Fastlink project into
the city centre."
The proposals were given a mixed reaction by business and motoring groups, who
warned that drivers should not be "forced out" of Glasgow. Stuart Patrick, chief executive
of Glasgow Chamber Of Commerce, said SPT had made an "important contribution" to
debating the future of Glasgow, but added: "We do not support the simple view that the
car or the commercial vehicle should be gradually forced out of the city centre. We must,
for example, consider the long term health of the city centre retail sector, whose main
rivals in out of town shopping malls have unrestricted access available to cars."
Neil Greig, director of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said he would
welcome greater priority measures for buses – but only if good enough services to
help them get out of their cars. He said: "If you are going to make it more difficult
for car drivers by taking away street parking and putting in more bus only lanes, you
have to be able to sell it to them by making it easy to get out of their cars and get on to
fast and affordable buses. What we don't have now is bus-based park and ride facilities
outside Glasgow, like in Edinburgh."
A spokesman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents bus firms,
welcomed SPT's proposals. He said: "Congestion in Strathclyde is markedly worse than
the Scottish average, so efforts to free buses from the traffic – so increasing reliability
and reducing running times – are to be welcomed."
No No No No
It just won't work
People in that part of the town are too used to wondering across the roads without looking and there has been lots of people hit and even killed. Then you have the people in their little chariots thinking they are buses and abuse it.
|Delmont St Xavier
I can remember when busses, cars and lorries went down that street both ways! (There were no pedestrian streets only routes in those days). I wonder if it would be so hard to return traffic going through.
I do agree that there would be those in cars and lorries who would use it under the banner 'them rules dinnae apply tae me.'
what a bad idea!!
seems to me that the planners who caused all this by changing the roads, should finally get their arses kicked for causing this problem....
On the brighter side....were this and other proposals looking at City Centre Trams, then perhaps the future could become a lot clearer....
As long as they dont try to install those rising bollard things
George Street in Edinburgh and the High Street had some comical moments with people trying to beat them rising...
The very mention of Trams should strike fear into any council after the fiasco in Edinburgh. They don't work they injure cyclists and would kill someone with a personal music player. In fact the latter have a hard enouh time negotiating normal traffic as they find the latest X-factor pish on the all important music box. Pretty sure most of them think that horns on the track.
Officials say the plan will make Argyle St more attractive to shoppers....
HTF did they figure that one out?
Its having top-brand shops that makes it more attractive!
Yet another hair-brained idea in my opinion.
I remember the cross when it was busy,Then they closed the station down .the area has struggled ever since!Maybe join the low level up to union line and open it up to public get some life about the place the station seems to sustain regeneration on its own.especially the cross being in the city centre itself and not too far east.its ideal for a hub station.
Brings back memories of an on-street survey early 1990's? when the then SPTE did a survey in Argyle Street pedestrian precinct at the time trams were proposed for the City Centre. Guy had a montage of a tram in the precinct, canvassing public opinion. I had a young family at that time and he got a definite NO! vote from me. At that time there was ample scope for tram tracks along Osborne Street - and it is a bus rute just now.
And I'm one of the generation that as a youngster was brought into the 'Toon' on Saturdays for a rig-out (clothes). Argyle Street and Sauchiehall Street were frightening places with trams, buses, trolley buses, cars and lorries. Pavements had 2 flows of people going in different directions, was hard to get into the shops, and crossing the road a bloody nightmare. Must have freaked out parents with young kids.
What a totally different feel the city centre has now its pedestrianised. Right cosmopolitan, and the free entertainment is great!