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James

Plans for new city park... on a roof covering the M8

Plans for new city park... on a roof covering the M8 motorway (© Evening Times)

Plans have been hatched to create a public park on a roof covering the M8 at Glasgow's Charing Cross.


In a bold vision to rehabilitate the historic area, along with Sauchiehall Street and the Garnethill district, 80 new
projects have been recommended by the local authority, the most radical by far being the M8 proposal. The park
would also extend to the immediate vicinity around the A-listed Mitchell Library and onto neighbouring streets.

Although no timescales or costs have been made at such an early stage, a report in front of the city council's
decision-making executive committee next week makes repeated references to the oncoming need to upgrade the
motorway infrastructure along the stretch. Another proposal involves creating a "raised central garden" space by
removing the existing slip lane, "thereby providing a new landmark green space at a key city centre gateway".

The plan echoes recent moves in New York where areas have been transformed due to parks and gardens being
built on disused 'high line' rail tracks. Much of the city council's plan for the wider area also borrows heavily from
urban regeneration in Copenhagen, where whole areas have been made pedestrian and cyclist-friendly.

Amongst the other proposed projects are a further pedestrian bridge over the M8, tree-lined sections of Sauchiehall
Street, dedicated cycle paths on Bath Street and Sauchiehall Street, the upgrading of Garnethill Park and the
redevelopment of Renfrew Street as an ‘Avenue for the Arts’. Also mooted are the creation of a ‘green street’ at
Blythswood Street/Rose Street, the closure of the steep Scott Street to traffic and the creation of a people or recreation
space, similar again to what has been achieved in cities such as New York. Charing Cross station is also recommended
for a makeover, creating a concourse area and more open facing.

The report states: "The uncovered M8 cutting contributes the negative qualities of severance, noise and air pollution,
while the three-lane slip roads on either side discourage anyone from doing any more than scuttling through as fast
as possible. Change is needed to make this part of the city more pleasant and easy to walk and cycle through and to
enable it to make some positive public realm contribution. The reality of infrastructure life cycles means that a decision
needs to be taken soon about investing in replacing elements of the existing motorway or altering it to the benefit of
the city and the region."

However it adds that it faces major challenges over feasibility and cost. It claims construction or installation of the
motorway 'cap' would "most likely require temporary closure of/access to the M8 in one or both directions. And although
road space in the area is often used inefficiently, even at peak times, reducing the number of lanes on the slip roads
and Bath Street bridge would hit traffic capacity.

Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “This radical plan outlines an exciting new vision for the Sauchiehall
and Garnethill District and a taste of what the city centre could look like in the future, setting the benchmark for modern,
vibrant cities across Europe. These proposals will lead to improved public spaces and a better connected centre of Glasgow,
fully able to capitalise on its unique assets and diversity. I look forward to the results of the forthcoming public consultation.”

A public consultation on the raft of plans will begin on November 20 and last for nine weeks. A final report will be brought
back for formal approval next February.



James H
Fat Cat

Dream on
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