The adverse effect of traffic on the comfort and safety of the residents in this area has the same root cause as in any other urban area, i.e. too many vehicles in too small a space. However, the problem is aggravated in Strathbungo in that the streets were not designed to carry through traffic or fast traffic, or to be used for parking. The older streets, Regent Park Square, Queen Square, Marywood Square and the northern half of Moray Place were built on a scale adequate for access to the houses by horse and carriage. The result is we have an area which is totally unsuitable for the unrestricted use of motor vehicles, whether belonging to residents or to anyone else.
So said the Strathbungo Society in their fact finding report in 1972. It’s a common theme in Strathbungo that the concerns of today are little different from those of yesterday, but it has been brought into focus by this week’s announcement of legislation to ban pavement parking in Scotland. What effect will this have on Strathbungo? Will we need to ask for an exemption, or is this the very thing we have been waiting for?
In 1972 the Society conducted a survey of the numbers of cars and commercial vehicles parked in Strathbungo overnight, There is nothing like hard data to base a discussion on, and so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to repeat it. This is what they, and I, found.
When I first moved into Marywood Square 4 years ago I thought that the lane running up the back of my tenement was a brilliant opportunity to get some wild flowers growing, so I sowed some seeds. They came to nothing. I was busy, new flat etc, I didn’t really give it much thought. The next Spring I took it a bit more seriously and I and a close neighbour both sowed seeds. Same result – nothing! But this time I realised why. The lane had been sprayed by weed killer – or so it appeared to me by the burned vegetation. So last year I gave seed sowing a miss only to see a couple of new plants in my garden killed as weed killer drifted through the railings.
I’m now getting more and more aware, and concerned that we have a serious environmental problem and it seems that globally we’re in the throws of a sixth mass extinction of species (manmade this time?) including a major threat to insects which are at the bottom of a food chain that maintains birds and animals and are crucial as pollinators. Could we in Strathbungo not play a small part in countering this by challenging the Council, who I’m presuming spray the lanes with weedkiller, and consciously try and turn our lanes into a haven for wild flowers insects and birds. It seems to me that this could be a very positive experience for the children in the area who with proper parental encouragement and support might enjoy helping bring wild flowers into the lanes and learning about them and the wildlife they support. I’ll contact the Council (again) and this time try and find out just why they think it’s a good idea to spray weedkiller. It seems strange to me as they don’t seem to take any responsibility for any other kind of “maintenance” in the lanes. Would other residents, and maybe the Strathbungo Society itself be interested in trying to get the spraying stopped and encouraging wild life into our area?
David Murray may not be the most familiar Strathbungo character, given he lives 35 miles away on a farm in West Lothian, but he has surprisingly strong links to the community.
He has been delivering fresh organic fruit and vegetables fortnightly to the area for many years (thewholeshebag.co.uk), and regularly serves at the Society’s Back Lanes Tea Garden. His son has even provided the musical accompaniment on the pipes some years.
He recently helped clear the railway embankment at Marywood Square in preparation for spring planting, and is a dab hand at patching cobbles in the back lanes, currently restoring a section off Marywood Square. He is landscaping several gardens, including fresh turf for the tea garden this year.
Single handedly sprucing up Strathbungo – if you spot him, say hi!
Statement from The Strathbungo Society Committee
Traffic and parking in Strathbungo present a problem of ever increasing severity; recently we have been informally advised that it will soon be necessary to restrict parking in Regent Park, Queen and Marywood Squares to a single side in order to allow access for emergency vehicles. Fire vehicles in particular are increasingly unable to get along these streets. There is however an alternative more radical solution to this problem that will also take care of many of the other environmental problems associated with Strathbungo’s streets. It is clearly not practicable to think of restricting use of the streets to pedestrians alone (pedestrian precinct) but it is possible to consider a residential precinct. This type of arrangement has been extensively used in Holland where it is known as a Woonerf (plural Woonerven).
In late January a resident called 999 to report a house fire. Two fire engines were promptly dispatched, but neither arrived. They both became trapped in the narrow streets of Strathbungo, due to poorly or illegally parked cars.
Fortunately the fire burnt itself out on this occasion, with no major harm done, but it could have been much worse. And this is not the first time this has happened.
Sometimes we pay too little attention to where we leave our cars, and the consequences it has for others, be it pedestrians and young children in the street, or those trapped in a burning building.
Bungo in the Back Lanes returns for its 20th year this summer! The date is Saturday June 22nd, so get planning. What will you do this year?
If you want more details of running a stall, or heloping out in the planning or on the day, see our Bungo in the Back Lanes pages on Bungoblog.
STRATHBUNGO WINDOW WANDERLAND IS BACK… GET THE DATE IN YOUR DIARY AND YOUR THINKING CAP ON!
On Saturday 23 February 2019, Strathbungo Window Wanderland will once again transform the streets of Strathbungo into a spectacular outdoor gallery for all to enjoy.
As always, the success of last year’s event was down to the incredible efforts of residents and their wonderful window displays… From performances in front rooms to amazing projections onto buildings; mischievous monkeys, polka dot parties, disco balls, bubble baths, mythical creatures, intricate installations, pop up bingo halls and tattoo parlours, fantastical faraway lands and music filling the streets…. It was beautiful! We can’t wait to see what 2019’s event brings!
Simply create a window display in the front windows of your flat, house, business or shop. Please don’t feel intimidated! A ‘display’ could be as simple as a candle, book, fairy lights or image in a window. Or you could go all out and stage a performance in your front room! Simple or spectacular… it’s completely up to you.
Strathbungo Window Wanderland is organised entirely by volunteers in their spare time. If you have any questions or would like to help spread the word about the event, please contact Sarah Reid at email@example.com
You can follow the event on Facebook.
Strathbungo Window Wanderland was inspired by and is part of the wider Window Wanderland programme which was set up in Bristol in 2015. If you would like to run an event in your area, go to windowwanderland.com
Supported by the Strathbungo Society and Pollokshields Area Partnership.