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.
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.
Each locker can take 6 bikes
Glasgow City Council are consulting on the introduction of “bread bin” type cycle storage lockers on streets to encourage more people to cycle (see here). There is a questionnaire that can be accessed through the link. After asking some information about respondents, such as whether you own a bike, there are two key questions. Whether you are in favour of on street secure cycle storage, even if this means a loss of parking spaces, and how much you would people be prepared to pay. £1.50 a week is being mooted which seems a lot when car parking is free.
The Strathbungo Society has previously discussed on street secure cycle storage, particularly for the Nithsdale Rd/St/Lane area, as part of the Pollokshields Charrette. The general view is that it could make a big difference for people staying in tenement flats, not just in terms of saving space but also saving people from lugging bikes up stairwells. That is not to say other streets might not be interested. We would like to hear what you think, particularly if you respond to the consultation or would be interested in using a bike box. If enough people are interested we can facilitate a meeting and help make the case to the Council that Strathbungo should be included in the initial trial.
I have offered to act as contact for this until we get a “bike officer” on the Committee! You can contact me at email@example.com
Sorry folks, failed to get report of the fourth discussion group at AGM out for last week (see Heather’s post 27th). This group discussed how we might progress the ideas that came out of the Pollokshields charrette or community planning event, subsequent walkabouts for the Nithsdale Rd area (which includes the phone box) and the stall we ran at Bungo in the Back Lanes. Since then very little has happened but recently we were informed by the Pollokshields Trust that it has been approved funding in principle to help the local community develop proposals further – good news.
While it was acknowledged that numerous good ideas for improving the area had been collected, the unanimous view was we should develop proposals to redesign the Nithsdale Rd deadend as a whole, with a view to greening it and changing the road layout. It was felt there was huge potential to improve the street from how it is at present to the benefit of the people who live there, local businesses and the wider local community. The big idea here was there should be a line of trees down the centre (could be in planters) with parking on either side of this central line around which cars could circulate. Coupled with this the pavement areas could be improved (eg removal of rubbish bins).
There was support for setting up a steering group to take this forward, with their first task being to consult and involve local residents and businesses in making the street a better place – with support hopefully from the Pollokshields Trust. While this could include some smaller projects – some “quick wins” (the phonebox?) would encourage people to get involved – central to this should developing proposals for street redesign.
And two new ideas were suggested, a city tree (see here) to reduce the pollution from Pollokshaws Rd and subterranean rubbish bins as happens in many parts of Europe.
If you are interested in getting involved contact firstname.lastname@example.org