THURSDAY’S edition of the Glasgow Times had to be one of the most informative to date. However, because it was so insightful, I have to ask myself, just what do those in charge of our city really think they are playing at? Just what are their priorities?

A new-look George Square. Consultation on a tree-lined Glassford Street. Govan tenement repairs. Involvement in new housing in Sighthill. The introduction of a 20mph speed limit through most of the city, and more. And yet, Frank McAveety, in his Labour View column, would have us believe that the SNP-controlled Chambers really only have one priority: a debate on the right to hold a referendum to leave the United Kingdom.

Not so. Throughout the Times, you can clearly see that our councillors are busy at work, and have their own ideas and agendas in place to create what they believe will be a better city. A greener city. Albeit a much slower city.

Cars aren’t designed to run at 20mph. Studies show children are more likely to be killed or more seriously injured when cars travel at slower speeds. Our city is already at a standstill. A Mr MacEwen commented in the letters page about the state of the High Street. Have our councillors seen it at 5pm? It’s nose to tail. Two miles an hour; never mind 20; all cars pumping out their fumes; and we already have some of the most polluted streets in Europe.

Let’s stop this fixation on pretty tree-lined “avenues”, like Sauchiehall Street, where seldom used bicycle paths are really the main priority. Let’s instead design our cities and housing stock correctly. Wider streets; less restrictions; faster movement throughout the city. Create parks, not hideous hotel blocks and student accommodation. Let’s sort out the youth problems in Priesthill and around Silverburn with better design and infrastructure. Let’s get Garnethill’s bin problems sorted, and Anderston’s. It’s over a month now since our new green wheelie bins have been emptied. Our city is coming to a standstill.

I’ve said it before, and will say it again. The decision to get rid of the council’s department of architecture, some 20 years or so ago, was the worst decision the council ever made. Having no “City Architect”, a title seen on many of our older prestigious buildings, and reducing what was then the largest architectural, civil, structural, electrical, surveying and clerk of works department in Europe to a mere handful, effectively severed the head from the city, making it multi-directional, rather than guided, clear and purposeful.

The city will continue to grind to a halt and become bitty and less of a whole unless someone sits down and plans and structures it as a whole. Our city is a living environment, and it is being strangled and choked by other’s views of “so-called” progress.

You might as well ban all cars from the city. Perhaps that’s the next step. Everyone get on your bike now, as that is where the future lies.
Alan McGillveray