LAST week my colleague Kim Long wrote on the need to rethink our roads, especially given most households don’t own a car in Glasgow. 

We were delighted to see some big progress since then with the council awarded £3.5million to help make streets safe for during the transition out of lockdown.

It was also really exciting to see how quickly the council can act when a protest pop-up cycle lane in Blackhill was made a permanent fixture in just a few days. This was a great example of local expertise shaping the decisions of the council. Well done to all involved.

But, with a new round of funding recently announced we are calling for the administration in Glasgow to up its ambition and this week we are setting out five key priorities we would support them on to achieve this.

Firstly, we need to immediately introduce pop-up cycle lanes on arterial routes, the big wide streets which we all use to get between our communities and into the city centre.

We are concerned to hear suggestions that it will only be streets immediately outside shops which will have extra space created. This is important to do but people also need to be able to get there safely.

This is becoming even more important as lockdown restrictions are being gradually lifted and more people are returning to work. We need to make sure all our communities have the opportunity to cycle or walk to walk where possible, and that we have well established and safe routes for the return of the schools in August.

Secondly, we must act on the great opportunity we have to speed up the introduction of council projects already in the pipeline. This crisis is changing how people travel now and we can’t afford to wait 10 years to make it safe. We have after all declared a Climate and Ecolog-ical Emergency and we need to be acting like it by supporting pedestrians and cyclists.

With enough political will we would be very well placed to achieve this in Glasgow, not least as we have a great council officer team well versed in closing streets for events.

Thirdly, as part of a range of gains from this year’s budget, the Greens ensured our bike library project will be accelerated. 

Our aim is for schools to provide a bike for every child, with storage and maintenance assistance. We need to see action on this as soon as possible, ensuring all the city’s children are given the chance to join the increase in cycling.

Fourthly, we need to rapidly expand the number of car-free zones around schools. My colleague in the West End, Councillor Martha Wardrop, led the way in creating the first of these in Glasgow around Hillhead Primary School. Creating safer and cleaner streets for our children needs to be a priority for every child across the city and we should be putting this into place before schools start again in August.

Finally, we need to address the problem of bike storage. Too many people are put off cycling because they have nowhere safe to keep a bike and we hear this complaint most regularly from people living in tenements. We welcomed the council’s trial of on street bike lockers in 50 locations last year. But now is the time when that needs to be rolled out much more widely across the city.

For more information, have a look at our #StreetSpace for Glasgow campaign on Twitter and Facebook.