DURING the last year, the Kingston Bridge was recognised on its 50th anniversary with an award of C-listed status from Historic Environment Scotland.

It opened in 1970 as part of Scotland’s first motorway and was promoted as potentially helping to alleviate traffic issues in Glasgow’s city centre.

It was designed for 120,000 vehicles a day. However, due to the excess volume and weight of traffic, along with design and construction issues, works to address serious structural deterioration had to be completed in the 1990s. Currently, it is the most used road bridge in Scotland and is crossed daily by about 155,000 vehicles.

Clearly, increased road capacity generates more traffic. It encourages driving and enables development of car dependent housing estates, retail parks and business parks. Instead of finding ways of alleviating traffic, we have to find more ways to get people out of their cars.

Reclaiming the streets for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport is the priority as we rapidly cut our transport emissions to halt catastrophic climate change.

We can learn from the world’s most liveable cities. In research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Vancouver has received high scores in terms of education, health care, culture, environment, and infrastructure. The main reason behind Vancouver’s achievement is the city’s determination in the 1970s and 1980s to resist the lure of motorways as a response to traffic problems. Traffic congestion, and the desire to avoid it, has influenced commuters in Vancouver to look at alternatives to car use.

Glasgow is seeking to make progress in the reduction of traffic dominance and car dependency. This can be delivered through the planning framework provided by the City Centre Living Strategy. There are improvements proposed to crossings and the environment around the M8. This has to focus on the context of the increased risk in extreme weather events caused by climate change. Torrential rains or higher summer temperatures and heat waves affect the conservation of the pavements and road infrastructure. There are significant maintenance and replacement works to consider due to the wear and tear of the city’s motorway infrastructure.

Some cities have chosen to dismantle their motorways instead of repairing them. They have adopted urban planning policy to enable the demolition of highways and creation of mixed-use development, parks, residential, commercial, or other land uses. This has promoted walkable and cycle-friendly cities.

In Milwaukee and Oregon, there has been complete demolition of highways and their replacement by a new neighbourhood with a landscaped boulevard.

In Boston and Seattle, where removing an urban freeway would exacerbate traffic problems, urban planners have constructed tunnels to relocate roadways underground and reclaim the surface space.

Currently, the emergency maintenance works at M8 Woodside Viaduct are creating significant traffic disruption and causing disturbance to residents, many of whom do not own a car. Green councillors support measures by this project to help address the adverse consequences of traffic on Glasgow’s communities.

There are negative impacts from these types of works on the local residents which should be more fully taken into account.