The South City Way - Glasgow City Council's winning design in the Scottish Government funded Community Links PLUS competition - will deliver a 3km segregated cycle and pedestrian route from Queen's Park in city's southside to Merchant City.
The Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf, joined local business owner, Shoaib Shafaatulla, Deputy Director of Sustrans Scotland, Daisy Narayanan, and Glasgow City Council's Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, Anna Richardson, for the start of initial works.
The South City Way (SCW) won the 2016 Community Links PLUS (CLPLUS) competition run by Sustrans Scotland.
In addition to the creation of world class active travel infrastructure in a densely populated area of Glasgow, the SCW will deliver a host of community, health and business benefits through its place-making approach.
Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, said: "I am delighted to join partners and local businesses in launching the SCW. Glasgow City Council has demonstrated real vision through its commitment to develop this major active travel route from the south side to the city centre.
"The expert panel who evaluated the 2016 bid was incredibly impressed with the high level of design and innovation shown by the SCW project. Whether you live, travel or work in Glasgow, this infrastructure will allow generations of people to better and easier enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport."
Funded by the Scottish Government and run by Sustrans Scotland, the design competition delivers pioneering and game-changing projects which inspire public bodies in Scotland to design better places and spaces for people to live, walk and cycle in for everyday journeys.
Granted £3.25 million of funding from the Scottish Government with Glasgow City Council match funding the investment, the SCW is expected to be complete in late 2018. On completion, journey times between Queen's Park and the city centre are estimated to take 30 minutes on foot and 12 minutes by bike.
The first phase of works on Albert Avenue and Albert Road in the southside of the city will see the sections of these streets that adjoin to Victoria Road transformed into attractive and pedestrianised public areas with cycle racks and green space.
Sustrans Scotland, Deputy Director, Daisy Narayanan, said: "Glasgow City Council's SCW shows real ambition and vision towards improving conditions for people who choose to walk or cycle along a major commuter route, while also connecting a densely populated area with the city centre. Once completed, the South City Way will improve travel choices and accessibility for residents and visitors. It will also reduce congestion, improve air quality, enable easier use of public transport, and create places where people want to socialise, shop and spend time in.
"Our hope is for the SCW to become a leading example of how places that integrate people moving by foot, bike or public transport lead to stronger local economies and healthier people than places designed around vehicles."
In addition to creating a segregated route between Queen's Park and the city centre, central to the SCW's vision is the redevelopment of Victoria Road as a place for sustainable walking, cycling, bus and rail travel.
Delivering such sustainable infrastructure will support smaller retailers in the area, create healthier communities and deliver safer, more attractive streets. Works on Victoria Road will commence in early 2018.
Councillor Anna Richardson, Glasgow's City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said: "This marks the start of a fantastic and very exciting project that's going to bring huge improvements to the area and the people who live here. There's been extensive engagement with local communities, groups and businesses from day one and this will continue throughout the project.
"We want to see more people cycling and walking, and the right infrastructure is key in ensuring these options are safe, enjoyable and sustainable. Increasing the number of everyday journeys by bike brings benefits both to individuals and our city."
Ground breaking activity comes after the recent announcement of the 2017 CLPLUS competition results that revealed all five finalist projects will be granted up to 50% of the project cost to deliver its proposed active travel design.
Glasgow City Council again was a deserved winner with its Woodside Mini Holland bid, alongside entries from Stirling Council, Highland Council and two projects from City of Edinburgh Council. These four councils will share over £22.5m in match funding.
Community Links PLUS is a design competition, hosted by Sustrans Scotland and funded by the Scottish Government. Now in its second year, it seeks big, bold and innovative projects to restore the balance of Scotland's streets in favour of people walking and cycling. Previous successful entries have demonstrated an integrated approach to place-making, integrating community engagement, urban design, and promotion of walking and cycling to generate projects on a scale not yet seen in Scotland.
The aim of Community Links PLUS is to create inspirational examples of high-quality infrastructure and more widely to encourage:
• The delivery of more ambitious cycling and walking infrastructure across Scotland
• An increase in the number of aspirational projects being submitted to the Scottish Government's Community Links grant programme run by Sustrans
• Greater understanding of what high-quality cycling and walking infrastructure looks and feels like amongst families, communities, and decision makers
• A demonstration of the wider benefits that cycling and walking brings, including positive impacts on health and wellbeing, the quality of the environment and public realm, strengthened local economies and increased road safety.
Community Links PLUS is a three-stage design competition targeted at local authorities and statutory bodies.
Stage one is for initial expressions of interest.
Stage two selects the strongest projects from stage one and funds each design a grant of up to £10,000 to develop its proposal further.
Stage three selects the highest quality projects from stage two, each then receiving a grant of up to £40,000 to finalise their detailed proposal before pitching to a cross-sector panel.
Glasgow City Council won the first CLPLUS competition in 2016 with its South City Way design. It was announced in September 2017 that all five finalist projects in its 2017 competition would be granted up to 50% of the project cost to deliver the design.
More information on the South City Way is available here