Work to refresh and enhance Spaces for People physical distancing measures in Glasgow city centre is due to start soon.
The temporary travel infrastructure which comprises mainly of footway widening measures was installed on an emergency basis at the start of COVID-19 to help stifle the virus by creating additional pedestrian space at likely pinch points around the city centre.
Following a period of monitoring and review, as well as responding to feedback from city centre businesses, Spaces for People infrastructure will be adjusted and refined over the coming months to target more precisely, physical distancing requirements where they are most needed and to improve their overall look and feel.
Red and white coloured water-filled barriers which were rapidly deployed during the first lockdown to extend footways will shortly be removed at most locations and as part of an ongoing review, consideration will be given instead to the construction of temporary, level surface footways or the installation of more attractive infrastructure designed to ease pedestrian movement and provide queuing space as required across the city centre.
Temporary bus boarders which were installed to support safer access onto public transport for essential journeys will also be enhanced in both build and appearance - maximising space on the footway and making it easier to maintain a safe distance from others.
Susan Aitken, Council Leader and City Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth said: "Spaces for People remains an integral element of the city's coronavirus response, and the ongoing programme has undoubtedly made it easier and safer for Glaswegians to keep a safe distance from others when out walking, wheeling and cycling. The agility of these temporary measures means that they can be enhanced, refined and in some cases removed following a period of monitoring and review to ensure they remain necessary and as effective as possible in helping to suppress the spread of the virus.
"The anticipated revisions to the city centre will not only improve the overall look of the measures, they will also provide a more robust provision which better suits what is needed in our city centre as we plan a long-term recovery and renewal for Glasgow's economy, now and as lockdown restrictions potentially ease."
Footway widening barriers will be removed from West Nile Street, Renfield Street, Union Street, Jamaica Street, Oswald Street, Hope Street, St Vincent Street, West George Street, West Regent Street, Bath Street and George Street. Pre-existing pay and display parking and loading restrictions along these lengths of road will be reinstated. Bus boarders will also be formalised on the same streets once the barriers are removed.
Additional revisions separate from the above are currently under consideration, with more detailed plans to follow as these are developed.
No changes are planned to the physical distancing infrastructure currently situated around Glasgow Central Station (Argyle Street, Union Street and Gordon Street), with measures on North Hanover Street adjacent to Glasgow Queen Street station, also to remain in place (see image below). The bus/cycle/taxi gate at George Square/South Frederick Street, and the bus/cycle/taxi lane on Cochrane Street; both installed to support more sustainable transport during COVID-19, will be retained, as will existing road closures on the east and west sides of George Square, and Hanover Street.
Supported by £7.5m funding from the Scottish Government administered by Sustrans Scotland, Glasgow's Spaces for People programme is seeing short-term travel infrastructure implemented across the city and active travel routes, forming a key part of the city's strategy for economic recovery.
Since the first lockdown last Spring, we have been working to widen footways in the city centre and neighbourhoods to enable safer pedestrian movement and easier access to shops, businesses, community facilities and public transport hubs. Temporary strategic cycling routes that present active travel as an attractive, viable commuting choice have also been implemented, with over 42km of pop-up cycle lanes now in place.
In addition to enhancing and refining existing Spaces for People travel infrastructure in the city centre, the programme's next phase which will be city-wide, will include further targeted widening of footways, expanding the pop-up cycle lane network, and vegetation clearance at identified pedestrian pinch-points. Consideration is also being given to the provision of Park and Pedal/Stride satellite car parks to support the eventual return of commuters to city centre workplaces.