Glasgow’s Space for Distancing initiative has been awarded £3.5 million from Sustrans Scotland to support physical distancing measures across the city and help to stifle the spread of COVID-19.
Funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Sustrans, the ‘Spaces for People’ programme will provide additional space for physical distancing in public places for people to walk, wheel or cycle while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.
The money will go towards temporary travel infrastructure in the city centre, city neighbourhoods and active travel routes, and will form a key part of the city’s strategy for economic recovery. These measures will help to ensure sufficient space on footways for businesses and their customers while the requirement for 2 metres of physical distancing between people remains in place.
This funding award follows on from the recent closure of Kelvin Way to vehicles, and the creation of the Clydeside cycle lane which runs from Saltmarket to the Clyde Arc, and is designed to ease pressure for pedestrians on the Clyde Walkway.
In practice, Space for Distancing will see footways widened at pinch points to facilitate safer pedestrian movement and easier access to community facilities and public transport hubs. Consideration will also be given to the positioning of temporary strategic cycling routes to highlight cycling as an attractive, viable commuting choice.
Areas with high pedestrian footfall such as Byres Road, Partick, Shawlands, Maryhill and Dennistoun have already been identified as places where short-term measures can be introduced. Other neighbourhood hubs such as Pollok, Drumchapel, Easterhouse and Castlemilk will also be examined for suitability.
Longer term, and once restrictions begin to ease, it is anticipated that walking and cycling will continue to be considered a safe and convenient mode of transport that benefits health and air quality.
Susan Aitken, Council Leader and City Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth said; “While we are planning a long-term recovery and renewal for Glasgow’s economy, it is also vital that we consider the short-term measures we need to take to manage our road network differently – now, and as lockdown restrictions are eased.
“From reconfiguring our roads and footways to provide extra space for pedestrians, mobility and wheelchair users to the creation of temporary cycle lanes; different combinations will be considered to fit the needs and characters of different neighbourhoods, as well as our city centre.
“I’m delighted that our bid to Sustrans Scotland was successful, meaning we can move forward at pace with our plans to implement physical distancing measures, making essential travel and exercise safer during COVID-19.
“These changes can also be a catalyst to encourage more and more of us to consider sustainable travel as a viable long term choice that not only benefits our economy and our environment but also our health and wellbeing too.”
Karen McGregor, Director of Sustrans Scotland, said; “It’s clear that people across Scotland want to do the right thing during Coronavirus. They want to look after their physical and mental health.
“They also want to make sure that they are keeping to physical distancing guidelines while still being safe on our streets.
“Providing funding support to Glasgow City Council through our Spaces for People programme will make it easier and safer for Glaswegians to travel around their city for essential travel and exercise.”