Spaces for People
Administered by Sustrans Scotland, The Scottish Government’s Spaces for People (SfP) fund is a rapid-response, temporary infrastructure programme set up to support statutory bodies implement measures to enable physical distancing for people choosing to walk, wheel or cycle for essential trips and exercise during COVID-19.
In April 2020, Glasgow City Council (GCC) submitted two successful bids to the fund, receiving a total grant allocation of £7.5m.
The first phase of work leading to the closure of Kelvin Way was undertaken in two weeks during April 2020 with the closure taking effect from 2 May. The work was delivered under a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) which requires only limited consultation, but can only remain in place for a maximum period of 18 months.
Image: View of Kelvin Way from Sauchiehall St. Stage 1 of closure: simple barriers and signage. Photo: Councillor Anna Richardson (Twitter)
The second phase was to improve the look and style of the closure. Large planters were installed at either end of Kelvin Way to help make the scheme look more in keeping with its park and historic environment. Due to lockdown, available materials were severely restricted, which caused some challenges to progressing this stage.
Image: Kelvin Way reconfiguration of southern section, cycle lane and planters. Photo: Glasgow City Council, September 2020
The third phase of the project was completed in September 2020 and addressed car park access in advance of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum re-opening. This required the re-opening of a short section of Kelvin Way to vehicles to allow access to the museum – this is particularly important to those requiring disabled access. This latest revision also includes a more structured use of the space to include a bi-directional cycle lane and the use of decorative planters, constructed from rubber and reclaimed wood, to separate cycles from the museum’s car park access lane. The remainder of Kelvin Way continues to be for the exclusive use for those walking, wheeling and cycling.
Image: Kelvin Way reconfiguration of southern section - Cycle lane and planters. Photo: Glasgow City Council, September 2020
- Staff disruption: The Kelvin Way project was achieved while staff faced the huge disruption of working from home during COVID-19 lockdown.
- Procurement issues: Procuring materials and appointing contractors to carry out the work was challenging as the country was in full lockdown. Available materials were severely restricted, which caused some issues progressing this stage.
- Social media: Negative feedback on social media has been carefully managed by the dedicated PR team, which has been specifically funded through the wider SfP project.
- Nearby facilities: Kelvin Way provides road access to Kelvingrove Art Galleries and the local bowling green. This access had to be carefully considered when lockdown restrictions were lifted. Local Emergency Services were also required to be on-board at all times.
- Managing expectations: The most recent development phase, was carefully planned to manage the expectations of those applying pressure for Kelvin Way to remain permanently closed to traffic, while also enabling the council to meet its obligations regarding re-opening the museum.
- Air quality monitoring: Unfortunately there is no air quality data available for the specific location of Kelvin Way. The nearest air quality monitoring station is located on nearby Byres Road at the junction with University Avenue, with another on Dumbarton Road in the Thornwood area.
- Monitoring: Historically no active travel monitoring has taken place on Kelvin Way, however, Sustrans and GCC are currently working closely together to organise for manual counts of pedestrians and cyclists to be conducted in the near future. This information will be vital to inform any decision about Kelvin Way remaining permanently closed as well as more generally informing Sustrans on the effectiveness of the interventions the SfP fund has supported
- Public concerns: A major consideration for the project team was that the Council would face a significant challenge from the public due to the necessary diversion vehicles need to take following the road closure. Diversion routes could add an additional 2.5km to journeys with additional traffic lights. However, it was felt that the closure was a clear demonstration of the Council’s commitment to putting walking, cycling and wheeling at the top of the transport hierarchy, particularly during the current pandemic.
The Kelvin Way closure has been funded through the Council’s successful bids to the Sustrans Spaces for People fund. Approximately £60,000 has been spent on the project to date.
More air time: The road closure has created a new active travel corridor in the west end of Glasgow and has helped to prompt a discussion in the media around its usage and future status. Within the council, and more widely, the project is helping inform discussions around how our road space is used in the future.
Air quality: Unfortunately there is no air quality data available for the specific location of Kelvin Way, with the nearest air quality monitoring station located on nearby Byres Road at the junction with University Avenue and another on Dumbarton Road. Monitoring has shown recent sustained improvements and it is hoped that the road closure of Kelvin Way can continue to contribute positively to this outcome through the encouragement of active travel in the area. Please follow this link for further information and additionally see the annual progress report on air quality to update Committee here.
Network of active travel routes: Further ‘pop-up’ temporary active travel routes close by linking in to Kelvin Way are currently underway. Projects halted by Covid-19 are now resuming – such as the Yorkhill and Kelvingrove Cycling Village, Active Travel North – will help to form a more comprehensive network of active travel routes in the area.
A catalyst for change: The Kelvin Way closure has sparked some residents to reconsider how they use and get about their local area with many taking to social media to share their thoughts.
Cycling rate are up across Glasgow: Although usage data specific to Kelvin Way is not yet available, Strava recently issued a press release stating that their data shows an overall increase in cycling of 162% during the last year (UK-wide) with Glasgow’s increase ranked third out of the top ten UK cities at 146% (New Civil Engineer recently reported on the Strava figures).