Glasgow hails progress on ‘people-focused’ City Centre Transformation Plan

A plan that allows the delivery of an integrated, healthy, inclusive and sustainable transport network for Glasgow city centre, with increased connectivity and capacity, has been considered by the local authority.

Glasgow hails progress on 'people-focused' City Centre Transformation Plan

The draft City Centre Transformation Plan (CCTP) for 2022-32 has a people-based focus, addressing the needs of place and movement and the additional vitality and vibrancy that well connected, safe and appealing places create. Underpinning this is the Sustainable Travel Hierarchy, with its promotion of walking, cycling, public transport and bike, car and ride sharing in preference to single-occupancy car use.

The strategy looks to re-balance the use of Glasgow city centre streets and public spaces by re-purposing road space policy, spatial and project initiatives, with all the project elements intended to be complimentary and delivered on a phased basis.

The CCTP is expected to bring key benefits in terms of improved place quality and economic vibrancy, assisting the transition to net-zero, improving residents’ health, well-being and quality of life and an enhanced quality of experience for visitors to the city centre as the area’s streets will be cleaner, greener and less congested.

The plan is an update of the existing City Centre Transport Strategy, and a six-week consultation will begin in May.

The CCTP will play a key role in ensuring that transport plans for the city centre help deliver the aims shared by a number of other strategies to ensure that the area is attractive for residents, workers, students, businesses, visitors and investors.

The process of updating Glasgow’s transport strategies has primarily been informed by the findings of 2020’s public engagement on future transport in the city, with almost 3,000 responses indicating a general recognition of the need for change, and some notable findings for the city centre, including:

  • 81% supported road-space being re-allocated to Walking Wheeling & Public Transport:
  • 77% supported that People and place are prioritised in the city centre: and
  • 60% of respondents said they would consider leaving their car at home more for shorter journeys and walking or cycling instead.

As a result, and following further engagement with internal and external groups at workshops on the CCTP in late 2021, the purpose of the City Centre Transformation Plan is to provide a clear framework for transport decision-making in Glasgow city centre, with the following key aims:

  • The re-allocation of road space in the city centre for active travel and green infrastructure;
  • The delivery of improved public transport and support/encourage a shift to more sustainable modes, particularly walking, cycling and public transport, with a target of 80% of peak-time travel to the city centre being made by active travel and public transport by 2030;
  • Improved access for the mobility-impaired;
  • Seeking to achieve a 30% reduction in peak-hour private car traffic in the city centre by 2030;
  • The delivery of improvements for servicing (e.g. goods, deliveries and waste collection) to improve the vitality of Glasgow city centre;
  • Supporting a doubling of Glasgow city centre’s population by 2035; and
  • Supporting Glasgow’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.

In policy terms, the CCTP will have a number of aims around traffic demand management, particularly at peak times; public transport integration; environmental management through measures as encouraging electric vehicle fleets; parking space management; and advancing change through the planning system to deliver SMART city technologies, EV charging, and secure Services-Freight Hubs.

Core spatial aims for the CCTP are a more accessible city centre, where the place becomes somewhere that all users with limited or restricted mobility are able to enjoy safe and ready access; a place where walking should be the main way of travelling around the city centre, and where more people choose to cycle into and around it. Other aims for the city include cleaner, greener and less congested streets; a place where public transport is efficient, reliable and integrated; and where goods are moved and delivered efficiently and sustainably.

A number of confirmed and aspirational projects will help deliver the aims of the CCTP, including George Square and the wider Avenues and Avenues Plus programme; the High Street corridor; the transformation of the Broomielaw and Clyde Waterfront; people-friendly streets; the proposed Mitchell Plaza and Charing Cross scheme; the Buchanan Street gateway; and a People First Zone in the city centre - a people-friendly low vehicular access area.

The latter proposal - bounded by Hope Street, Cowcaddens Road, North Hanover / Glassford Street and Howard Street - would see the creation of an area of high-quality public realm where people are able to easily and safely walk and wheel around, and where feel that they - and not vehicles - have priority.

In the People First Zone, crossing points would be much wider and pedestrians will have less distance and more time to cross the road in an environment that feels much more pleasant with less noise and cleaner air. While access would still be available for pick up and drop off at the key transport hubs and disabled access would be maintained, the creation of this zone would enable the space to be re-purposed for other purposes such as fully integrated active travel provision, civic spaces, pocket parks or parklets and street cafes.

If the proposal was approved, it would be delivered on a phased basis and completed by 2027. The zone would tie in with the proposed Masterplans for the Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre.

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “We all want a more attractive, welcoming, healthier, sustainable city centre that is also more resilient and easier to get around. The City Centre Transformation Plan is absolutely key to getting there. The proposals respond to the findings of the 2020 public engagement on the future of transport in the city centre, will contribute to our net-zero targets and will play a part in the area’s recovery from the pandemic. The Plan also underlines our commitment to delivering sustainable transport options for all of Glasgow.”

Karen McGregor, portfolio director for Sustrans, said: “By prioritising active and sustainable transport options for Glasgow, The City Centre Transformation Plan underlines a strong commitment to building a greener future and furthering the ambitions of COP26. The proposals outlined in this comprehensive framework will not only make Glasgow’s street safer and its air cleaner, they will ensure that walking, wheeling and cycle is accessible for generations to come.”

The CCTP has been supported by Sustrans funding, with other similarly supported transport strategies also under current development being the Active Travel Strategy and the Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan.

The CCTP aligns with a number of other key policy documents including the Connectivity Commission, the City Centre Strategic Development Framework, Glasgow’s Climate Plan, the City Centre Living Strategy Vision 2035 and the District Regeneration Frameworks.

The CCTP will come back for final committee consideration in September 2022.

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