Quick win 2: dropped kerb in Sinclair Drive

Hey, it’s another Quick Win for cycle infrastructure in Glasgow (for more about this series, scoot to the very end of the article).

Actually, this time you get two, becuase Joe Soap has written up a quick win for Ayr Road (the A77) in East Renfrewshire. His is probably the best yet, as they’re already resurfacing and repainting the road; the just need to swap the order of things from the current cycle/car/chevrons to cycle/chevrons/car. Read more about that here.

If you’re staying with me for now, how about a dropped kerb in Sinclair Drive?

Map of the surrounding area
We’re south side. The Victoria Infirmary is at the top, Shawlands is just off to the left, and the big buildings at the bottom right are the Scottish Power plant

What’s the problem?

Sinclair Drive is a handy way across White Cart Water if you’re travelling by bike. It’s not a great bridge; it’s too narrow, has awkward access on the south bank, and is pretty isolated at night, but it has solid advantages over the alternatives.

Apart from the sharp bends, the south side is an easy approach. On the north side, however, there’s no dropped kerb.

This is fine if you’re on a mountain bike. But you can’t bump down kerbs with kids on board, or with groceries, or towing a trailer, or with a trike or handcycle, or with skinny road tyres on.

 

View of the north side of the bridge
Where the dropped kerb should be, on the north side. The road in shot is the very south east corner of Sinclair Drive

The worst bit is there aren’t any dropped kerbs anywhere on this bit of Sinclair Drive, so you can’t even roll along the pavement for a bit and then join the road.

What needs to be done?

Drop the pavement (or, better, build a more gradual ramp to pavement height), and protect it with bollards to stop cars blocking it.

It could look something like this.

Diagram showing a possible solution. It's basically a gentle ramp and a couple of bollards to stop parking

Key aspects:

  • If you skip the bollards, the route will instantly become blocked with parked cars (just like Balvicar St in quick win 1). Don’t save a few quid and make the fix worthless in the process.
  • You could probably use chunky kerbs instead of bollards, but given how bad the ambient lighting is it needs to stand out to cyclists.
  • The poor sight lines and narrowness of the bridge will control approach speeds for cyclists, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
  • Make sure the bollard protecting the foot of the ramp is far away enough that people won’t crash into it. Obviously.

Dead easy.

Why is this a big deal?

Because the alternatives for crossing the water are miserable.

Map of the places cyclists can cross White Cart Water in this area.
The crossing points available to cyclists (and pedestrians). The Sinclair Drive bridge is circled.

To the west, Millbrae Rd (with the big 1 in the above map) is busy, properly steep and getting up to the bridge from the waterside cyclepath requires a bollard-strewn slalom and a wait at a toucan crossing.

The approach to the Millbrae Road bridge from the north
The big hill is behind us, if you’re wondering.

 

Looking east, option two is a private access bridge to the big Scottish Power plant, so that’s out.

Option three is Clarkston Rd, which is fine crossing the river, but then immediately funnels you into the hideous six-way junction under the railway bridge. The road surface is dire, illegally parked vehicles push you out into traffic, and railings block escape routes onto the pavements if you do get squeezed. Avoid if you possible can.

The Clarkston Road railway bridge junction.
You’d be hard pressed to design a junction more likely to kill cyclists if you tried. Don’t go here.

Who’s been told?

An email will go to the local councillors and Glasgow Council Land and Environmental Services by end of today (Wednesday 14 January).

We’re in Langside, so the councillors are Susan Aitken, Archie Graham, and Liam Hainey.

PS: What are these quick wins anyway?

To deal with its chronic congestion, health and air quality problems Glasgow council (and SPT) need to get a grip on active transport and actually do something. Something big, bold and comprehensive. And, initially, expensive (although the return-on-investment for cycling infrastructure is stratospheric, so you’d be coining it in after a few years).

For the city centre, that bold action is implementing the City Centre Transport Strategy I wrote about here. Closing roads to cars, creating large pedestrian spaces, launching a network of linked segregated cycle routes. It’s going to require some political backbone to start digging up tarmac (even though the strategy has already been approved), so I expect most cycle campaigning heat will be pointed in that direction over the next few years.

However, the focus on big change within the hub doesn’t mean the spokes can sit back, hiding behind a lack of funds. There’s a bunch of stuff that could be done right now with small change, but with disproportionately large effects. Quick wins, in business-speak.

This series of posts is all about those quick wins. Each describes a problem, what needs to be done, why it’s important (because it completes a sensible route, for example), and who’s been told about it.

Not all the posts are written by me—some of the links below will take you to other bloggers in Glasgow. If you want to chip in, email me: a link to something you’ve put up and I’ll add you to the map; some text and I’ll add it to DarkerSide; or just the gem of an idea, and I’ll spin by.

If you are writing your own, it would be grand if you stick to a similar “what’s the problem? / what needs to be done? / why is this a big deal?” format to make it easy for folk hopping between sites. But it’s not a big deal.

You can see every quick win on the map below, together with hyperlinks to the posts.

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