Plans for ‘People First Zone’ in Glasgow city centre

Glasgow City Council has unveiled plans for a new ‘People First Zone’ in the city centre.

The ‘People First Zone’ would aim to give people priority over vehicles, encouraging Glaswegians to walk, wheel and cycle.

The zone would still provide access for disabled drivers, pick up and drop off at key transport hubs and business deliveries.

It would cover an area bounded by Hope Street, Cowcaddens Road, North Hanover Street, Glassford Street and Howard Street.

Buchanan Street in Glasgow.

The zone would also tie in with the proposed masterplans for the Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre - which would see them both demolished to make room for housing, offices and shops - and is designed to ensure drivers can still access the multi-storey car parks that circle the city centre.

Within the zone, crossing points would ensure pedestrians have less distance and more time to cross the road in an environment that is quieter and cleaner.

It would also allow for a growth in civic spaces, pocket parks, parklets and street cafes.

The scheme is part of the overall City Centre Transformation Plan (CCTP) which will be open for consultation for six weeks.

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, believes the CCTP is crucial to the future of Glasgow city centre at a time when cities the world over are still grappling with transformation in shopping habits created by the internet and the impact of the covid pandemic.

Councillor Aitken said: "We want our city centre to reach its true potential as a place where people want to live, work and visit.

"Cities all around the world are still coming to terms with the effects of on-line shopping and the shock of covid. But cities everywhere are successfully transforming their centres to become more attractive, liveable spaces and Glasgow should be no different.

"We can move away from an area which is car-dominated to one that is healthier for all who use it and which will contribute to our active travel and net-zero targets. Much less traffic, but better connectivity, would deliver real benefits for city businesses, as well as residents and visitors.

"This is a chance for Glaswegians to imagine a centre that is focused on the needs of people and is environmentally-friendly. The city centre would become an urban heart people want to spend time in, rather than just pass through. I urge people to share their views through this consultation as that will help shape our plans for the future of our city centre."

The public consultation on the draft CCTP will include an online survey to participate in and a number of online / in-person sessions for a range of city centre groups and organisations.

The CCTP is an update of the existing City Centre Transport Strategy and will play a key role in ensuring that transport plans for the city centre.

Karen McGregor, portfolio director for Sustrans, said: "The CCTP will be an absolute game-changer for walking, wheeling, and cycling in Glasgow, making our streets safer, cleaner and more enjoyable for everyone. The plan also neatly links in with a number of other high-profile projects we're delivering in partnership with Glasgow City Council, including improved active travel routes from Govanhill in the south and from Woodside in the north, creating a truly active and accessible network across the city."

The aims of the plan are:

· 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.