Hazardous active travel facilities on glasgow sauchiehall street avenue

This story is about design and delivery of active travel facilities by Glasgow City Council’s Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability department (NRS). Complainants consider there is a problem of poor quality. The award-winning Sauchiehall Street Avenue was opened by GCC Leader and Minister for Transport in 2019 - pre-pandemic - it was proudly declared built to be “high-quality … All of the appropriate guidance and recommendations, statutory … are being followed”. They weren’t. Tactile paving laid for the visually impaired was wrong - it invited them to walk into the cycle lanes which is hazardous. Other necessary tactile paving was missing. Poor quality and improperly signed footways mean the visually impaired hardly walk the city centre streets. On this project there are other significant hazardous design inadequacies as well: vehicles turning into side streets across the footway and cycle paths, without being constrained with effective traffic calming measures; hazardous areas of shared use. To highlight the problem of poor quality an attempt has been made to rectify one fault - the incorrect tactile paving - using formal complaints and FOI requests. A succession of complaints has not resulted in the fault being rectified (to date), they give an insight into the attitude of, and the way, NRS works. A first complaint was made in April 2021 to the council, in reply NRS did not acknowledge the problem; a review got an acknowledgement but no commitment, date, for rectification. A following complaint to the Ombudsman got a vague date for rectification of the incorrectly laid tactiles, but no acknowledgment other related paving did not meet DETR Guidance. When the incorrect tactiles were rectified the NRS stated they did not intend to put in omitted paving needed to conform to guidance. A complaint of professional misconduct by NRS Executive Director to the Institution of Civil Engineers, backed by copious information, got a commitment from him in his submisssion to them, an about turn, that omitted paving would be laid. He stated “A second contract, which requires bespoke granite units to be manufactured, has been awarded and we await confirmation of delivery of these units. Estimated start date is within 2-3 months”. That statement was made on 25 July 2022, six months ago - the work has not been done to date. And it doesn’t need bespoke units, the council uses quick cheaper stick-on tactiles elsewhere. That, a year after submitting a complaint the Institution did not find there was any professional misconduct points to the issue of professional responsibility. Active Travel is being promoted to deal with climate change, reduce dependency on vehicles and their stress and pollution, but professionals seem not to be able to deliver quality facilities quickly and expediently. This story highlights a problem faced by Glasgow Citizens: delivery of poor quality infrastructure by the city council. The evidence suggests it is not about lack of resources, it is a cultural problem. The council does not acknowledge the problem and the need to change attitudes. (All facts in available correspondence).