This is the response of the Association of British Drivers to the 'Moving Glasgow Forward ' local transport plan consultation initiated by Glasgow City Council in 2006.
Glasgow City Council
20 Cadogan Street
'Moving Glasgow Forward' Consultation, 2006
Our attention has been drawn to this 'consultation' by some members in your area, and we are responding '..on behalf of a group/organisation', as requested in Section 5.
Failure to comply with Consultation Code of Practice
We take the view that your 'Moving Glasgow Forward' questionnaire does not constitute a proper consultation in so far as out of 39 questions over 8 pages, just one question in Section 3 invites a response in the citizenís own words. All the other questions are of your or the Executiveís choosing, and signally fail to address the most important part of your remit, namely the roads themselves.
Accordingly, this letter should be regarded as a proper consultative response in accordance with ministerial undertakings, and we formally request that you include it in your submission to the Executive. This request will be followed up by an MSP on our behalf.
First therefore, we totally disagree with all the statements/questions in your Sections 1 and 2. Unbelievably, not one of the 21 items mentions the roads, nor do you mention access for emergency vehicles (ambulances, fire service, police, etc). This alone renders your questionnaire irrelevant and possibly politically-inspired.
Previous 'Moving Glasgow Forward' consultations have, quite properly, explained your views in detail and requested consulteesí views of them. This 'consultation' signally fails to do likewise.
In our view, the biggest single fault in your recent strategy is your treatment of roads and traffic. Quite contrary to good practice, your policies have led to increased traffic congestion, instead of an endeavour to avoid or at least ameliorate congestion.
In particular, your policies have failed to give proper weight to the following points highlighted in previous Reports from your Department:-
These are only two of the ways in which congestion has actually been caused by your own Policies. Others include,
- The Principle of Prescribed Road Hierarchy, as detailed in previous reports (copy attached), has not been respected.
- Direct access to developments, e.g. Supermarkets, has been permitted from main roads: this is a major cause of congestion, and is entirely of your own making.
Violation of Democratic Processs
- Bus Lanes, which do not show any useful benefit, but halve the space available for other traffic and, at many points, are actually dangerous.
- Failure to remove obstructions in main roads, such as parked vehicles,
- Build-outs which stop the traffic every time a bus stops at one. We think this probably constitutes an illegal obstruction, and it is quite unnecessary since it would serve no useful purpose if parking on main roads was prohibited, as it should be.
- We do not think that anything like enough effort is made to avoid, or at least greatly reduce the obstructions caused by over-frequent 'repairs' involving digging up water, electricity, gas, cable and other utilities in the roads. Such 'works' are often completely deserted.
All of these misuses, and the latest proposal to steal two lanes at the Broomielaw for Flexibuses are not only serious causes of congestion but, since the streets of the city are public property, probably constitute theft. This charge might be withdrawn if a real effort was made to obtain public approval, but we think it very unlikely that you would obtain public approval (other than by skewed questionnaires like the present one).
Abuse of Prioritisation
Undue emphasis is being placed on 'prioritisation'. Your remit is to create, organise and maintain the streets, for the benefit of ALL users, and you have no right to prioritise anything except emergency vehicles. If you try to prioritise anything else, you lay yourselves open to an action for invasion of freedom.
Finally, there are certain statements in your Questionnaire which include actual untruths, viz:-
Until recently, Glasgow has been blessed with materially better roads and traffic than any other Scottish city. Sadly, it is now well on the way to losing that distinction, due to the extremely unwise and undemocratic policies now being followed.
- Section 1, second statement, a senior figure in the transport industry has just reconfirmed that the most environmentally friendly form of transport is a small car with 4 passengers. This makes your statement rather stupid, does it not?
- Section 1, sixth statement, an official statement stated that the 'Quality Bus Corridor' across Glasgow (approx 10 miles) would cut just 4 minutes off the journey. What a massive waste of public funds!
- Section 2, first question, you have failed to mention the traffic which, by general consent, must have overall piority, namely ambulances, fire engines, police vehicles, etc. It is not your job to claim any other priorities.
- Section 2, second question, it is your duty, within any fiscal limitations, to do the best you can for all the forms of maintenance, without any prejudices.
Peter M Spinney
for: the Association of British Drivers, Scottish Region