Greenpeace – Kelvin Way’s Low-Traffic Neighbourhood

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Greenpeace Glasgow Group celebrates Kelvin Way’s Low-Traffic Neighbourhood with community art drop.

On Valentine’s weekend 2021 volunteers from Greenpeace Glasgow Group hosted a Covid-compliant community art drop on Kelvin Way. The art drop celebrated Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and twinned the Kelvin Way’s bike lane with the Isle Of Arran to promote better-connected transport routes. People taking part left painted rocks and banners on the Kelvin Way bridge by themselves or in pairs to ensure compliance with Covid guidelines, building a beautiful community artwork across the weekend.

Jim Griffin from Partick said: ‘Our art drop showed local councillors that we want more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods with safer streets, cleaner air and more space to walk and cycle.’

Danielle Banks from Kelvinbridge continued:‘It’s wonderful that the Kelvin Way has been closed to cars. Over lockdown, it’s always packed with walkers and cyclists. It’s outstandingly beautiful and a great example of how a low traffic neighbourhood in Glasgow, that’s properly cared for, incorporating nature, might create more space for people and drastically reduce car pollution.‘

Twinning – Eco Savvy on Arran

Organisers in Glasgow joined remotely with Eco Savvy on Arran, twinning the Kelvin Way with Ormidale Park to highlight the difficulties with transport on the island. While Eco Savvy has worked with the community to encourage the use of eBikes and volunteer lift share networks, there remains a definite lack of active travel infrastructure.

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the government committed £2 billion for councils to roll out new walking and cycling infrastructure like protected cycle paths and traffic calming measures. However, in last November’s Spending Review, the government maintained its commitment to spending £27 billion on new roads, while failing to guarantee any additional money for walking or cycling, or green local public transport. Transport is the UK’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a significant source of toxic air pollution, and building more roads only adds to this problem, encouraging more people to buy cars, and drive more miles.

Our transport system is unfair – people in poorer areas are more likely to die on roads, and the highest levels of air pollution are also experienced in the poorest neighbourhoods [1]. In cities, people of colour are more likely to live near polluted streets and suffer the health impacts of air and noise pollution [2].

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are designated to reduce traffic in certain streets, improve air quality and encourage walking and cycling. A recent study [3] of LTNs in London by the University of Westminster found that among all age, income and ethnic groups, almost 90% of people live on roads that could be part of an LTN. This dispels criticisms that they primarily benefit wealthier, white residents, rather than improving urban areas more broadly.

Creating more space for everyone to be able to walk and cycle safely is crucial for making our transport system fairer. At the moment, men are much more likely to cycle than women, and women of colour in particular are underrepresented among cyclists. This is not the case in cities where cycling has had more support, such as Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

Danielle continued: ‘I think some of the communities around Glasgow who already have significantly lower than average car ownership should benefit from not having so much traffic around them. Drivers go straight through without stopping, or they flytip, and families have to live with the poor air quality, rubbish and constant noise.‘

Jim continued: ‘When Covid restrictions have been lifted, Greenpeace Glasgow cordially invites Nicola Sturgeon to cycle through to Kelvin Way and see for herself how additional Government funding for Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods would truly help level-up and support our local community.’

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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