‘Car free zone’ may be launched in major UK city to cut down on ‘cross-town rat-run’

‘Car free zone’ may be launched in major UK city to cut down on ‘cross-town rat-run’

03/04/2022

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Glasgow Council leader Susan Aitken announced plans for the car-free zone during the COP26 climate conference in November to bring a “European city experience”. The zone, which has been described as a “people first” area, is set to be introduced in Glasgow over five years.

Public consultation on the project is set to start after the council elections in May and the “people first” area is one of the key aims of Glasgow’s draft city centre transformation plan, which goes before councillors next week.

That plan also includes a cap over the M8 to create the ‘Mitchell Plaza’, reducing peak-hour private car traffic by 30 percent and improving access for the mobility impaired.

Councillor Angus Millar, said the car-free zone would stop the centre of the city being a “cross-town rat-run for private cars”.

Mr Millar, who chairs the environment, sustainability and carbon reduction committee, said it would make the city centre more attractive.

Under the plan, vehicle access would be limited to “essential trips”, such as for disabled people, residents and businesses, and “continuous” walking, wheeling and cycle routes would be provided.

There would be exemptions for public transport, taxi movements and emergency services and retained multi-storey car parks would be accessible without the need to access the zone.

Councillor Millar, who also co-chairs a city centre task force focused on recovery from the Covid pandemic, said: “This is about how we get to and about our city centre, and builds on the work Glasgow is doing to tackle air pollution, promote active travel and improve public transport, including our plans for a Clyde Metro.

“But it’s also about making the city centre a more attractive place to visit, to do business and to live. 

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“We’re a European city which doesn’t offer a European city centre experience.

“The people first zone will go some way to replicating what our peers across much of the world have been doing over the past 40 or so years,” he told Glasgow Live.

A council report did acknowledge that the scheme is “ambitious” and will require “careful consideration of challenges and detailed analysis into the wider operation of the zone”.

As part of the scheme, on-street town centre parking would be reduced but available to holders of Blue Badges and for servicing and taxi loading.

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