The South City Way has hit a major milestone by reaching Glasgow city centre.
To mark the occasion, the 2.5km route was officially opened by the Minister for Active Travel and members of the community on the 6 July 2023.
The fully-segregated, two-way cycle path has provided a high quality, direct and safe link between Glasgow’s southside and the city centre.
It’s making it easier than ever for more people in the area to leave the car at home and make healthier and happier everyday journeys.
The route is also expected to benefit trade through improved access to the area.
The project was made possible by over £3.5 million of funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone/Community Links PLUS programme.
Glasgow City Council used their own funding as a partial match, bringing the project total to around £7m.
Construction work started on the project in December 2017 and was completed up to the Clyde in June 2023.
What is the South City Way?
The new segregated route has created a vital and accessible active travel link for local communities.
The South City Way has connected key destinations such as hospitals and medical centres, parks, businesses, academic institutions and places of worship along the cycling corridor.
The project has also improved access to public transport in the area.
To make it safer and easier to walk and wheel, pavements have been resurfaced along large parts of the route, with new crossing points installed, existing crossings improved and traffic speeds slowed through the addition of raised tables on side roads.
These changes will make everyday walking, wheeling and cycling journeys safer, easier and more convenient for everyone.
This opens up the possibility of longer trips heading east from Glasgow to Uddingston, East Kilbride and Rutherglen, and west to Clydebank, Bowling, Dumbarton, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
An innovative approach to active travel infrastructure
During the project, we worked closely with Glasgow City Council to trial two protected junctions at locations along Victoria Road.
These were the first protected junctions trialled in Scotland.
Protected junctions are road junctions that separate people travelling on foot, by cycle, and in vehicles.
The trial was successful, with our Research and Monitoring Unit finding that between March 2019 and September 2021, the total cycle traffic through the junctions almost doubled.
More than 935,000 cycle journeys have now been recorded on Glasgow’s South City Way cycle route in the past two years.
A project with community at its heart
The South City Way is about much more than the new connection to the city centre.
Businesses, community organisations and individuals have been at the heart of the project from the outset.
The creation of a Community Projects Trail featuring murals, bike locking facilities, planters and much more was supported by the South City Way Small Grants Fund and led by local groups.
This has helped make the active travel corridor an attractive, inclusive and welcoming space for everyone.
Representatives from the Hidden Gardens, Govanhill Baths Trust, Bike for Good, South Seeds and Crossroads Youth and Community Association joined the Minister for Active Travel, Patrick Harvie MSP, and officials from Glasgow City Council and Sustrans Scotland to celebrate the South City Way launch event on 6 July.
A cause for celebration
Speaking ahead of the event, Minister for Active Travel, Patrick Harvie MSP, said:
“I’m pleased to welcome the completion of the South City Way to Glasgow City centre.
We will soon see over a million cycle journeys on this new active travel corridor, which is yet another example of segregated infrastructure making it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys.
With the eyes of the world on Scotland for the first ever UCI 2023 Cycling World Championships, it’s schemes like this which demonstrate the shared intent of Government and Local Authorities to make cycling safer and more convenient as a means of everyday transport.
For our health, wellbeing and environment, our ambition to deliver more infrastructure like this, right across the country, has never been higher.
That’s why the Scottish Government has committed to spending at least £320 million, or 10% of the total transport budget, on active travel by 2024‑25.”Patrick Harvie MSP, Minister for Active Travel
Councillor Angus Millar highlighted the newly released cycle journey figures as clear evidence of the demand for improved cycling infrastructure in Glasgow:
“It’s great to see the difference the South City Way is making to cycling in the southside area of Glasgow.
The cycle journey figures are remarkable and show without doubt that people want to get about Glasgow more sustainably when infrastructure is available for them to do so.
Now that the South City Way has reached the city centre, I am confident the number of people cycling on the route will continue to grow.
Concerns about safety are the number one barrier to cycling and our work to ensure safe, segregated routes in all areas of Glasgow will support more people to choose cycling for everyday journeys across the city.
We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government, Sustrans and communities across Glasgow as we deliver our commitment to create a comprehensive City Network for active travel over the course of the decade.”Cllr Angus Millar, Glasgow City Council
Carole Patrick, Portfolio Director for Sustrans Scotland, added:
“The South City Way is about so much more than the new safe and direct connection to the city centre.
Working in partnership with Glasgow City Council through our Scottish Government-funded Places for Everyone programme, we are so proud of the fact that local communities have been at the heart of the project.
Businesses, community organisations and individuals have really embraced the opportunities for the southside.
The community-led projects supported by the Small Grants Fund have had such a powerful impact in making the South City Way corridor an attractive, inclusive and welcoming space for everyone.
Putting communities at the heart of projects and investing in safe, high-quality infrastructure which makes it easier to leave the car at home and walk, wheel or cycling for everyday journeys is a winning combination.
Monitoring in 2019 and 2021, before and after the innovative protected junctions were installed, recorded a 100% increase in cycling journeys – and recent sensor figures show that the South City Way is supporting and encouraging more and more people to make healthier and happier journey choices.
“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to build on the success of the South City Way and make it easier for even more people to walk, wheel and cycle.”Carole Patrick, Portfolio Director, Sustrans Scotland