How a road closure in Glasgow has made locals feel safer and more connected

Opening Kelvin Way to walking, cycling and wheeling has created opportunities for exercise, play and connection during the pandemic.

Kelvin Way has been opened to people on foot, bike and wheels during the pandemic.

In spring 2020, Glasgow City council launched its Spaces for People project in partnership with Sustrans Scotland.

The temporary changes across Glasgow support physical distancing and active travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Temporary cycle lanes have been constructed on a number of key routes throughout the city, to provide a safe lane for people cycling.

Pavements have also been widened to allow people space to physically distance in the city centre.

The most ambitious temporary intervention has seen the closure of Kelvin Way, stretching for over 500 meters through the middle of Kelvingrove Park.

Kelvin Way has been closed to traffic since the height of the lockdown. Vehicles can access the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, but the street remains an open space for walking and cycling, and the benefits it brings are welcomed by the local community.

The case for space on Kelvin Way


With traffic on the roads, residents from densely populated areas nearby struggled to keep a safe distance from other people and moving traffic.

By closing it to traffic, residents are able to physically distance whilst out for a walk, cycle or wheel.

During recurring periods of lockdown, the street provides vital space for people from separate households to meet for exercise and to stay connected.

Children walking, cycling or scooting along the Kelvin Way don’t have to worry about traffic, and have space to connect with others, play and exercise.

Access for Everyone


Kelvin Way is adjacent to the boundary of the Yorkhill and Kelvingrove Cycling Village, a community-led initiative which aims to create ‘the most accessible community in Scotland.’

Creating an active travel link along Kelvin Way is key to making the area accessible for all, not just those with cars.

Kelvin Way connects Yorkhill and Kelvingrove with the University, Hillhead primary School and other amenities. There is also a wide range of independent shops and cafes close to each end of the street.

It is an important active travel link for the residents of Yorkhill and Kelvingrove and the surrounding areas.

Children and parents on the school run don’t have to worry about traffic.

Safety in numbers


Before the closure, Kelvin Way was a busy thoroughfare for traffic to and from the West End. Pedestrians were forced onto uneven and poorly lit pavements, and it did not feel like a secure place to walk in the dark.

Having more people around has made the area feel safer, particularly for women and more vulnerable people.

As the nights draw in, Kelvin Way remains an attractive space for everyone to walk. The centre of the road is well-lit and pedestrians are no longer confined to the shadowy pavement.

Attractive by day and night

Some planters have been added to the street following the initial closure.

Wooden planters have been provided by Glasgow Wood Recycling and there are also distinctive black and white ZICLA planters, to make the area more amenable.

Cllr Anna Richardson, Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction said:

“These revisions proposed for Kelvin Way will provide a more sustainable long-term layout and ensure that those out walking, wheeling and cycling in this popular area continue to have the safer space to do so.

“As the Spaces for People programme develops further, we’ll be seeking to improve the appearance of temporary measures where possible, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the planters installed, further enhancing the popularity of this space.”

More information on City of Glasgow Council’s Spaces for People programme can be found here.