A wide range of views were expressed at last night’s second public meeting (Wednesday, September 7) about the Bears Way project on the A81 Milngavie Road.
It was a lot calmer than last week’s stormy meeting which also revealed a set of preferred design options for the council’s proposal to extend the cycleway along the road from Hillfoot to Kessington.
A concerned member of the public phoned the police at last week’s meeting in Milngavie Town Hall because they were worried about the huge number of people in the hall and because the discussion was getting very heated.
At last night’s meeting there seemed to be an equal amount of people for and against the proposal - with many people expressing their opinion about the scheme and preference for an option.
Council officers explained that they carried out a consultation in 2011 to find out why people don’t cycle.
The results showed that 29 per cent feared danger from the traffic, 7 per cent said there wasn’t enough space on the road and 6 per cent said there weren’t enough good cycle routes.
East Dunbartonshire Council officers explained that they have undertaken this project because they want to encourage more people to cycle safely, to reduce congestion on the roads and enable people to be fit and healthy.
Phase 2 will not go ahead until Councillors have received a report about the impact of Phase 1 on the area and they agree that further work should continue.
Several people spoke last night and here are just a few of their comments:
“I’ve been driving this road for 13 years and cycling it - a big con of this project is the frustration that motorists now face of being slowed down on that route and getting stuck behind buses.”
Another person said: “The reason I came to this meeting is to support cycling.
“My son was nearly killed on his bike. He managed to leap off his bike to save himself.
“EDC needs to support cyclists so that no one is killed.”
Another person said: “Any assessment that is carried out has to be objective and not just talk about cyclists all the time.
“Many cars and vans also use the road and the council needs to recognise that now there’s increased traffic volume, congestion, delays and pollution from stationery vehicles.
“Paramedics are also unable to get along the road because they get stuck in the traffic.”
Another person said: “Why don’t we have cycle routes from estates to schools instead of this which is just someone’s pet project. This is the main arterial route from Milngavie into Glasgow and many people are now using Drymen Road through Bearsden instead.”
Many people highlighted the loss of parking at Hillfoot as a potential problem, with less spaces for shoppers, residents and commuters to park.
The council suggested that time restricted parking could be introduced but people are concerned that this will simply displace the parking into surrounding streets.
One person suggested that there should a new option 8 which would deal with the parking and traffic issues in the area but not install a cycleway.
One person said the conditions on the road before the Bears Way were horrible and they want these cycle lanes for the next generation in the area.
Another person said: “We get the impression that the planners are sitting at their computers as if they are playing war games and the motorists are the enemy.
“We’re not here to be fed your line all the time - it wouldn’t do you any harm to listen some of the time.
“You are always saying that EDC listens - you do listen but you don’t hear.
“The conflicts that you talk about between cyclist and motorists don’t exist at the moment.
“You will be creating them. You illustrations are quite dishonest.
“We are being conned - this design looks more like Brigadoon than Milngavie.”
Another person said: “You have let local people down and imposed Phase 2 with very little consultation.
“I’d like to remind you all that you are public servants and this is public money that is being wasted.”
She asked each council officer if they cycled to work and only one of them said they did.
And another person, who supports the scheme, said: “I want this so that I can feel safe taking my wee daughter on her bike along the road.”
Another supporter said: “By making cycling safer more people will do it.
“You need to remember that when you are stuck in traffic - you are traffic.
“If one less person chooses not to take their car that reduces congestion.
“I would appeal to all those who oppose this to consider carefully.
“Preventing this will stop other similar projects from going ahead and will just create more gridlock and pollution in the future.”