Trailblazing work to forge an all-abilities cycleway from Milngavie to Glasgow is driving ahead – boosting active travel and safety for all road users.
The pioneering Bears Way project aims to enable and encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport along the A81.
At its heart is a segregated, bi-directional cycleway linking Milngavie, Bearsden and Glasgow.
Work has been completed on the first phase of the cycleway – between Burnbrae and Hillfoot – and excited pupils from Bearsden Primary School got the chance to try it out today (Thursday, 10 September).
East Dunbartonshire Council and partners were also joined by Scottish heroes who recently saddled up at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Councillor Alan Moir, Convener of Development and Regeneration, said, “I am absolutely delighted to officially launch the first phase of the A81 cycleway – part of the Bears Way project – which will create an easy-to-use link for anyone to cycle to local destinations or all the way from Milngavie to Glasgow.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people – of all ages and abilities – using the cycleway already. I am sure the numbers using Bears Way will continue to rise as more and more people discover what an enjoyable way it is to travel.
“The previous cycle lanes were advisory and worn in many places, with motor vehicles routinely swerving onto the lanes and also using them for parking – forcing cyclists into the road, and making it unsuitable for families and less confident people on bikes.
“The new segregated cycleway separates cyclists and motorists using kerbs – increasing safety and minimising the risk of conflict.
“It’s important to bear in mind that this is only the first phase – with more work to follow – forming a traffic-free route all the way between Milngavie and Glasgow.
“It is designed to be suitable for anyone to use – from commuters and experienced cyclists to families out for the day and local residents popping to the shops or out for a coffee.
“More people cycling not only improves health and wellbeing, it reduces congestion and pollution, while the improved transport links mean greater safety and benefits for the local economy.
“It also supports the Cycling Action Plan’s shared vision that by 2020, 10% of everyday journeys taken in Scotland will be by bike.”
The design was developed by Transport Planning and Engineering – a social enterprise established by Cycling Scotland – and approved by both Sustrans and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), the external funders of this project. Paths for All is also supporting the scheme.
There was considerable engagement with the public and businesses – as well as local members – over an extended period.*
Public consultation will take place on the design of Phase 2 – from Hillfoot to Garscube – including a Public Consultation Workshop on 19 November in Kessington Public Hall. More details are available on the Council website.
Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport, said, “The Scottish Government, through Transport Scotland, is proud to be financially supporting the Bears Way project, one of more than 160 Community Link projects currently being delivered in partnership with Sustrans, local authorities and other partners across Scotland.
“This new path will provide communities along the route – cyclists, pedestrians and mobility aid users – with an alternative active travel choice for their everyday journeys.
“I look forward to seeing the further phases taking shape and delivering a project that will act as an exemplar for similar schemes in the future”.
John Lauder, Sustrans Scotland National Director, said, “We’re delighted that the first phase of the Bears Way project is now complete and that East Dunbartonshire Council will now be extending the segregated route to Glasgow.
“The route will provide people of all abilities with an attractive, safe route to make every-day journeys by bike – whether it’s the commute into Glasgow, a visit to the shops or children making their way to and from school.
“Enabling more people to choose to make trips like these by bike is crucial to achieving the shared vision in the Cycling Action Plan for Scotland of 10% of journeys by bike.”
SPT Chief Executive Gordon Maclennan, said, “The need for more environmentally-friendly travel is essential for an improved quality of life for all, so I’m delighted to see this new cycleway open and ready for use.
“SPT is committed to improving sustainable travel options and through effective partnership working – such as this project with East Dunbartonshire, Cycling Scotland and Sustrans – we can achieve this objective together.
“I hope that this new high-quality infrastructure will encourage more people to choose cycling as part of their daily journey and contribute towards the Scottish Government’s vision for 10% of everyday journeys to be made by bike by 2020.”
Keith Irving, Chief Executive of Cycling Scotland, said, “Providing dedicated space for cycling is essential if we are enable more people to get active and get on their bikes.
“We are working with East Dunbartonshire Council to help deliver a cycling route from central Glasgow to Milngavie that locals and visitors will be able to enjoy.”
Desmond Bradley, Transport Integration Manager at ScotRail, said, “We’re passionate about encouraging sustainable access to stations, particularly by bike and on foot.
“This investment by East Dunbartonshire Council is most welcome and we look forward to the cycleway reaching Hillfoot Station. With fast and frequent electric trains to Glasgow, cycling and rail will complement each other perfectly for commuters and leisure travellers.”
East Dunbartonshire Council news release here.