Glasgow will have a 'world-class' walkable city centre under ambitious plans by Scotland's largest local authority.

A 'people first zone' will be created giving pedestrians and cyclists priority over cars as part of an overall plan to cut pollution, increase active travel and boost retail.

Cars will be banned from an area of the centre bounded by Hope Street, Cowcaddens Road, North Hanover / Glassford Street and Howard Street.

More on-street parking space will be given over to public transport and cyclists to fulfil a target that 80% of trips will be made by foot, bicycle or public transport by 2030. 

The introduction of a workplace parking levy is also still on the table while tariffs will be introduced at all publicly available electric vehicle charging points.

HeraldScotland:

The plan states that enforcement will be used to "minimise conflict between cyclists". The council did not provide any further details but said any action would be the responsibility of Police Scotland.

A report on the final version of Glasgow’s City Centre Transport Plan (CCTP) has been presented to a council committee.

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The council said it has been informed by a public consultation, which took place between July and September and was completed by 724 people with more than 3,000 comments submitted.

The consultation indicated broad support for the recommendations of the draft CCTP, with 81% supportive of road-space being re-allocated to walking, cycling and public transport.

It found that cycling across the city centre doubled between 2009 and 2019.

HeraldScotland:

More than 60% of city centre households don’t have access to a car or van and rely on other travel modes while over three-quarters of trips to work to and from the city centre are by sustainable transport modes.

There are approximately 14,000-17,000 parking spaces available for public use in the city centre and approximately half were occupied during the pre-Covid peak.

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Although accidents in the city centre are declining approximately 44% every year involve pedestrians or cyclists.

While CO2 emissions from transport have slightly reduced in Glasgow since 2005, annual average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations exceeded the air quality objectives within the existing City Centre AQMA.

More than 50% of those surveyed said they disagreed that the transport system in Glasgow was adequate for their needs and the council has said that service levels and reliability will be looked at.

HeraldScotland:

Almost 60% said they would consider leaving their car at home more for shorter journeys.

The council will pursue the feasibility of creating an extended bridge or garden cap over the M8 motorway at Charing Cross.

Over the course of the 10-year life of the City Centre Transport Plan, it is expected that there will be a 23% reduction in car trips to and from the city centre, a 43% increase in walking and a 300% increase in cycling.

The council expects this will result in a corresponding 16% decrease in CO2 emissions from city centre traffic.

Similar public realm improvements have been shown to boost retail sales by up to 30%. Retail vacancy was also 17% lower after city centre improvements in other cities.

Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Deputy Head of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: "If there is to be a shift in transport it needs to start with ensuring there is a viable alternative already in place before restrictions are put on private transport.

"Without this, central Glasgow will merely become less accessible with the knock-on impacts on footfall and trade.”

The council said other confirmed projects will help deliver the aims of the plan, including improvements to George Square and the wider Avenues programme, which has transformed Sauchiehall Street.

Welcoming the proposals Bruce Whyte, public health programme manager at Glasgow Centre for Population Health, said: "A ‘people first zone’, prioritising pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users in the city centre, will help make the centre of Glasgow into a healthier, more vibrant place.  

"Less cars in the city centre will lead to cleaner air and will make it feel a safer and more pleasant place to be, which in turn should encourage more people to walk and cycle into and around the centre.“ 

Councillor Angus Millar, Convener for Climate, Transport, Glasgow Green Deal and City Centre Recovery at Glasgow City Council, said: "This Plan sets out how we can get to and about our city centre in the future, laying the groundwork for an accessible, greener and more successful city centre.

"The proposals for a People First Zone in a core of the city centre restricting through-traffic for private vehicles will see people take priority and allow for more attractive, welcoming streets.

"Taken together with our wider plans for city centre regeneration and our work to pursue better, greener public transport options for Glaswegians, the City Centre Transport Plan will help guide the transformation of our city centre in the coming years.”