FINNIESTON could become one of Scotland’s most cycle-friendly communities after a huge award of £13 million was secured by a group of activists in the biggest award of its kind.

The Yorkhill and Kelvingrove Cycling Village, a project set up by the area’s community council, were awarded £6.5m funding from Sustrans Scotland to transform the area, with the council set to match the funding.

They hope to implement vehicle restrictions on main routes and create more pedestrian crossings, segregated cycle lanes, street art and landscaping to radically change the area for cyclists and pedestrians.

Now with Sustrans’ help as part of their Places for Everyone initiative, the project has come even closer to its long-term goal. It is the first time in Glasgow a community group has initiated a project like this – and the small council has become the first to receive funding from an external source for such ambitious plans.

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“We are incredibly proud we have been successful,” said Wendy Shaw, chairwoman of Yorkhill and Kelvingrove Community Council. “All the dedication and hard work of our volunteers has paid off. 

“To be the first community-led bid has been an experience and we have all learnt so much, it’s not been easy, but our success shows what can be achieved by a community working together.”

Glasgow City Council has matched the funding given to the group, boosting its total to approximately £13m.

The council insists that although the project is under its control, the real decisions lie with the area’s residents who will be directly affected by the plans.
They will ask residents to tell them exactly what they need in the area – and what will make their community more accessible.

“Our team of volunteers is energised to work with residents, housing associations and businesses to create a detailed plan to help us create a community fit for the 21st Century,” Wendy said. 

The last few years have seen an outpouring of investment into the area, with the the SSE Hydro auditorium becoming one of the most popular entertainment venues in the world since its launch in 2013.

And the project hopes to cater to the needs of the thousands of people who flock to Finnieston each year by linking the area’s three national cycle routes through Kelvingrove Park, along the Clydeside and on West City Way.

They hope it will allow residents and tourists to be more connected to the city, while at the same time reducing pollution and congestion on Glasgow’s busiest roads.

Andy Waddell, director of operations for neighbourhoods and sustainability at Glasgow City Council, said: “A huge amount of credit must go to Yorkhill and Kelvingrove Community Council for its determination in ensuring the community is a fully-fledged part of the work to transform cycling in Glasgow”.

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A total of £19m was also allocated to the council’s Avenues Plus project to provide segregated bike lanes in the city centre.

The work in Finnieston is expected to be completed in the next two years, with locals invited to consultations.

It comes after Sky Park, business development in the area, was awarded £30,000 from Cycling Scotland for new tenant facilities. The facility will include 250 new bike racks, toilets, showers and a changing area with a dedicated space for cycle repairs.