THE decision not to proceed with Phase 2 of the Bears Way along the A81 Milngavie Road, Bearsden, was based on the evidence from the experience of Phase 1 and the adverse implications of extending this project (“Cycling policy that is all over the place”, The Herald, October 6).

I am not anti-cycling and I support measures that will encourage people to consider other forms of travel rather than by car. However, I am not persuaded that a segregated cycle lane that reduces road width, removes parking spaces near rail stations and local businesses and presents difficulties for local residents is the best solution. We should be considering a range of other projects to encourage cycling, such as, safe cycling routes to schools.

The construction of Phase 1 has narrowed the road, and does not separate cyclists from pedestrians. Local authorities have a duty to plan for resilience, the “what if” scenarios. Services such as water, gas, sewage, electricity and communications are all provided underground. These frequently require repair. The recent works by Scottish Water demonstrated how vulnerable the road is to disruption. As a result of the road being narrowed by the cycle lane, the road had to be reduced to one lane controlled by temporary traffic lights.

On average there are 1,000 cycle trips per week on the Bearsway, not 1,000 cyclists. However, it is suggested that more people would use it if the route was completed. It was also reported that eight per cent of people cycling were not using the Bears Way but continuing to cycle on the main carriageway.

No information was available on how many cyclists using the Bears Way have switched from vehicle use.

Travel by bike is not the only alternative to the car. Many residents choose to travel by train. The number of rail passenger journeys has increased right across East Dunbartonshire over the six-year period, 2004/- 2010/11.

It is recognised that lack of parking at or near rail stations can constrain further growth. If we are able to provide more parking we could achieve the so-called modal shift, getting people out of their cars for the most part of their journey. We should be looking at ways to encourage and persuade drivers to consider using public transport.

The proposal to proceed with Phase 2 was subject to wide consultation. A range of views were expressed for and against the different options.

I am disappointed that this project has resulted in conflicts between individuals, heated exchanges and some unpleasant behaviour. Councillors have to consider the needs of all sections of the community; therefore, I believe the best decision is not to proceed with phase 2 as proposed.

Keith Small,

SNP Councillor, East Dunbartonshire Council,

East Dunbartonshire Council, 12 Strathkelvin Place, Kirkintilloch.

THE SNP Government has set a target to have 10 per cent of everyday travel by bike by 2020. Has the memo been sent to SNP councillors? Last month in East Dunbartonshire SNP, Lib Dems and independent councillors voted against the continuation of Bears Way, which would have provided safe, segregated cycle lanes from Milngavie into Glasgow. Indeed SNP ministers have hailed this project as imaginative, very much in line with their policies for sustainable and active travel and, when Bears Way won an award, SNP ministers were first with the congratulations. Now we have SNP councillors in Ayrshire scuppering plans that would encourage cycle travel.

As I write, Nicola Sturgeon is in Iceland at a climate conference, where she will no doubt be extolling the importance her Government attaches to climate change and how its policies reflect that concern. A re-issue of the caring for the environment memo should be sent to her local councillors.

Councillor Maureen Henry (Labour),

East Dunbartonshire Council, 12 Strathkelvin Place, Kirkintilloch.