Traffic Calming

[Picture of the M77 Motorway]WHY IS SHAWLANDS GETTING WORSE?

The answer could be to do with traffic calming.

The first question any sane person would ask would surely be: “Did the traffic need to be calmed?”, and the answer is a simple “no”.

But things are never that simple; the council had a plan, and the suggestion was that IF the plan came into existence, THEN traffic would indeed require to be “calmed”.

In my earlier post, “Shawlands is in Glasgow“, I tried to explain how Shawlands became such an important part of the city because of its location on the southbound A77.

The council’s plan was called the GSO or Glasgow South Orbital scheme and was about investing in roads. All very unpopular and highly charged politically — especially the proposed extension of the M77 through Pollok Park.

So, at the end of the 1990s, work began on the GSO scheme and generated a lot of press for “the Pollok Free State” of tree-dwelling hippies attempting to stop the road building.

Because the GSO was so controversial, it couldn’t be allowed to fail.

People had to be forced to use the new road at all costs. The traffic management centred around something called “the M77 Corridor scheme” which supported the GSO scheme.

[Satellite Picture of Camphill Cross]

The corridor scheme began by adding traffic lights and fences to all the junctions on the A77 to make the A77 a slow and congested route and making the M77 a more attractive proposition.

  • The plan was to change travel habits and get people onto the M77 and M8, over the Kingston Bridge and away from there, bypassing the city including Shawlands.

[Picture of A77 narrowing][Picture of narrow A77]The A77 was also cut down from a dual carriageway to a single road, with humps and narrowed side roads, wide bus lanes, new central refuge islands and right-turn bays. Each set of traffic lights in Shawlands was doubled.

However, drivers began to use Tantallon Road and other ‘back roads’ and ‘side roads’ to avoid the traffic lights and other new restrictions.

So the council developed the Tantallon Road Traffic Calming Scheme, funded as part of the M77 Corridor scheme under the EU grants.

This traffic calming scheme provided for speed humps. The Scottish Executive states “Road humps are the most effective traffic calming measure available for reducing speed. “ and each one costs approximately £10000.00! Legally, humps cannot be used for roads where the speed limit is over 30mph so they cannot be used across the A77 Kilmarnock Road. If the intention was to reduce the speed of vehicles on the residential side roads where there may be school children, then speed humps would be expected to be placed some way down the side road, perhaps at the junction with Deanston Drive or Tantallon Road. But locating the speed humps at every junction of side road with the A77 in Shawlands can only have one intention: to slow traffic on the A77; cars would always be travelling slower than 30mph at that point without the humps, because turning into a side road can only involve either deceleration from 40mph or accelerating from rest, depending on whether the turn is right or left from the A77. The humps make the turns much slower from the main road, creating congestion and making the M77 motorway more appealing. This is a clear misuse of speed humps, a breach of legislation and a waste of tax money.

Legally, humps must also travel across the road (from kerb to kerb) , yet there are speed humps in Shawlands that remain in the centre of Tantallon Road. These are definitely illegal, yet they have been causing motorists grief since May 2003 (cars, vans and lorries, in avoiding these ‘upturned brick canoes’, strike the bollards, kerb and fences). There is a lot of noise, and a weekly collection of wing mirrors and hubcaps. This junction has to be the most photographed in Glasgow for insurance claims and claims for damages from the council!

[Picture of Illegal Speed Hump 2] [Picture of Illegal Speed Hump 2]


If legal humps are unpopular with motorists because they damage the car and cause distress to the ill and injured, elderly and pregnant passengers and driver (see Clipped News Article -Speed Hump Hate), the illegal humps of Shawlands takes this misery to a new level.

In addition to speed humps being illegally used to manage traffic routes, the side roads were narrowed by widening the pavements. Now, although the aim was to control traffic flow, these changes had a big effect on the residents.

First of all, the refurbished Victorian area was becoming less authentic with these unsympathetic additions.

The building works themselves caused dirt and noise and restricted parking, and when complete, there were less car parking spaces available for people who lived in or used Shawlands.

[Picture of loss of parking space] [Picture of loss of car parking space] [Picture of widened pavements] [Picture of junction of Deanston and Skirving]

[Picture of Sunday PM Tantallon Road]The result is that people began to park on the humps and widened pavements, so the council had to tackle this new problem. The DfT (Department for Transport) have guide notes for councils on pavement parking that advocate raised kerbs (£30 per metre), fences (also £30 per metre) and bollards (about £100 each).

In summary:

  1. The council wanted people to use the new motorway,
  2. The main road was slowed-down,
  3. Traffic began to use residential roads,
  4. The council trying to slow down flow on side roads,
  5. Parking on pavements began,
  6. Bollards, fences and general ugliness ensued in an attempt to stop pavement parking.

So, as anyone can see, because speed was never an issue on these roads, it has not been a question of traffic calming at all, but traffic management or traffic control. There is a good argument for these measures being useful in a temporary sense — useful until traffic habits changed from using the direct A77 route north to the city to using the new M77. In which case, they had by now surely done their job and can be removed.

The origins seem, however, to have been forgotten and now the council is attacking problems that have resulted for attacking problems and so forth. Perhaps if the council realised that parking on pavements can solved by removing the restrictions instead of adding more restrictions, progress can be made. (see the work of Hans Monderman) .


13 Responses to “Traffic Calming”

  1. Getting Worse Traffic Lights Suck! « Says:

    […] Cross Ref […]

  2. Peter Morgan Says:

    Are you a member of the ABD?
    I think we should join forces – your points mirror our approach well.

  3. stefan Says:
    msn live local shows it better

  4. Jack Says:

    It’s all to do with Road Traffic Reduction Act 1997, see

  5. Jack Says:

    Also see

  6. Getting Worse-- "New Restrictions in Shawlands" Says:

    […] Cross Ref […]

  7. Getting Worse-- "Apes in The Park" Says:

    […] Cross Ref […]

  8. Getting Worse-- "The Future of Shawlands" Says:

    […] Cross Ref […]

  9. Getting Worse-- "Hazardous Bus Stops" Says:

    […] Cross Ref […]

  10. Getting Worse-- "Rain Drain" Says:

    […] Cross Ref […]

  11. Getting Worse-- "Speed Parking!" Says:

    […] Cross Ref […]

  12. Amazed! Says:

    I am amazed! Your blog is definitely having a positive effect because last week “They” removed the extra traffic lights at last, so we are “back to normal”.THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!
    Keep up the good work!!!!!

  13. dave Says:

    video: they turned off the traffic lights in Portishead near Bristol and got amazing positive results.

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