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Cycle lane plans dropped by council as it would have “killed off shops”

Businesses, after weeks of protest, said they were "thrilled" that the proposed cycle path and floating bus stop in Paisley was scrapped...

Plans for a cycle lane and a floating bus stop have been scrapped by the council after businesses in the Paisley town centre staged a sustained protest, warning of a “catastrophic” effect to livelihoods if the cycling infrastructure was allowed to be built.

The proposals in Paisley were mainly focused for the Causeyside Street and supposed to include a two-way protected cycle route between Canal Street and Gilmour Street train stations, linking to National Cycle Route 7, with floating bus stops, along with resurfacing footways and junction alterations to increase safety while walking.

These schemes, which according to the Renfrewshire Council underwent thorough engagement, have been stonewalled indefinitely after sustained pressure by a business consortium called Paisley First, along with Paisley West and Central Community Council.

These groups had accused the council’s engagement procedure as flawed and that it failed to follow regulatory guidelines and advices.

The chair of Paisley First said: “Given there is no evidence of demand for cycling, specifically between the two railway stations, as well as the project team’s admission that Sustrans is aware of the project, but not directly involved, we maintain our firm belief that this project cannot and must not be allowed to proceed.”

> New protected bike lanes will benefit both cyclists and businesses, Camden Council says

One of the shop-owners from Causeyside Street said that they “will do whatever it takes to keep fighting these proposals”, while another claimed that “no evidence of any economic benefit to the local community” had been provided by the council.

Another business feared that the changes will discourage people from visiting Paisley altogether, adding: “This is not about being against cyclists, it's about making sure Causeyside Street is safe for everyone. I do wonder if the planners and councillors realise or actually care about the devastating effect this will have on the businesses that attract people to the area.”

Following the resistance, Glasgow Times reports that the council has been forced to back down on its decision. The chair of Paisley First reaced saying: “We are thrilled that common sense has prevailed and Renfrewshire Council will no longer be proceeding with a segregated cycle route along Causeyside Street.”

Councillor Kenny MacLaren, SNP rep for Paisley Northwest, said that he’s attended a number of meetings about this proposal and hadn’t heard “one person speak positively about it”, while Councillor Will Mylet, SNP rep for Paisley East and Central, said that it was the “right decision”.

> Controversial cycle lane roadworks blamed for “killing Christmas trade”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “The Causeyside Street regeneration proposals are designed to enhance walking, cycling and public transport connections for residents, businesses and visitors on Causeyside Street, as well as improve parking and traffic flow.

“As part of our extensive engagement process, we have been liaising with the community, elected members and businesses throughout to ensure the plans would work for the town centre and after listening to their feedback, we are proposing not to take forward the current planned cycle lane at this time.

“We will be continuing our engagement on Causeyside Street, in particular the junction with Gordon Street, as part of future plans to improve traffic flow in the area and the local community will be involved as always in future planning.”

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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40 comments

Avatar
TommyWW | 1 year ago
5 likes

Here in Malmö Sweden 20 years ago they simply closed several streets to all traffic creating pedestrian zones. The local businesses screamed about losing business. 1 year later after the changes, there was more business and it completely boomed in following years leading to more streets being made pedestrian.

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chrisonabike replied to TommyWW | 1 year ago
3 likes

TommyWW wrote:

Here in Malmö Sweden 20 years ago they simply closed several streets to all traffic creating pedestrian zones. The local businesses screamed about losing business. 1 year later after the changes, there was more business and it completely boomed in following years leading to more streets being made pedestrian.

I like to think that's how it would work here, if local authorities had the bravery.  Unfortunately the motor car is too strong with us.  Certainly in the case of cycling infra after changes have been working quite successfully in some cases these measures are reversed (often reported here).  It seems it's not "most people" causing this but politicians.  You wonder - is it because "me and my pals like to park there", or because they're seeing the money from the motor lobby, or they've seen a particular group they can make themselves appealing to (nervous business owners, people who don't like "change")?

Anyway - I hear that Malmö is more advanced than most of the UK.  Not so far ahead that it's unimaginable, unlike NL.  Probably more than 20 years ahead though.  Nice articles on the city and suburbs by the Ranty Highwayman and by BicycleDutch.

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ShutTheFrontDawes | 1 year ago
0 likes

Is this area an accident/incident/collision hotspot for cyclists? Is there any particular reason why cyclists need separation from other vehicles here?

I'm happy to see segregated cycle facilities where there is a benefit, but where there isn't, it's just a waste of taxpayer's money. As cyclists we are vehicles and are entitled to use the roads.

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matthewn5 | 1 year ago
3 likes

Well, this certainly discourages me from ever visiting Paisley. What a dump.

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Broken_Chain | 1 year ago
0 likes

GOOD!
Refreshing to see a Council with some common sense.

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Benji326 | 1 year ago
8 likes

Am I missing something but why are councils insistent on building 2 way paths on one side of the road that follow pedestrian routes and do not flow with traffic? If bicycles are vehicles then why not integrate them with regular traffic. It seems like token efforts to be 'green' without proper investment or thought.
 

It also baffles me that an constant argument made by shop owners is demanding that they need that one car space outside their shop that will contain one customer opposed to space to park a dozen bikes with a dozen customers.

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IanGlasgow replied to Benji326 | 1 year ago
19 likes

Having experienced this in my local high street (Byres Rd in Glasgow) most of the local business owners wanted a parking space outside their door for their own car.

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matthewn5 replied to IanGlasgow | 1 year ago
5 likes

My wife used to do community engagement and this was EXACTLY what she found up and down the country.

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giff77 replied to Benji326 | 1 year ago
5 likes

Benji326 wrote:

Am I missing something but why are councils insistent on building 2 way paths on one side of the road that follow pedestrian routes and do not flow with traffic? If bicycles are vehicles then why not integrate them with regular traffic. It seems like token efforts to be 'green' without proper investment or thought.

There's a sharp climb at the end of Causeyside Street with a set of lights to facilitate a pedestrian crossing on the bend (used to be a major crossroads before pedestrianising two arms and creating a sharp right for through traffic) The two way cycle path would have allowed cyclists to leave and join Causeyside in relative safety as the dogleg is pretty messy at the best of times. 

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HarrogateSpa replied to Benji326 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Bi-directional tracks should be 3m, and one-way tracks would be 2x2m. There is therefore a space saving.

LTN 1/20 identifies opportunities and challenges of bi-directional tracks.

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David9694 | 1 year ago
7 likes

We visit the amazing street with real buzz that is the best part of Bath

OK, a long way from Paisley but... 

https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/whats-on/visit-amazing-street-real-buzz-8...

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spen | 1 year ago
4 likes

"... as well as the project team’s admission that Sustrans is aware of the project, but not directly involved, we maintain our firm belief that this project cannot and must not be allowed to proceed.” what do these people think Sustrans do? Do thy think they're a statuory body instead of the barely competent goup they actually are? I blame the government outsourcing funding admin to them for their inflated profile

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Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
8 likes

A much simpler solution for high streets is to enforce a 20mph limit, with heavy penalties. Drivers not allowed to overtake cyclists. Plenty of parking spaces including secure lock up facilities for cyclists. Drivers going slower can find spaces easier and their passengers might spot something in a shop window and request a stop. Cyclists no longer in danger of being mowed down at speed. Pedestrians can cross to shop on other side without being forced to walk to a controlled crossing point, reducing the 'can't be bothered to walk back to that shop I spotted' 

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Oldfatgit replied to Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
9 likes

BuT I CaNt DRiVE aT 20mPh ...

Will be the resounding cry from the motoring community

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Robert Hardy replied to Oldfatgit | 1 year ago
1 like

Having lost their licence that would be gratifyingly true.

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Broken_Chain replied to Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
0 likes

You might as well just walk and save yourself the wear of your joints turning that big cog round and round.....

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giff77 replied to Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
2 likes

Due to the high volumes of traffic on this stretch the avg speed is probably 7mph

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ChuckSneed | 1 year ago
1 like

Cycle lanes also kill cycling. We are entitled to use the road, and should do so

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chrisonabike replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago
5 likes

Well... aside from the fact that this was to be a cycle *path* - rather different.

(Cycle lanes in the UK - mostly useless, sadly not mostly harmless. )

But yeah, I mean cycling is dead in Copenhagen, in The Netherlands, in Belgium... I've never even heard of roadies from there.

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/the-busiest-cycleway-in-th...

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KDee replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
4 likes

Yeah, I think there was a little bike race yesterday where the winners came from places with good bike infra. Probably just a one off though...

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chrisonabike replied to ChuckSneed | 1 year ago
6 likes

Are you by any chance worried about this?

https://cyclingfallacies.com/en/25/we%E2%80%99ll-be-stuck-on-terrible-cy...

We should never underestimate the huge self-reinforcing power of the motor industries or the self-serving nature of our rulers. Plenty of reasons why you don't have much to worry about though.

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marmotte27 | 1 year ago
13 likes

Everything shows that a car culture actually favours out of town developments and is detrimental for city centre shopping.

Seems like shopkeepers are a species that will disappear of its own doing...

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago
9 likes

Given that it seems to be a universal truth that where such cycle lanes are installed, businesses increase footfall and turnover, it is disappointing that the opposite argument appears to have won.  Did the shopkeepers claiming that their businesses would be destroyed actually provide any evidence that this would happen?

"I do wonder if the planners and councillors realise or actually care about the devastating effect this will have on the businesses that attract people to the area.”

Except that all the evidence says that far from being devastated, the businesses would thrive, so just the normal, everyday anti-cycling, pro-driving stance of people who cannot cope with change, even if it is beneficial to them.

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Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
11 likes

Presumably the issue is about parking spaces, as people driving their cars are notoriously tight fisted about spending money in the shops that they are driving past.

Parking is of course an issue, but it ain't half frustrating that roadspace for stationary vehicles is considered priority over protected roadspace for people just trying to use an efficient means of personal urban transportation to get about in a less environmentally damaging way.

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giff77 replied to Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
1 like

There's two multi-storey car parks, at least eight council car parks and plenty of on street parking. There are a few parking bays along Causeyside but these are always in use and not always by customers of the shops concerned. 

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giff77 | 1 year ago
16 likes

I'll be back when I've calmed down and thinking a bit more rationally. 

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Broken_Chain replied to giff77 | 1 year ago
0 likes

If you're a cyclist then that'll be never?

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giff77 replied to Broken_Chain | 1 year ago
6 likes

Very drole. I'm a human being who wants to get from a to b in relative safety by bicycle. The council has now removed this option from many cyclists in Paisley. 

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aaronmccarthy | 1 year ago
6 likes

Genuinely bizarre, Victoria Road is buzzing due to the installation of the cycle lanes - I remember trying to recce a route into Paisley from Glasgow Southside to visit an exhibition. Within a minute of trying to navigate that road I was walking on the pavement. Absolute nightmare area. 

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giff77 replied to aaronmccarthy | 1 year ago
4 likes

aaronmccarthy wrote:

Genuinely bizarre, Victoria Road is buzzing due to the installation of the cycle lanes - I remember trying to recce a route into Paisley from Glasgow Southside to visit an exhibition. Within a minute of trying to navigate that road I was walking on the pavement. Absolute nightmare area. 

Causeyside is a horrible road to cycle.  

 

  

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