George Vincent is the Technical Services Manager of Glasgow City Council's Land and Environmental Services Department which has responsibility for many of the Councils functions, including traffic, parks and cleansing in addition to having responsibility for projects and design. The department also has responsibility for delivering the transport plan for the 2014 Commonwealth Games that will be held in Glasgow between 23 July and 3 August 2014.
The Land and Environmental Services Department is working with the Organizing Committee for the Commonwealth Games and other partner organizations including Strathclyde Partnership for Transport and Transport Scotland to ensure that transport needs are met, both for the Games themselves and for the City that will continue to function during the games period.
George pointed out that this project has a fixed date, so delivering the transport plan is vital and all parties involved in the project are committed to delivering it on time and within budget. There are 17 different sports with 260 event sessions at venues across the City and in addition there is also a cultural and live entertainment programme.
There will be in the region of 4500 athletes participating in the games, along with 2000 games officials, 1000 technical officials and around 1500 Games Federation officials from 71 Commonwealth Games Associations. There are expected to be some 3000 media personnel covering the various events. There will also be a volunteer workforce of around 15,000 people. There will be 1.3 million spectator tickets sold and up to 200,000 spectators attending events on peak days. All of these people will require transport to and from the various venues.
Looking at the governance of the Games, George outlined the structure that is led by the Commonwealth Games Federation and the Organizing Committee includes Glasgow 2014 Ltd, the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council, Commonwealth Games Scotland. The games will be athlete centred, sport focussed and will feature world class competition. The aim is to leave a lasting legacy and it is imperative that the transport is right.
Turning to the Transport Strategic Plan, George looked at the various aspects that make up the plan. Firstly, there is the "games family" and the aim is to get them securely, safely and reliably around the City. Next are the spectators and the aim is to provide fast, frequent and accessible transport that is fully sustainable. There will be no car parking provision for spectators. Finally, there is the need to keep Glasgow moving during the games as it will be business as usual for most of the city.
The transport plan aims to deliver low carbon transport and leave a positive legacy of sustainable transport as well as delivering value for money. Glasgow already has strategic transport infrastructure in that it has a comprehensive road network and has both the subway and the largest suburban rail network outside London, with 59 stations in the city. Most of the Games venues have a station nearby. There is an extensive bus network and there has been substantial investment in bus infrastructure. A Statutory Quality Partnership scheme will be introduced in Glasgow in April of 2012 and bus lane cameras will be introduced. There are also walking and cycling routes and a traffic control centre that monitors the road network.
There are a number of headline projects, including the completion of the M74 at a cost of £600 million and this has reduced journey times by about 10 minutes. The East End Regeneration route connects the M74 with the M8 and phase 1 has already been completed, with phase 2 due to open in April 2012. The legacy of this will be improved access to Clyde Gateway, currently the largest regeneration project in Europe.
Other projects include the Connect 2 project, dedicated to improving cycling facilities and aims to provide a safer cycling environment on roads. Turning to rail facilities, Dalmarnock Station will receive an £11.5 million upgrade that will include new station buildings. Bridgeton station will also receive an upgrade and there will be improvements to the public realm in the immediate vicinity of the station.
There will also be improvements to the riverside walkways to encourage people to walk and cycle. Lancefield Quay and Anderston Quay will be redeveloped and approximately £600,000 will be spend improving Customhouse Quay. These improvements will include improved walkways and lighting, as well as improving landscaping. Bells Bridge spanning the river at the SECC will be refurbished in partnership with Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.
Elsewhere, the road bridge in Cathedral Street spanning the railway at Queen Street Station will be strengthened in partnership with Network Rail. This work is necessary as there are currently restrictions on the use of the bridge by traffic and it is important that the road network can accommodate traffic diverted from other areas in the city centre when cultural events are taking place. This work should be completed by the end of 2013.
The Hampden Transport Hub is being built by Glasgow City Council in partnership with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport on the site of an old lighting depot that was originally a trolleybus depot. The area will be landscaped and resurfaced and will feature a number of bus stances. The main legacy of this facility will be a park and ride facility.
Further projects are the modernization of Glasgow's subway and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport is upgrading stations, replacing escalators and will introduce improved ticketing facilities. The Fastlink Project has received £40 million of funding from the Scottish Government and this will provide a bus rapid transit link to the SECC and on to the new Southern General Hospital. This is due to open in 2015, but the infrastructure will be available for use by Games vehicles.
Looking at the Commonwealth Games requirements, there will be some15,000 people needing transport consisting of 4,500 athletes, 2,000 games officials, 1,000 technical officials, 1,500 officials from Games Federations and Associations along with 3,000 media personnel. This will require the use of some 1,200 cars and between 300 and 400 buses. This fleet of vehicles will need to be garaged and maintained in deports convenient to the games.
Transport will be provided between the games village and the competition venues, the media hubs and the cultural event sites. Glasgow is a reasonably compact city and all journeys will be from the games village to the games venues and back. The travel target is for 90% of athletes to be at the games venue within 20 minutes of leaving the games village. The games route network will include dedicated lanes for games family transport and there will be signal priority at key junctions. Routes will be monitored to ensure no hold ups.
In additional to the investment on the core routes for the games, work is being undertaken on the routes designated as contingency routes so that the chance of disruption due to, for example, burst water or gas mains is minimized and the utility companies are working on a major programme of investment by replacing old pipes. Other works will also be undertaken to improve these routes.
The spectators and workforce will also require transport and with 1.3 million spectator tickets available there will be around 100,000 spectators travelling on an average day and up to 190,000 travelling on a peak day. In addition the games workforce of 15,000 will also require transport. The needs of the spectators and workforce needs to be assessed so that there is adequate provision. The busiest day will be day 5 of the games with events taking place at the SECC, Ibrox, Scotstoun, Hampden and Kelvingrove.
To minimize the impact on transport networks, the games are being held in a traditionally quiet period during the summer, when schools are on holiday. Most venues are within 2 - 4 km of the city centre and there will also be free public transport for games ticket holders. The aim is to keep the city moving during the games period as business and commerce will continue. This means working with businesses and such measures as increased use of flexible working times or having deliveries made overnight are being considered. There will be detailed Traffic Management plans and a campaign of consultation and communication.
The City Council is working with the Organizing Committee to ensure that the city is ready for the games and to support the games delivery, at the same time as keeping the city moving and, importantly, to secure a lasting legacy such as the infrastructure. There will be a significant economic benefit for the city by hosting the games and the aim is to ensure that visitors to the city are left with a lasting positive impression of Glasgow.
The Scottish Region would like to thank Glasgow City Council for hosting the event.
Report by John Fender.
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