THE decision to ban cars from part of George Square has sparked a storm of protest as well as strong support.

When we broke the news that the city council has installed a bus gate at Nelson Mandela Place, which will result in around 800 venicles each day being banned from the north side of the historic square, Evening Times readers quickly made known their feelings.

Roads bosses say the move to allow only buses and taxis to use the north side of the square will cut congestion and vehicle pollution in the area.

But Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), has warned that diverting so many vehicles up Hope Street, to Cowcaddens Road and down North Hanover Street will cause chaos in the city centre.

As the following readers' comments show, the decision has backers as well as opponents.

Colin Chievely, from Glasgow, wrote: "Great stuff, Glasgow City Council, on the George Square car ban.

"For far too long, we have had to put up with motorists clogging up our wonderful city centre and for far too long have we bowed to the motoring lobby in this city.

"Making George Square safer for pedestrians and cyclists and easier for public transport is the right thing to do for the citizens and visitors to our fine city.

"Motorists need to realise that they are the cause of congestion in Glasgow, and rather than moan about not being able to drive through the city should look at how they can change their behaviour to make Glasgow a better place for everyone.

"Sure, some people need their cars to get around the city, people with mobility issues in particular; but many do not, and their selfish behaviour is the cause of the congestion and pollution we all experience on a daily basis.

"I can only hope this car restriction extends across other parts of Glasgow that suffer every day from pollution and congestion caused by having far too many private cars in the city.

Nic Vermont, also from Glasgow, disagreed with the car ban. He wrote: "Is this not the craziest piece of traffic management ever?

"George Square is extremely busy at peak hours, but what city isn't?

"This council have a downer on private cars, and an obsession with buses that defies logic.

Johnny Mack, of Glasgow, said: "The problem is buses.

"There are far too many of them, particularly outwith the rush hours.

"Go see Renfield/Union Street at any time and it's nose to tail with empty buses polluting the atmosphere. Bring back the trams.

"George Square, the heart of the city with main arteries going east and west which, at any time I've used them, seem to operate okay, extremely busy at peak hours, but what city isn't.

"All it is doing is causing hassle and we will never ever find out who the bright spark is that devised this crock.

"Would this ever get tried out in Trafalgar Square?

Col Johnstone, from East Kilbride, said: "You do realise they did this in Trafalgar Square. Closed one side of it outside the National Galleries."

Johnny Mack replied: "Thanks Col. I was only ever aware of Trafalgar Square as it is now and didn't realise there had been traffic in front of the gallery. Are we talking many years? The things you learn in the ET."

Ronnie Simpson said: "It is increasingly obvious that Glasgow City Council does not have the expertise at hand to improve traffic flow using commonsense methods, their only answer to their pet hate, 'the motor car', is to create obstacle courses on the roads in the vain hope that people will pay bus companies inflated fares to convey them with a patchy, unreliable service.

''Motorists will be diverted up Hope Street, along Cowcaddens Road and down North Hanover Street.

"Only in Glasgow could you be made to drive around three sides of a square instead of one - Hope Street,Cowcaddens Road and North Hanover Street instead of straight along West George Street and through Nelson Mandela Place and be told that it would reduce congestion and pollution.

Sheena Penson, from Glasgow, added: "This is not restricting the traffic in the city centre, merely diverting it elsewhere.

"I agree with Mr Chievely that there should be more restrictions on traffic in the city centre, but the council rejected a proposed congestion charge several years ago.

"Of course the needs of disabled drivers should always be taken into account as well."

"And," she added, "doesn't Hope Street have the highest pollution level already?"

William Connelly, from Glasgow, said: "70% cut in traffic? You're only diverting the traffic somewhere else.

"In fact, with numerous bus lanes and one-way streets, the council have done nothing but create congestion in Glasgow. Well done.

Stewie GriffiN, also from Glasgow, said: "Another shambles presided over by GCC."

Kirsteen AllaN, of Newton Mearns, said: "I don't like to think of myself as a selfish driver, but there are many.

"As a blue badge holder, the safest spots for me to park in are at Queen Street station and on Nelson Mandela Place.

"I am able to get my chair out of the car safely and don't have to worry about anyone parking behind me.

"Sometimes I worry that if there is not enough room for my hoist I am risking damaging someone else's car ... though this has not happened yet, because I won't park where there isn't plenty of room for manoeuvre. I always access both spots via George Square. So unfair to close this off."

Overseas reader Roy Cunningham, from Bangor, Co Down, said: "Reduce congestion in George Square, but how do you move another 8000 vehicles a day up Hope Street, which is already choked with buses.

"Someone who doesn't drive in Glasgow has thought this one up.

"Driving round the Square to see the Christmas lights will be a thing of the past.

"It would make more sense bringing in time restrictions rather than banning cars 24/7.

"The shops and restaurants in the area will soon start complaining of a drop in business.

"I suggest they widen St Vincent Street out to its original four lane size and George Square South and make it two way.

Calum CooK, Glasgow, said: "Fantastic decision, and about time. Can't wait."

Scott NicoL, also Glasgow, joked: "Usual level of public consultation I see."

Fiona WatsoN, from Glasgow, said: "70% traffic reduction in George Square.

"Surely then a 70% increase in another three streets. How does this help traffic flow?

"And as for buses, what use are they in George Square?

"Public transport in this city is pointless, aimless, dirty and expensive, why would we use it?

"Probably only to escape those cyclists who insist on riding through pedestrian crossings when they shouldn't, on the pavements and down one-way streets the wrong way.

"Just daft, but what else can we expect from this council."

Tom KenT, of Glasgow, said: "What would help traffic flow immensely would be drivers using public transport, be it train, bus, taxi or our new shiny Subway and stop needlessly coming into the city centre.

"Watching the traffic, I note that the vast majority of cars only have one person in them, who then leaves half a ton of metal parked on the roads for hours.

"Incidentally, I drove for more than 40 years but left the car at home when going into the city from G12."