GLASGOW would be following some of the biggest cities in the USA with plans to put a roof over the M8.

In America, city planners have been erecting Freeway Caps over huge eight-lane interstate highways to create green space in cities and reduce noise and pollution from cars and trucks.

The Glasgow plan for Charing Cross will reclaim space for pedestrians with a cap over the stretch between Sauchiehall Street and Bath Street and create more public pedestrian space to the north towards Woodlands road and the M8 on ramp and to the south outside the Mitchell Library.

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The plan would reduce the road space for cars and the council’s feasibility study will investigate the implications for traffic flow.

Similar schemes have been built in Seattle, Boston, and Dallas and others are in the planning stages to transform urban areas where huge motorways cut through urban areas.

Evening Times:
M8 at Charing Cross

Seattle was on of the first with a cap built in 1976. Others are only now following suit with a desire for more green space in cities.

Atlanta in Georgia is considering a $300m project the Stitch, to cover a stretch of freeway with a park.

Dallas, Texas is creating it’s second park over the freeway to connect districts that were separated by the road.

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The Klyde Warren Park opened in 2012, after it was decided a lack of green space was damaging the attractiveness and competitiveness of the city centre.

Los Angeles has covered part of the freeway with an urban park.

In Glasgow, the plan is similar to the US schemes with a pedestrianised area to be created over a busy stretch Scotland’s busiest motorway.

The local MSP said she is right behind the plan as the council awards a contract for a feasibility study.

Kelvin MSP Sandra White said she has spoken to people in the area about the idea.

She said: I think it is fantastic and very forward looking. As well as making the city more pleasing on the eye it joins communities together.

What was done to Anderston with the M8 was an act of vandalism with good communities knocked down. This will reconnect Garnethill, woodlands and Anderston and the city centre.

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“People have been supportive of it. I haven’t heard anyone who is against it. I can’t see anyone being against it.”

The plan was also backed by the Council’s Connectivity Commission chaired by professor David Begg.

It said: “Glasgow City Council should press ahead with plans to build a roof over the M8 at Charing Cross, creating a new pedestrian space outside the Mitchell Library.”

The proposals are at an early stage and the feasibility of all aspects will be investigated including cost.

A council spokesman said: “The feasibility will consider all aspects of the proposals – from design and cost to engineering and traffic management issues – so nothing is set in stone at this stage.  

“We would consult with relevant partner organisations on matters such as city centre traffic modelling before making any recommendations to a council committee on the best way to regenerate this area.”

People in the area gave the plan their backing hoping it would make it more attractive.

Andy Nove, 26, said: “It looks like a big improvement. It’s pretty ugly at the moment to be honest with you. It looks like it’ll liven up the area a fair bit.

Evening Times:
Andy Nove

“I literally work around the corner so this is currently our view, which isn’t great. When it rains badly it gets really flooded. So it’ll really brighten it up to look out of the window and see something a bit fresh, because if you look just there, there’s loads of graffiti.”

Heather Cowie, 34, who works at the Berkeley Clinic said, “First of all I think it’ll be a nice place to go and relax, it looks very tranquil. We’ve just come back from Sydney where it was nice because you were able to walk to a place like that and read your book.

Evening Times:
Heather Cowie

“It looks like it could be nice and quiet which will be a big improvement on what it is now. I would definitely make use of this, I love running and things like that. At the moment it’s noisy and a little bit chaotic with all the traffic, so just having that pedestrianised bit would be great.”

Ian Thompson, 37, said: “It definitely looks like a good idea, I think it’ll be good for workers in this area. It looks a bit grim the way it does now, and probably has done for about the past 15 years. 

Evening Times:
Ian Thompson

“It’s good that there’s a bit of redevelopment happening because I think Glasgow needs it at the moment, compared with Edinburgh anyway, they’re getting all the money. It would be good to see something different.”

Iain Wallace, 37, said: “It looks like a good idea, it’ll improve the appearance of the area in Charing Cross. The Mitchell Library is obviously a very significant building in Glasgow, so it’ll be nice to have an area around that which adds to the appeal of the area.

“The area at the moment, it is what it is, it’s an overpass on a very busy motorway so I think anything that detracts from that, particularly for people that work in the area. Having a nice place for people to escape to in a bit of open space would be welcome.”