Is it time to depose the car as king of the road in the city centre?

For decades the roads have been designed for cars. With the exception of a few pedestrianized areas the city centre and routes in and out are dominated by cars.

In a city with the lowest car ownership in the country you may find this a strange occurrence.

In a city with a problem with pollution and respiratory illnesses, obesity and heart disease, should those with cars be so reluctant to give up or reduce our motor use.

The city centre is facing a massive challenge, as in what it its purpose, with working groups and task forces set up to discuss and devise strategies for its future.

Currently, despite the downturn in the fortunes of the high street it is still primarily a shopping and business destination.

How we want the city centre to develop in the future must include a plan for transport.

The Connectivity Commission set up by the council to look at transport issues is due to report soon and no doubt its chair, Professor David Begg, will have some interesting ideas.

But one thing is certain the days of the car being King must surely be over.

Glasgow has a well-served local rail network despite its faults and if the noises from ScotRail boss Alex Hynes are to be believed, the current investment will soon be paying dividends in terms of reliability and punctuality. Maybe need to work on affordability as well, though.

The bus network could be improved but again it is, for most people, a viable alternative to the car, especially for travelling to the city centre.

The current work on the ‘Avenues Project’ is giving more space over to pedestrians and cyclists with the aim of making the city centre more attractive, safer and less stressful for walking around.

Some more fully pedestrianised streets can make it even more attractive and could persuade more people to visit for shopping and leisure.

Think about shopping malls. They can be a nightmare to reach with traffic jams on approaches but once inside people are moving freely from shop to shop or restaurant and other leisure facilities.

The city centre can be the same if it redesigned and given a new purpose for a century when not everything depends on the convenience of using the motor car

The other cause of cars in the city centre is people driving to work and the council has raised the possibility of a workplace parking levy.

This could be more difficult with many staff either starting early in the morning or finishing late at night when safety becomes a serious factor.

Door to door via private car is a more appealing option than waiting on buses or trains and then walking home at the other end from the stop if you finish a shift after 11pm in a restaurant.

Park and ride not just for trains but buses could be one answer.

All these issues need to be addressed by the Connectivity Commission when it reports but also those who live and work in Glasgow need to think about our transport habits.

The city centre wasn’t built for cars it was built for people. It is time the people took priority once again.

We’ll all be happier and healthier if we do.