As with any radical project that aims to make a difference in people’s lives, there are challenges, particularly when it comes to creating a compelling vision that the wider community can get behind.
A small group of householders and businesses have expressed vocal opposition to the whole project. In addition, local media have been reinforcing the impression of a backlash, exaggerating and distorting some of the concerns raised about the design through adverse stories and their sceptical editorial stance.
With this negative atmosphere, coupled with the precarious nature of the controlling coalition at the council and the spectre of greater budgetary constraints, there is now a danger of the project being scrapped outright and the first phase ripped up.
This would have a disastrous effect on enabling cycling in East Dunbartonshire and would also have a potentially chilling effect on other ambitious schemes in the Greater Glasgow area – it is unlikely partners will invest in a future scheme if there is a significant risk of rolling it back. Thus, action is needed urgently.
What you can do to help
Firstly, if you live in the area, please write to your councillors, MSPs and MP to express your support for the scheme. In addition, these elected representatives hold regular surgeries – we urge you to meet with them personally, as this can leave a stronger impression.
Secondly, write to your local press – The Milngavie Herald are taking an interest in Bears Way, as are the Glasgow Herald and Evening Times.
Thirdly, support Friends of Bears Way – We are a new support group set up to promote the opportunities and benefits of the project. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and come back to the website for updates.