Currently viewing the tag: "Glasgow"
Some people wonder whether I go on vacation to relax or experience foreign public transit systems; I like to think it’s a little of both. Utilizing foreign transit and witnessing other city’s approaches to some of our similar problems captivates me and drives me to try and bring about some of these changes in Miami. The small nation of Scotland is entwined in a network of rail and regional bus routes, guaranteeing regular access to even some of the most remote towns and villages.In Edinburgh, you queue. Not to place an order in the drive-thru, but to wait for the bus. Scottish residents queued for the bus and boarded in the order which they arrived in a most uncanny display of civilized behavior. Lines stretched down blocks a few yards, allowing continuous pedestrian passage along sidewalks. Bus shelters were even designed longer than American shelters to allow for greater covered queuing space and typically featured electronic displays of routes and approximate wait times.

We rented a car to experience both the joys and hazards of driving on the wrong side of the road and headed north to witness the natural beauty of Glen Coe. While driving along a precarious single lane road (with a few haphazard passing bays) which serviced only two small (~500 people) towns, we pulled off the road to allow the daily public transit bus to pass. Remarkable! This wasn’t the only instance where we encountered this, in fact every town we passed through had a bus stop with schedules attached listing the daily regional bus service which passed through the area, even in towns where sheep seemingly outnumbered people 50 to 1.

Glasgow is the only city in Scotland which currently has rail public transportation, although Edinburgh will soon begin work on a streetcar system (see sign below.) The Glasgow subway runs in a circular path around the city center and has never been expanded since its opening in 1896, making it the third oldest metro system in the world. It’s a most unusual subway train, just 4 carts long and barely tall enough for me to stand up straight in. The limited 6.5 Mile system is interconnected with several (7, I believe) suburban train lines which arrive at the central station as well as the city’s vast bus network. Plans are in the works to also bring streetcars or guided busways to the city.

It was August in Glasgow and a chilly 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It was drizzling all day (heck, all week) and the wind was kicking, yet the city was alight with activity, pedestrian activity that is. With weather conditions that would typically render walking along Lincoln Road improbable, Glasgow’s main pedestrian mall was buzzing with pedestrian activity, shopping, and dining along Buchanan Street.

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Heading off to Scotland today for the week. Hope to have some Internet access at some point throughout the week, otherwise Ryan and James will be conducting most of the activity on the site until I get back…

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