The 5 best Glasgow Pedestrian Zones
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The pedestrian zones are areas of Glasgow reserved for pedestrian-only use and in which all automobile traffic is prohibited.

The idea of separating pedestrians from car traffic dates at least to the 17th century, but it’s during the 19th when the first covered shopping arcade in Paris, separating pedestrians from the horse carts, was opened.

But the first real pedestrianization of a street took place in 1929 in Essen, Germany, although the idea was not seen outside Germany.

The car-free street finally became common in Europe during the 1950s and 60s. For example the first pedestrianized street in the United Kingdom was in Stevenage (Hertfordshire) in 1959.

Pedestrianization usually aims to provide better accessibility and mobility for pedestrians, to enhance the volume of shopping, and to improve the attractiveness of the local environment in terms of air pollution, noise and accidents

So it is generally accepted that pedestrianization in Glasgow, mainly around shopping streets, has been beneficial in every topic, but especially for both retailers and shoppers.

Visit Buchanan Street

BUCHANAN STREET | 2018 Pedestrian Zone Gold Winner

Buchanan Street is a gracious pedestrian boulevard lined with architectural gems and one of the main shopping thoroughfares with some of Glasgow’s finest shopping areas.

The street was named thanks to Andrew Buchanan, a Tobacco Lord, who acquired some acres in 1763 thinking that Glasgow would spread westward.

Although his business collapsed when their tobacco estates were lost following the American War of Independence, and their lands finished in the hands of Glasgow bankers, his vision became reality and the first part of Buchanan Street was opened in 1777.

Buchanan St. was initially occupied by a mixture of merchants’ villas, small holdings and some workshops, but during the following decades some significant buildings were erected, such as St. George’s Tron Church in 1808.

Pin  Some of Glasgow’s finest shopping areas.

Discover George Square

GEORGE SQUARE | 2018 Pedestrian Zone Silver Winner

George Square is named after King George III. It is the principal urban square in Glasgow and has been the acknowledged centre of the city’s public life for centuries, welcoming a range of activities, from celebrations and parades to political gatherings or protests, being the most famous the 1919 Black Friday rally.

Built in 1781 as part of the innovative Georgian central grid system, during its first few years it was a dirty place used for slaughtering horses, but in the 1820s the square was eventually opened up and lined with Georgian townhouses at its East and West ends.

George Square is today home to the headquarters of Glasgow City Council, and boasts an important collection of statues and monuments.

Pin  The centre of the city’s public life for centuries.

Ashton Lane is a charming cobbled backstreet hidden away in the West End of Glasgow, noted for its great choice of bars, cafes, restaurants and the Grosvenor licensed cinema.

40 years ago, it was a run-down area of empty commercial shops. However, in 1976 Ubiquitous Chip restaurant moved into its current location, which had previously been the premises of a former undertaker. One year later, a major subway work forced several businesses from Byres Road to relocate to Ashton Lane, becoming this vibrant area and one of the main destinations for dining and drinking in Glasgow.

Pin  It was previously a derelict lane which turned into a popular destination.

Go to Sauchiehall Street

SAUCHIEHALL STREET | 2018 Pedestrian Zone Fourth Finalist

Sauchiehall Street is one of the main shopping and business streets in Glasgow. Part of the street was pedestrianized in 1972 and 1978.

Its rich history starts at the beginning of the 19th century, when the street was known as Saughie-haugh road (from “saugh” the Scots word for a willow tree and “haugh” the word for a meadow), a quiet narrow road with villas for wealthy merchants.

Over time, the street was widened and grew to be home to a number of notable buildings, noted for its department stores, theatres (the famous Glasgow Empire Theatre demolished in the 1950s), hotels (the Art Deco style Beresford Hotel), cinemas (Regal, La Scala and Gaumont cinemas, all currently closed), restaurants, tearooms (Willow Tearooms, designed in 1903 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh) and art galleries.

Pin  Street known as ‘The sauchie haugh’ or willow meadow.

Admire Royal Exchange Square

ROYAL EXCHANGE SQUARE | 2018 Pedestrian zone Fifth Winner

Royal Exchange Square is a public square in Glasgow and a landmark due to its restaurants, cafes, clubs and distinguished architecture, especially the neo-classical townhouse of William Cunninghame of Lainshaw, a wealthy Glasgow tobacco baron. Built in 1778, the building has undergone a series of different uses, from house to part of the Royal Bank of Scotland or the Royal Exchange for over 100 years.

Reconverted again in 1996, it is now the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), which has been the main gallery of contemporary art in Glasgow.

Lastly, another landmark at the square is the statue of Duke of Wellington, usually with an iconic traffic cone placed on his head by the young Glaswegians.

Pin  Iconic cone on the head of the Wellington Statue.

Looking at a street map of Glasgow, Sauchiehall Street, Buchanan Street and Argyle Street form a distorted letter “Z”.

This three mostly pedestrianized streets, are known as the Style Mile, the golden Z, a paradise for shoppers but also a gift to the senses for those who want to see but not buy.

Although interestingly the Style Mile is two-and-a-half miles long, it is probably the best shopping zone in the UK outside of London.


Glasgow Pedestrian zones

Cool Facts

The Quote

Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian.

Anthony R. Foxx. American politician and former United States Secretary of Transportation (1971-).


Greatest Glasgow Awards

Technical Criteria

Research led by SUZANNAH HENDERSON ׀
Date of the Research: 2-15 FEBRUARY 2018 ׀
Publication date: 19 FEBRUARY 2018
Review date: 19 FEBRUARY 2019

Scope of the research & essential inclusion criteria:
Open to the public. Urban area. Not in a green area.
Premium+ criteria:

1 History.
2 Beauty of the zone.
3 Size of the area.
4 Uniqueness of the area.
5 Condition of the area.

6 Variety of elements.
7 Harmonious set.
8 Beauty of the whole area.
9 Facilities.
10 Services/shopping options.


Premium Validation criteria:

11 True to its origins.
12 Friendly to visitors.
13 Significance of elements.
14 Accessibility for disabled persons.

15 Helps to understand Glasgow’s history.
16 A-listed buildings.
17 Estimated daily visitors.
18 Illumination.
19 Other features.

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