Campaigners have called for city sections of the M8 in Glasgow to be closed for a day once a year to allow locals to reclaim the space for “festivities and fun”.
The petition, created by campaign organisation CarFree Glasgow, points out that only half of households in Scotland’s biggest city have access to a car - while a six lane motorway cuts through the city - and called for an annual car free day in the city.
The group said that it wanted to raise awareness of the importance of cutting air pollution, which was one of 11 urban areas to breach World Health Organisation safety levels in data published earlier this year.
It said: “Glasgow is the only city in the UK to have a six lane motorway cutting right through its heart. Yet, less than half of our households have access to cars.
“For the last 45 years we have all had to put up with a continual stream of traffic roaring through our city. Enough is enough. We want the chance to breathe fresh air and to hear ourselves think. We need the time and space to come together to start to imagine a more equal and sustainable future for our city.”
Campaigners added that they hoped an annual car free day would be a catalyst for more permanent change in Glasgow.
The petition, which has so far attracted alkmost 150 signatures, said: “Like many other cities around the world, Glasgow must also start dreaming of a time in the future when the outdated motorway infrastructure of the 20th century can be re-imagined and re-used in different ways. Our annual ‘carfree day’ will be the start.”
Lewis Hetherington, from Glasgow's Southside, said: "Cities like Glasgow weren't build for modern cars, they were built for horses and carts and people walking, talking. Shutting that part of the M8 could hopefully inspire people of the possibilities of change - imagine if that whole motorway was used for wide cycle lanes, public parks."
Barry Smith, who lives in Royston and can hear the roar of the motorway from his house, said: “There should be more cycle space. It would be nice to close the motorway for a couple of days to hear the birds coming back and to give us all a bit of fresh air.”
A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland said that the Scottish Government invests over £1 billion a year in public transport and other sustainable transport options to encourage people out of their cars, but warned that a closure of the M8 would be too disruptive to traffic.
She said: “The trunk road and motorway network connects Scotland’s major cities, towns, airports and ports enabling the movement of people, goods and services – closing the M8 would only move traffic onto local roads increasing congestion in towns and villages along the route.”