Hi all – and welcome to the November 2020 DCF newsletter! In it you’ll see everything the DCF has been up to in the past month. I’ll keep everything as brief as possible, and ask you to take occasional action (probably by writing to a councillor or objecting to a planning application), if you have the time.  So, let’s begin…

Spaces for People

We have now heard that the Green Circular upgrades have been designed and will be implemented very soon – look out for them! However, we do note that the DCF was not consulted in any way re: these upgrades and have made it clear that we ought to have been. The Convenor of City Development (Mark Flynn) shares these sentiments and has made it clear to council officers that we are to be involved with further decisions on Spaces for People measures. There is still a clear culture of lack of transparency/consultation within this department, and it will take some time to change it – we’re very glad to have a convenor like Mark who is willing to tackle this problem.

Also the West End Community Council has had meetings with John Berry and have proposed an alternative solution to the modal filter (which DCC have decided not to go for) on Riverside Approach. They propose segregated cycle route on what was the northbound carriageway of Riverside Approach to connect Magdalen Green with the Riverside path, with the southbound carriageway being one-way for motor vehicles (and of course cyclists, if they wish!). This proposal will be consulted on locally via the IYN West End Facebook page.

Gritting of the NCN1/77

There are ongoing discussions about the winter maintenance of the NCN1/77, with council officers repeatedly saying that despite maintenance having been council policy for the past four years, there is not enough money in the budget to undertake this maintenance and that any funds found to do this will mean a saving will have to be made elsewhere. We believe that the funds can be found and that you only truly see the ambition of an administration in their budget. Donald Baddon, in particular, has been like a dog with a bone, and we are still hopeful that we can achieve a result on this! Anything you can do to help such as writing to your local councillors would be great.   

Bike Racks

This month we saw the bike racks which were designed by local school children as part of a collaboration between the DCF and UNESCO City of Design. They look fantastic and have received a lot of positive press – well done to all involved! Pics of a few of the racks below:

Child, butterfly and flower in Foggylea Park
Ice cream cone beside Spar on Perth Rd
Carrot (and Russell’s bike) outside Sainsbury’s, Perth Rd
A very cute pear at the top of Rosefield Pl
A rack of books outside Blackness Library, Perth Rd

E-bikes

The Embark by Ride-on E-bikes have now started beta testing, and if you’re one of the lucky ones that has been selected, you’ll know how good they are! Once testing is complete, they will be rolled out for use by the general public – very exciting!

You’re able to sign up for updates here: https://rideondundee.com/, and if you’re lucky they might select you for beta testing…

Planning

Planning objections

We objected to a few planning applications this month – a number of these (20/00729/FULM, 20/00641/FULL, 20/00739/FULL, 20/00708/FULL) are still available for comment, so if you can also lodge your personal objections that would be great. You can do this by going here and searching for the application using the reference code. Then go to the “comments” tab and submit your objection.

  • 20/00679/FULM – Erection of purpose-built student accommodation, landscaping, access and associated works. This application was for 180 student studio flats, and includes a pathetic 22 secure parking spaces. The developer got this requirement from the very out of date (and ironically named) “Streets Ahead” document, which only requires one cycle parking space for every 8 students/staff in student residences – this highlights how out of date DCC’s planning documents are. We objected saying there must be a full 180 secure, indoor cycle parking spaces – one for every flat.
  • 20/00729/FULM – Proposed mixed use development for purpose-built student accommodation and ground floor commercial space. This one is for 361 student rooms plus 5 commercial spaces on the ground floor. It includes 24 cycle parking spaces for visitors, and 34 “wheel bender” racks (where only the wheel can be secured, frequently causing damage/theft) for residents. We objected to say there should be a secure/indoor cycle parking for each residence, plus enough for staff and visitors to the commercial spaces. In addition, due to increased footfall and desire lines across busy roads there need to be safe crossings provided across the Marketgait to Abertay, across Hawkhill to Dundee Uni, and across Lochee Rd to Dudhope Park.
  • 20/00641/FULL – Removal of Extensions, Change of Use of existing building to form 3No Dwelling Houses, Erection of 32No Flatted Dwellings and Single Storey extension to Lodge House. This one removes garden to create car parking and does not have secure/indoor cycle storage. We objected saying that there should be reduced car parking/increased garden space, and secure/indoor cycle parking.  
  • 20/00739/FULL – Erection of 8 Flatted Dwellings. A block of flats in Candle Lane – seems OK and great that there’s no car parking, but the cycle store is not indoors as it ought to be. Also there’s no indication as to the number of cycle parking spaces. We’re objecting saying that the cycle storage should be indoors, and if this isn’t possible, that the cycle store needs to be a secure building with at least one space per flat.
  • 20/00708/FULL – Amendments to the previously approved house types at plots 1, 2, 28, 29, 30 and 31. This is an amendment to a previously approved application (18/00522/FULL) for housing, which somehow slipped through the cracks and does not provide any secure cycle parking at all. We are objecting to say that this is a good chance to amend that mistake and ensure each house is provided with secure cycle parking. It’s also very close to the Green Circular which means that the lucky folk staying there would have a traffic-free route all the way to town!

Deputation to planning committee

Russell Pepper spoke at a deputation to the planning committee to ask that the councillors refuse planning permission for a Tim Horton’s drive through at East Kingsway retail park (ref: 20/00344/FULL). Despite the site already having planning permission in principle for a drive through, the councillors voted against it! It was very close, with 11 against and 10 for, so there is still a lot of work to do in convincing other councillors, but they are beginning to see sense on the matter of car-centric out of town developments. The next issue is if the applicant appeals to the Scottish Government.

Meetings

DCF AGM

We successfully held our first online AGM this month and now have a new Chair in Russell Pepper. Thanks very much to David Martin for temporarily filling this role until now – much appreciated.

Ewan MacNaughton and DCF

We met with Ewan MacNaughton – the new head of Sustainable Transport and Roads – to welcome him into his new role and make him aware of our agenda and priorities. It was a largely positive discussion, with Ewan agreeing with us on many points. Sustainable transport, including cycling, is very high on DCC’s agenda and it is Ewan’s job to ensure that this is implemented. See the appendix below for full minutes of the meeting.

Consultations

DCC have just opened up a consultation on their “City Centre Strategic Investment Plan 2030-2050” (https://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/consultations-and-surveys/our-future-city-centre-strategic-investment-plan-2020-2050). Lots of good-sounding stuff in there but it does feel like there could be more concrete goals and a bit more ambition. The DCF will be submitting a response, and it would be great if you could submit personal ones as well – you can also get involved with the DCF response via Slack, if you like

We are also soon to submit a response to “Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030” (https://www.transport.gov.scot/consultation/scotlands-road-safety-framework-to-2030-draft-public-consultation/). Again, would be great if as many individuals responded to this as well – usefully Cycling UK have written a framework for responding to it – makes things easier! (https://www.cyclinguk.org/sites/default/files/document/2020/10/cycling_uk_guide_to_scotland_road_safety_framework.pdf)

Thanks!

That’s all for now – thanks for reading! The Slack channel is the best place to stay up-to date on all things DCF – email  Steve (steve@biggreybox.net) if you haven’t got access yet.

Until next month’s instalment,

Russell P.

Appendix – Minutes of DCF meeting with Ewan MacNaughton

Introductions/Experience

EM said that he was a civil engineer with previous experience in active travel infrastructure including shared use path construction and toucan crossings.

EM’s vision is to increase the number of cycle journeys in Dundee by removing barriers and creating a safe and pleasant environment to cycle in.

Ebikes help address the geographical issues such as hills and physically segregated cycle lanes are required along with secure storage. He thinks that his vision can be achieved by filling in the missing route links from the green routes. EM wants the missing links routes to be off road.

EM stated that cycling infrastructure was high on the agenda and the expansion of JB’s ‘accessible transport’ team is the first departmental expansion in the council for many years. The reorganised team will include central design, support consultants and have access to £10m for the next 5 years.  EM also said that no funding was going into road infrastructure it was all going into active travel.  DCF said so there will be no Liff bypass?

Spaces for People time scales (£2m second bid)

Green circular upgrades are starting this month. Not all upgrades will be funded by SfP some will be stand alone (bridge over the Dighty).

Community/Schools 6 routes have been identified and will be delivered by the end of the year.

The protected cycle lane(s) consist of a route from Ninewells to the City Centre. options for the route are currently being considered and design should be complete by the end of January and the route, with possible spurs will be delivered by March 2020. EM confirmed DCF will be consulted on the possible route options for the Ninewells-City Centre cycle route.

The community centres/cycle storage are being community led and are going through the consultation stage.

DCF challenged the single route as being inadequate and that the whole purpose of SfP was to enable folk to have an active travel alternative to public transport and a quick response was required and the £700k was there to provide a network of approximately 15 miles of protected cycle lanes. Dundee has gone into tier 3 and there is still no alternative to public transport for many. EM said ‘you are right’ but Sustrans have changed their vision to proper consultation with communities having to be carried and sited cycle lanes be ripped out ‘all over the place’. DCF disagreed and said that there were many examples of successful cycle lanes going in and the ones being removed were down to councils not being strong enough rather than any evidenced failure of the cycle lanes. EM is questioning the £15 miles for £700k estimate and said that it would be a lot less but could not say how many miles Dundee will put in.

DCF also challenged the removal of the modal filters on the esplanade. EM said motorists had been complaining – DCF said that was a sign you were doing something right!  EM said if Dundee goes to level 4 they will put the filters back in.

DCF and EM agreed that there needed to be a long term strategy for reducing the number of car journeys in the city and that would need to include interventions that disadvantaged motorists.

EM confirmed the Northern Links project is dead and will not be pursued.

EM said that no winter maintenance will be carried out on the NCN1/77 as there was no funding and resources could not be reprioritised to these paths as reorganisation was not possible only savings could be made. DCF said that we understood that resources were tight but the gritting of the NCN1/77 was down to priorities and that was set through policy and we would continue to ask for it! DCF also cited Glasgow as an example of a council who was investing in gritting paths to make cycling an everyday transport option – EM said he would watch that with interest.

EM was not aware of where they were with the Dundee Segregated Cycle Network business case but would Get JB to give DCF an update.

Modal Filter River Side – EM said that after consultation with local elected members and groups they decided there was no/little support for them.

DCF stated that there needs to be a big picture message coming from DCC about the need for active travel and the reduction of car journeys. We are in a public health and climate emergency and the implementation of transformational SfE interventions were being diluted and delayed due to fear of a backlash from an angry minority. The bikelife survey confirmed that over 72% support in Dundee for cycling infrastructure interventions and DCC needs to be more bold and ambitious if the interventions are to have a transformational impact.

EM agreed with DCF that DCC had a bad habit of always going for the minimum spec shared path infrastructure and that he was working hard to change the culture of the design teams so that the emphasis was to be the infrastructure quality for the user (segregated paths…) and not on ‘value engineering’. DCF and EM agreed that losing Sustrans funding on the Arbroath because of the low spec shared path specification was not good value for anyone.

EM stated that Harefield Road would be ‘sorted’ after DCF again raised the issue.

There was a discussion on the Ebike scheme and the lack of DCF consultation and EM agreed that DCF should be sent a map/list of the charging station locations.

EM said that he regards DCF as the primary organisation for ‘cycling’ consultation. DCF said that we are keen to work with EM to get more folk cycling in the city! EM suggested another meeting in 6 months – DCF agreed.