Occasional Thoughts About Cycling In and Around Dundee

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Dundee Cycling Forum Newsletter – January 2021

Hi all – and welcome to the January 2021 DCF newsletter! In it you’ll find all Dundee cycling news and DCF activities from the past month. I’ll keep everything as brief as possible, and ask you to take occasional action – usually taking part in a consultation, writing to a councillor, or objecting to a planning application.

Making our collective voice heard is really important, so please do take action if you are able!

So, let’s begin…

DCC Commonplace Portal

DCC have now rolled out their Commonplace portal – this is a map which you can add markers with improvements you’d like to see on active travel in Dundee. Right now, DCC are using it to gather data on their Spaces for People measures, but it will be used to inform future active travel improvements measures too. The portal is here – please give it a visit and get adding your comments!

DCC Commonplace map – add your comments!

Spaces for People

The Green Circular upgrades are still being implemented – again, have a look at our Facebook posts for more detail on the plans that we are aware of.

After consultation – which revealed 40% of people for/60% against – the council decided against implementing the proposed one-way for cars plus bidirectional cycle route on Riverside Approach. This would have safely linked Magdalen Green and the Seabraes cycle route to the Riverside route, as well as cutting down on through traffic and speeds in the West End Lanes area. This is a real shame, as the trial would have let people see the idea in action and given them the chance to comment based on experience rather than opinion. There’s clearly still some way to go with DCC being bold enough to implement change on the streets, although it’s encouraging they engaged with the community council and consulted based on their ideas.

Also in the West End, the initial stages of the district centre physical distancing measures are still underway. Again, if you visit/live/work in the area, please take part here.

We haven’t had an update yet, but the Ninewells-City Centre segregated link ought to be nearing completion for public comment – we will share details as soon as we have them!

Likewise, we ought to be hearing soon about the ongoing work on connecting schools and communities, and will share updates asap.

Broughty Ferry – Monifieth route improvements

Improvements to the Broughty Ferry-Monifieth cycling/walking route were voted through unanimously by councillors at the most recent City Development meeting, so very good news!

Unfortunately, despite the DCF writing to all councillors expressing the need for all routes to be segregated, it seems we’re stuck with some shared sections. However, there will be segregated cycling for almost a mile, so that is something to celebrate!

Safer School Streets

DCC recently announced that they will be rolling out a “Safer School Streets” initiative to prohibit driving at drop-off/pick-up times around schools in Dundee. This will start with an initial six schools, and eventually encompass all qualifying schools by 2025. As part of this, a “School Travel Officer” will be funded by Sustrans to work with the council on increasing sustainable travel to/from schools. This is great to see, especially that a specific role is being funded by Sustrans, and will hopefully pave the way for council capacity to be expanded in this way.

Chicanes/barriers

We’ve been having positive discussions with DCC officers regarding (literal) barriers on cycling routes which can leave routes inaccessible to people with trikes, trailers or adapted cycles. After reporting them to DCC, two barriers on Panmure St in Brought Ferry were swiftly removed and replaced with bollards (see pics below).

There’s good scope to remove several more barriers to make cycling easier and more accessible to all. If there are any you know of, please get involved and let us know in the Slack group, get in touch with your local councillors, or add it to DCC’s new Commonplace portal.

May be an image of tree and body of water
Before – quite tricky to get round
May be an image of brick wall and road
After – much better! With offset bollard to allow access for trikes, trailers etc.

Gritting on Waterfront path

We’ve seen quite a cold snap this month, with the Waterfront path (and many other routes across Dundee) being frozen for literally weeks without any kind of winter maintenance. This clearly places active travel right at the bottom of the pile and treats people who do not drive as second-rate citizens – not what DCC should be doing at all. After a fair bit of pressure from all angles, it seems Tayside Contracts (who are contracted by DCC to do most of the gritting in Dundee) are performing a detailed cost analysis to see if they are able to include the route in the allocated budget for this financial year. It might be a bit late for anything to happen this year, but surely next winter we will see this key route receive the winter maintenance it deserves.

May be an image of road
Treacherous sheet ice on the docks path in early January

Diversity of cycling film

DCC and Green Health Partnership are commissioning a video to celebrate the diversity of cycling in Dundee, showcasing projects that are getting people into the saddle as part of physiotherapy, for mental and physical health and for a range of functional and leisure riding. As well as inviting participants to take part, they’re looking for volunteers from the Cycling Forum to star in the production, hopefully being filmed in March. Email john.whyman@dundeecity.gov.uk to help out.

Planning

There’s just a couple of application we objected to this month – if you’d like to help, see below for our objections which you can copy, paste and email to planning.info@dundeecity.gov.uk along with the reference code and your personal details to register your objection.

21/00011/FULL – a development of 40 houses on the site of Rosebank Primary School.

There is a lack of cycle storage in this development – the 2, 3 and 4 bed houses are only provided a cycle store with space for one cycle each. Despite this being in line with council policy documents, it is clearly insufficient and will do little to encourage cycling, especially for families. Instead, cycle storage should be sufficient for the number of expected occupants of the houses – 3 spaces for the 2 bed, and 4 spaces for the 3 and 4 bed houses.

Each house is provided 2 (and some 3) car parking spaces, despite the minimum required being one space. This unnecessarily encourages and enables car ownership in an area very well served by public transport and less than a 10 min walk from the city centre – car parking spaces should therefore be reduced to the minimum of one per house.

Finally, there is very good scope to provide a cycle/pedestrian link from the northern end of the north-south road in the development to Rosebank Rd – this should be provided as the route is already a public right of way and its provision would make walking and cycling more convenient for residents of the development.

20/00809/ADV – digital billboard at Lochee High Street

There is an existing billboard; however this application seeks to replace this and make it far more noticeable by creating a digital, backlit billboard with a rotation of static adverts, as well as changing the location and angle of the billboard so that it directly faces drivers. This will add unnecessary and dangerous distraction to drivers at this location.

Studies into the effects of driver behaviour near digital billboards clearly show that they are more likely to drift across lanes due to this distraction. At this location there is a cycle lane between vehicle lanes; therefore, the likelihood of a serious accident would increase were this application approved.

This location on Lochee High Street is frequently in the news for the crashes that occur there – the road needs to have safety improved, not diminished through the addition of unnecessary and irresponsible distractions to drivers.

We therefore believe that this application should be denied on the grounds of road safety.

Proposed location of billboard – the last place you’d want drivers to be distracted.
(and yes thanks I’m a real whizz at photoshop)

Meetings

We had our quarterly meeting on Monday 25th Jan – it was very well attended and we were delighted to have guest speakers Clare Cooper from the Cateran Eco Museum, and Markus Stitz . They told us about their green tourism and cultural interpretation project, which started in 2019 and is developing more walking and cycling routes extending into the Strathmore Valley area. The project includes support for bikepacking and ebikes, trails and road bikes in a wide area of Perthshire and Angus – more info here.

We also heard updates on the Dundee Cycling Hub at the waterfront which is due to open by the end of June 2021. It’ll be run by the same team behind the Angus Cycle Hub, who have been spending a lot of time with the architects to customise the building and make sure sure it’ll be the heart of cycling in Dundee – can’t wait for it to open!

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,

Russell P.

Dundee Cycling Forum Newsletter – December 2020

Hi all – and welcome to the December 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 – usually taking part in a consultation, writing to a councillor, or objecting to a planning application. Supporting cycling in Dundee in this way by making your voice heard is really important so please do if you are able! So, let’s begin…

Spaces for People

The Green Circular upgrades are now being implemented which is great to see! Have a look at our Facebook posts for more detail on the plans that we are aware of – there are more to come.

The proposed alternative solution to the modal filter at Riverside Approach is now being consulted on. The idea is for a 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. If you use the area at all, please take part in the consultation here – it only takes a minute! https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/MagdalenGreen/

Also in the West End, the initial stages of the district centre physical distancing measures have now begun. UNESCO and Service Design Academy – the same team behind the transformation of Union St – are running these so hopefully we’ll see something good! Again, if you visit/live/work in the area, please take part here: https://padlet.com/info5080/ikzjguw3yma02rav

With Dundee (and all of mainland Scotland) in tier 4 of restrictions, DCC has reinstated the modal filter at the Esplanade, which is great to see! Now more people will be able to safely exercise along that route, and people driving can still access the whole Esplanade apart from the area directly in front of the Barnhill Rock Gardens. If you live in the area, voicing support of these measures to your local councillors would be very useful – too often, vocal minorities shout the loudest and get their way, while people who are supportive say nothing.

We have also heard that the Ninewells-City Centre segregated link is nearing completion for public comment – looks like it will be along Perth Rd/Hawkhill, but all tbc! This will be very exciting to see, and Dundee’s first proper piece of segregated cycle infrastructure. Of course the devil will be in the detail, so let’s hope that we’ll be allowed meaningful input.

Bike Racks

The DCF and UNESCO had a nice spot publicising the bike racks on the STV evening news on 21st December which was a nice bit of positivity! I was asked to cycle on the pavement for the opening shot though…

E-bikes

The Embark by Ride-on E-bikes have now been rolled out for use by the general public! Prices are very reasonable and you can sign up here: https://rideondundee.com/.

Arbroath Rd

Almost overnight it seems, a shared path was being built along the South side of Arbroath Rd just west of Fairfield Rd! This despite a perfectly good pavement running alongside, and a very wide road which could have had space taken from it. Instead they decided to rip up green space and put down tarmac. Not even the Convenor of City Development was aware of this, and it seems DCC officers just cracked on and built this without really telling/consulting with anyone. On further investigation, it seems this was funded using CWSS (Cycling Walking and Safer Streets) money from Scogov; Sustrans did offer to fund the route if roadspace were taken, but DCC refused, and instead found funding from CWSS so that the route would not inconvenience motorists!

Mark Flynn has now requested that officers detail their plans for any CWSS money in their report before it goes to committee, so we will know what they plan to do. This little tale is another example of lack of transparency within DCC and officers doing as they please – good to see this being challenged.

The plan is that the route goes as far west as Greendykes, and also links to the NCN1 via the College and Gardyne Rd, Belsize Rd and Margaret Cres. There will also be toucan crossings over Arbroath Rd at Gotterstone Drive and over Dundee Rd at Margaret Cres. to complete this link.

Nice they’re thinking about this stuff, but it’s still not doing what they ought to be doing – taking roadspace when available and making cycling an everyday transport choice. Now that we know about the route, we can push for it to be far better!

Broughty Ferry – Monifieth link

It was confirmed last week that the Broughty-ferry-Monifieth link was awarded full funding – this will be a fantastic asset to the city! More info here, and on the project website here.

However, there is part of it – between Bridge Street and the Dighty Burn – that is inexplicably due to be a shared path. This is despite loads of space, the consultation showing people want segregation between walking and cycling, and evidence-based best practice. We have been told that engineers actually want to make it shared to slow cyclists down – not how you go about making cycling a natural and valid transport choice!


We will be writing, again, to represented members and Sustrans about this. If you can do the same and write to your councillors – especially if you live in The Ferry – it would be much appreciated.

Tay Road Bridge

Donald Baddon gave a presentation to the Tay Road Bride Joint Board (TRBJB) on asking them to apply for funding for a feasibility study into improving active travel along on the bridge.

After the meeting, it was decided that the TRBJB will form an active travel sub-committee who will meet every 6 months. The bridge manager has agreed to put this on the agenda for the next TRBJB meeting in March 2021. DCF, NFC, Sustrans and other active travel groups will be invited to meet with the sub committee to discuss how active travel infrastructure can be improved on the bridge.

Sustrans would still support – and 100% fund – an application from the TRBJB for a feasibility/options appraisal to improve active travel provision along the bridge. Hopefully we can help encourage the sub-committee to apply for this!

Planning

Planning objections

Only a couple of planning issues this month – one of these (20/00796/APCONL) is still available for comment, so if you can also lodge your personal objections that would be great. You can do this by going here (http://idoxwam.dundeecity.gov.uk/idoxpa-web/) and searching for the application using the reference code. Then go to the “comments” tab and submit your objection.

20/00796/APCONL and 20/00794/ADV both relate to the proposed Tim Horton’s drive through at Craigie Retail Park. Despite the drive through being refused at planning committee in November, Tim Horton’s have resubmitted planning permission to DCC and have appealed the committee decision!  We have, again, submitted objections due to the development being car-centric and eroding the vitality of local high streets, and will be writing to the Reporter (who handles appeals). 20/00796/APCONL is still open for comment, so if you can, please object.

Deputation to planning committee

DCF spoke at a deputation to the planning committee to ask that the councillors only grant planning permission to a housing development if sufficient cycle parking was provided. This was under application refs 20/00247/FULL (site 1 and 2) 20/00248/FULL (site 3 and 4) 20/00249/FULL (site 5 and 6) and 20/00250/FULL (site 7).

It was agreed that one space per flat would be provided, and that DCC officers would need to see full details of cycle storage sheds provided for houses, so a win!

Sadly though, 20/00250/FULL (a block of 12 flats) was refused planning permission because it didn’t provide enough car parking/would impact negatively on the surrounding traffic network.  There was space for one car per flat, the site is on a well-served bus route, and is close to the Green Circular. Ridiculous that the application would be refused on these grounds, and shows that the Local Development Plan really needs an update to make it less car-centric.

Meetings

Mark Flynn (Convenor of City Development) and DCF

We had an end-of-year catch up with Mark on all things cycling related – see the appendix for full minutes of the meeting. Overall very positive and Mark still as keen as ever to work with us on making Dundee a cycling city.

Consultations

DCC’s “City Centre Strategic Investment Plan 2030-2050” is still open for consultation (https://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/consultations-and-surveys/our-future-city-centre-strategic-investment-plan-2020-2050). The DCF is yet to submit a response, and would be great if you could submit personal ones as well – you can also get involved with the DCF response via Slack.

As mentioned above, the DCC consultation on an alternative solution to the modal filter at Riverside Approach is now being consulted on here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/MagdalenGreen/, and the initial stages of the district centre physical distancing measures are being consulted on here: https://padlet.com/info5080/ikzjguw3yma02rav

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. You’ll need to be a member of DCF to do this – the membership application form is at: https://www.dundeecycling.co.uk/join_dcf.php

If you are already a member and would like access, email  Steve (steve@biggreybox.net).

Until next month,

Russell P.

Appendix – Meeting with Mark Flynn

1 – Spaces for People update – School Streets, Ninewells-City Centre link, connecting communities and Schools, District Centres, Green Circular upgrades

Communities and Schools/School Streets:  The SfP interventions are progressing well and are at the final stages of the process

Ninewells-City Centre link: The route is due to be published for comment

Green Circular upgrades: Progressing well 

District Centres: Annie Marrs and team are engaging at community level

With Dundee going into level 4 Mark is requesting that the modal filter goes back on at the Esplanade and will also be discussing the riverside one with Ewan McNaughton (currently under consultation).

DCF also requested that a protected cycle link should be put in place between Stobswell and the City centre and Mark said that could be looked at as the Stobswell forum had also been asking for that.

Mark was also looking for a regulation order to prevent HGV traffic coming into the city using the Forfar Road.

2 – Commonplace engagement/consultation tools

Mark confirmed that the Commonplace tool would be used by officers from January 2021.

3 – CWSS funding which has been used for Arbroath Rd.

Mark confirmed it was CWSS funding used on the Arbroath Rd but without knowledge of councillors or anyone else. This will not be happening again. The details of what is happening have yet to be shared with the Development convenor. Mark to ask what the carbon footprint/payback of the works are.

4 – Problem with communication/transparency in transport team

Mark confirmed he is meeting with the Executive Director – City Development to discuss the need for some the operational team to start using up to date communication/engagement practices.

5 – ScotGov goal of 20% fewer car km by 2030 – how will DCC help achieve this?

Mark stated that DCC had wasted months carrying out pre-planning work which stopped SfP interventions being rolled out earlier (Which Glasgow and Edinburgh were able to do). DCF suggested that DCC should have a bank of shovel ready active travel projects ready to go, they could be reviewed periodically to ensure they were still fit for purpose. Mark agreed this was the way to go.

6 – Gritting of NCN1/77

Mark confirmed he had written to Sustrans/Transport Scotland looking for revenue funding for ongoing active travel infrastructure maintenance.

Mark thought that Dundee could go for a similar trial such as the Glasgow gritting one.

DCF suggested that John Lauder, Deputy CEO Sustrans and Executive Director for Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was the contact that the DCC Development Convenor needed to be in contact with.

AOB

Dundee – Monifieth path funding approved

DCF suggested that proper air pollution motoring should be carried out but welcomed the realisation from DCC officers that it was the volume of traffic that was causing the air pollution in Dundee. (Mark thought Lochee Rd would have lower air pollution levels recorded this year due to the reduced traffic during lock down).

There are scrappage grants for polluting vehicles of residents within 20km of a LEZ

Mark Flynn stated that TACTRAN were not funding/investigating any Park & Choose schemes in 2021 and DCF could raise this with  Mark Speed Partnership Director for Tactran.

Mark stated that the Eden Project work was progressing and it could be transformational for the city – very exciting!

Dundee Cycling Forum Newsletter – November 2020

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.

Dundee Cycling Forum Newsletter – October 2020

Hi all – this is the first instalment of newsletters to let you know everything the DCF has been up to in the past month. The idea will be to keep everything as brief as possible, asking 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 dive in!

Spaces for People

We met with Mark Flynn to discuss progress of the “Spaces for People” measures. The discussion was largely positive discussion, with Mark assuring us that everything is still going ahead:

  • The improvements to the Green Circular (£400k) will be happening first, likely (we believe) as these are the easiest to implement and do not involve inconveniencing motorists. However, a positive step. We were concerned that John Whyman was not being fully involved in this – despite being the person at DCC who knows the most about the Green Circular. Mark said he would look into this.
  • The District Centre physical distancing measures (£500k) are going well and are at the consultation stage led by Annie Marrs at UNESCO City of Design (same team as led on the Union St pedestrianisation), so we have high hopes!
  • Connecting Schools and Communities (£400k) is also at the design/planning stage. Mark also said he was bringing in a ‘safer streets’ policy, starting with Fintry Primary School.
  • The protected cycle lane interventions (£700k) are still in the design/planning stage as Mark has asked for infrastructure of a high enough quality that can made permanent if successful. We showed concern that only small route sections will be rolled out to start – incomplete routes/network will not work! We will see plans in the coming weeks and will be able to comment at that time.

We showed concern that the 20mph zones implemented in the first phase have no traffic calming elements installed (other than “20” roundels”) – because of this, anecdotally there are plenty of drivers going above 20mph. Tactran are currently monitoring the zones and will feed back to DCC – we will be campaigning for traffic calming elements if indeed there is too much speeding in these areas.

The pedestrianisation of Union St has been voted a success, with 84% of traders saying it has been positive for the street and 62% saying it has benefitted their business. There is now a group of businesses and residents that have formed who have successfully applied for DCC’s Festive Fund – great to see such ownership of the project! It’s very likely that this will become permanent – hopefully more streets to follow.. More info here.

Despite this positivity, we have unfortunately seen the removal of the modal filter at the Esplanade, with Mark Flynn being quoted as saying “… as the temperature drops and the hours of daylight reduce it is less and less likely that family groups and casual cyclists will be coaxed onto their bikes, so the best balance will be achieved by bringing that part of the scheme to an end in the last week of October”. This was awful messaging from DCC and a huge mistake – they should have kept it so that people could continue to be coaxed onto their bikes. As we know from other countries, the weather and the daylight is not the issue in getting folk on bikes – the roads are.

We have also seen the idea of a modal filter on Riverside Approach being dropped after a terrible engagement exercise via a single Facebook post. This kind of engagement is not what DCC should be doing – the continued lack of communication/engagement strategy, overarching plan and detailed timescales remain a concern. DCF have been asking for this for many months now but we’re seeing nothing. We suggested that some of the “Spaces for People” funding be used for this but apparently this is not possible – we question this, as certainly there was consultation and engagement on the Union St. work. John Berry (sustainable transport team leader at DCC) has also confirmed that the “Commonplace” tool will be used to consult on the district centre physical distancing measures and cycle lanes – this ought to be a positive step.

We need to keep up the pressure! Anything you can do, such as emailing your councillors, would be very much appreciated.  This includes emailing them to say how much you are in support of measures (even just proposed measures) – all too often a noisy minority gets their way.

Tay Road Bridge

We have written to Cycling UK to ask that they support our campaign for the Tay Road Bridge Board to submit an application to Sustrans to conduct a feasibility study into improving active travel provision on the bridge. They have responded that they indeed would support such an application, and we’re now working on getting the TRBB to submit the application – a bit of an uphill struggle but there are some members of the board who are keen to see this happen. Mark Flynn also said that he would support such an application.

Planning

We objected to a couple of planning applications this month – the second one is 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.

  • 20/00591/FULL – Erection of 18 flatted dwellings including associated access, parking and landscaping. This application does not include secure, indoor cycle storage, which is a requirement of a new development like this. They only included 4 Sheffield stands for 18 flats! A major barrier to cycling in Dundee is cycle storage (22% of people surveyed in Bike Life cite this as a reason for not cycling/cycling less often), and all new housing must include storage to combat this. Additionally, the development has 18 car parking spaces for 18 flats, despite 42% of households in Dundee having no access to a car/van, and this site being opposite a very well-served bus stop. It’s not far from the Green Circular either. This excess of parking will simply encourage car ownership at the detriment of green space (the development has almost zero garden space due to the parking) – we suggested that 40% of car parking spaces be removed to address this and create more green space on the site. There also appears to be zero consideration for EV charging.
  • 20/00598/FULL – Conversion of existing building to form 10 residential apartments. This is a welcome conversion of a derelict listed building in town, but cycle parking isn’t included at all. As including this may reduce the (already tightly-constrained) flat size, we suggested that the developer include secure on-street cycle parking with a cycle hangar or similar – especially as the Local Development Plan (the main document we work off when commenting on planning applications) suggests that conversions may require creative solutions.

Also, some bad news from planning – yet another car-centric development was allowed to go through at committee meeting. This time, it’s a retail park at West Gourdie Industrial Estate. Despite council officers recommending refusal based on the development being in direct contravention to the “Town Centres First” principal, it was voted through due to job creation. This is short-termism; jobs will be lost at shops in district centres as they close due to competition from car-centric retail parks, whilst people will be locked into further car-dependency and the city becomes less attractive for investment. The council needs to be stronger on this, forcing developers to create far higher-quality developments which are well-connected and provide higher-quality jobs. If you can, please write to your local councillors to express your concern at this being voted through.

The DCF will also be speaking at deputation to the planning committee on the 9th Nov to object to the proposed drive-through (20/00344/FULL) at Mid-Craigie industrial park. It may be tricky to object to this as it’s clear that the majority of the councillors believe in jobs above all else, but hopefully we’ll be able to convince them.

Meetings/events

Russell Pepper spoke on behalf of the DCF at an online Greenpeace event, “A Green Recovery: The Future of Transport in Dundee”. He talked mainly about the “Spaces for People” interventions and why DCC should be confident in implementing them – we know from Bike Life that 72% of people support protected cycle lanes, even when space for cars will be taken! The event was well attended with councillors from Dundee and Angus present – the more we can get the word out about the benefits of active travel, and the more our local decision-makers hear (and understand) it, the better.

Donald Baddon also attended the Angus Cycle Hub meeting to discuss the new active travel hub at the waterfront. The Angus Cycle Hub will be running the (soon-to-be-branded) hub, which will be opening summer 2021 – exciting stuff!

Consultations

Peter Clinch submitted the DCF response to the proposed changes to the Highway Code – thanks to all who gave your input. The consultation is now closed but you can view the proposed changes here.

Other (non-DCF) campaigns

You may have seen David Brennan’s campaign earlier this month. He was driven at dangerously and assaulted by a driver, only to be warned by the police for swearing. The driver received only a warning (despite the incident and assault being recorded) which David only found out after chasing up numerous times.  This kind of treatment – by both the driver and police – is completely unacceptable, and he is now working in conjunction with Cycling UK to ask for police reform. They’re asking for:

  1. A commitment from Police Scotland to prioritise road traffic enforcement where vulnerable road users are at greatest risk.
  2. Improved guidance to ensure that all force areas across Scotland deal with reports from vulnerable road users in a consistent and appropriate way.
  3. A single easy to use camera footage submission system which all road users can have confidence in.

More information is available here.

The DCF has written to support this campaign – if you would like to do the same, please write to your local MSP.

Coming up…

We have our AGM on 11th November at 7pm – we’re looking for nominations for chair and Treasurer. Check your emails or Slack channel for more info about this.

We also have a meeting coming up soon with Ewan MacNaughton – the new head of roads and sustainable transport at DCC. Get in touch if you’d like to attend or have anything you’d like raised.

The bike racks that were designed by kids in the West End are due to be installed on Perth Rd and Blackness Rd within the next few weeks.

You’ll have probably seen numerous blue charging stations popping up all over Dundee recently – these are for the soon-to-be launched e-bike sharing scheme by Ride-on. They’re launching next month and are planning an even bigger launch with more stations in March. If they can link these up with the temporary bike infrastructure from Spaces for People, it could be transformative for Dundee. More info here.

Thanks!


That’s all for now folks – 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.