Occasional Thoughts About Cycling In and Around Dundee

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.

Before – quite tricky to get round
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.

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.

3 Comments

  1. Valentine Scarlett

    Good news about the barriers being replaced with bollards. Very positive action. Plus I have emailed John Whyman about the video in March simply because I bought my Trike on therapeutic grounds when I realised I was not going to recover as simply from my accident.

  2. John B

    Thanks for the update Russell. Read with interest. Shall we expect a monthly blog?

    • russell pepper

      Cheers John – yep, plan is for a monthly newsletter.

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