Dundee City Council proposes to make an Order under Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 for the purpose of facilitating road safety improvement works. The Order is expected to be in force for 6 days from 2nd November 2020. Its maximum duration in terms of the Act is eighteen months.
The effect of the Order is to prohibit temporarily all westbound vehicular traffic in Pentland Avenue from City Road to Scott Street.
An alternative route will be available via City Road and Scott Street.
Queries should be addressed to the Network Management Team, City Development Department, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee, DD1 1LS or call 433082.
The council has further advised me :
“The road safety improvement scheme includes a new central triangular traffic island with new drop kerb provision and new road markings including hatching.
The island will be installed in Pentland Avenue where the junction meets City Road.
This measure will improve pedestrian and road safety.”
Residents will recall that the consultation on residents’ parking was abruptly suspended in March shortly after the two consultation meetings, due to the COVID-19 health emergency.
I have been in touch with the City Council about its position regarding getting the consultation concluded and a residents’ parking scheme introduced.
The Head of Sustainable Transport and Roads has now updated me as follows :
“As you note, there are options to either progress the outstanding consultation online or postpone until physically distancing requirements are relaxed. Engagement with non-digital persons is a concern with the former of these two options.
Associated with this consideration is the skewing of respondents’ comments if progressed during the current restrictions on the basis of views being influenced by current experiences or circumstances faced which may not be apparent post Covid-19.
For the benefit of engagement, and the timing being during an environment reflective of the future state, I propose to postpone the consultation exercise until after the pandemic which will hopefully be in the first half of 2021.”
This is a disappointing timescale but not really very surprising as driving and parking currently is far from normal and services are extremely challenging due to the health emergency.
However, I will continue to press for progress as soon as parking behaviour returns to more normal times as hopefully the COVID-19 health emergency passes.
Meantime, I have continually said that parking charges in the seven West End car parks with charges should have remained suspended given the Scottish Government guidance to work from home where possible and I reiterated this to the Head of Sustainable Transport and Roads during the past week.
Residents will be aware that the so-called “Blether Bus” that replaced the 204 bus service the council axed last year and covers a number of streets in the West End that would otherwise have no bus service – streets like Invergowrie Drive, Newhall Gardens and Glamis Drive – was suspended at the start of the COVID-19 health emergency.
The service assists older residents who find it difficult to walk the distances – often uphill – to the main service buses.
I recently noticed that Aberdeenshire Council has, with proper safety arrangements including social distancing, announced a restart to its Dial a Bus service that has similar aims. To quote that council :
“We preparing to re-introduce a number of #A2B #dial-a-bus services operated by our fleet of minibuses in a controlled and phased manner.”
I raised this with the City Council and have been advised :
“The Dial A Bus model of operation requires users to pre-book their journeys and this allows the operators to manage the number of passengers using the service at any one time – and the timings of those journeys. From speaking with colleagues from other local authorities I think most minibus services are limited to two passengers on the vehicle at any one time. The Blether Bus model is much closer to a bus service and there is no pre-booking option so we cannot manage journeys in this way.
We will continue to liaise with colleagues at Fleet about vehicle and minibus availability and appropriate protocols that need to be in place before we can safely restart the Blether Bus services.”
I have responded :
“ … surely some out the box thinking is required so what about temporarily converting the Blether Bus to something around the Dial a Bus model? I have constituents in streets like Newhall Gardens who simply cannot manage the hill up to Perth Road.”
I was pleased to received an update last week that Police Scotland had given assurances that it is assisting in the city council’s school road safety campaign by deploying officers to areas surrounding schools with the new school term starting this week.
I have had numerous concerns from residents about safety outside our local schools and, in particular, the need for all drivers to adhere to the 20mph speed limit at schools to assist pupil safety.
In the run up to the October school holidays I had, in particular, concerns raised about the speed of a minority of vehicles around the West End campus of St Joseph’s Primary School, Victoria Park Primary School and Balgay Hill Nursery School, and I asked the city council to reinforce the message about safe, slow driving near schools and was given assurances that this would be done.
The input of Police Scotland on this important safety issue is very welcome.
A number of residents have highlighted that, although real time bus information is working at bus shelters, paper timetables have been out of date since the bus companies altered services during the health emergency.
As one resident pointed out in relation to the bus stop in Perth Road near Step Row :
“Perth Road is a main local community shopping area where people are being encouraged to think/act sustainably, yet the Step Row Stop (with no real-time display) has the main Stagecoach Tayway high profile route timetable still showing the old 10 minute weekday frequency, with appropriate comments from a disgruntled punter.
Add to that 2018 route maps not updated and … it is a far cry from “Bringing Confidence to Public Transport”. Attention grabbing EV and electric bike hire initiatives are all well and good, but the simple public transport basics should not be forgotten, particularly since the operators’ own traditional printed timetables, for now, at least, seem to be hard to find.”
I appreciate that, given the changing bus timetables during the health emergency replacing every paper timetable at bus stops is difficult in terms of resourcing but I have sought and obtained assurances from the that erroneous timetables will be removed.
Hopefully once there is more of a return to normal services and stability in timetables, new and correct timetables can be placed at every bus stop and we will also hopefully see the return of suspended bus services like Service 4 and the Blether Bus in the West End.
Just a reminder that this weekend sees Frances and John Dent in Glamis Drive open their lovely garden to residents as part of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, with new arrangements to comply with coronavirus routemap rules.
Not only is a visit to the garden a pleasure – it also helps raise funds for charity.
You can get full details of when the garden is open today and tomorrow here.
THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 – SECTION 14(1)
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of BT cable repair works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Blackness Road (from its junction with Bellfield Street to approx. 25 metres east), Dundee.
This notice comes into effect on Monday 19 October for 3 working days.
Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
Alternative routes for vehicles are available Bellfield Street / Hawkhill / Horsewater Wynd / Guthrie Street / Urquhart Street / Blackness Road.
As reported recently in the Courier (see below), I have called for the City Council to extend its free parking period in Dundee’s West End car parks given that the coronavirus health emergency situation continues.
The council took the sensible decision during the lockdown in the spring to make all its car parks free to use to assist key workers in the city centre and also people working from home in other car parks that charge across the city including in the West End.
However, it now intends to bring back car parking charges into seven West End car parks next Monday – 19th October – at a time when many local workers are still working from home and may well continue to be doing for weeks to come.
The point about the West End car parks is that they all cover residential areas and so the council is charging people to park near their own homes when they are being encouraged by Scottish Government to work from home. That is a totally ridiculous situation and contrary to the Scottish Government message to work from home where possible during the health emergency.
I therefore wrote to the Director of City Development at Dundee City Council asking for an extension to take place and received the following reply :
“As you are aware, the original aim of the introduction of charges was, as well as generating income, to prevent abuse of the car-parks by commuters and to promote turnover of spaces to support local shops.
As charges in the rest of the city have been reintroduced, I do not think we could justify further suspension of charges in the West End. We did extend the moratorium on charging until the University started back.
I have reviewed and whilst I understand the issues that you raise, we have a committee remit to introduce charges, and now require to discharge that remit.”
I think at a time when the Scottish Government is trying to encourage people to work from home where it is possible, the City Council charging people for the privilege of parking near their homes in the West End is not responsible and sending the wrong message.
These are car parks in residential areas and I think that would be a common sense and helpful thing to continue the parking charges moratorium at this time.
Many thanks to the residents who recently highlighted concerns that a TV aerial on a tenement on Blackness Road was hanging precariously. Given the potentially disastrous consequences if it fell onto the busy road and pavement below, I immediately contacted the City Council about this.
A Building Standards officer very promptly updated me as follows :
“I attended the property … (and) it was noted when on site that the aerial attached to the tenement building appeared loose and was hanging over the footway. I contacted the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to allow access to the aerial and review the condition. On closer inspection the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the aerial was firmly attached to building with wires at the base. The fire brigade rotated the aerial back over the building.”
I am grateful to both the City Council officers and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for its very prompt response in resolving this.
Following last week’s debate at Dundee City Council’s Community Safety and Public Protection Committee on air quality in the city, as reported in the local media, I have called on Dundee City Council to ensure it acts on promises made to improve air quality in Lochee Road by tackling traffic congestion and reducing emissions in the street.
The report before committee included this commitment :
“Investigations into potential interventions to reduce both emissions and traffic congestion on the Lochee Road corridor will continue to be explored by the Head of Sustainable Transportation and Roads during the LEZ development process. These investigations will take a route corridor approach and take cognisance of potential traffic displacement onto other, less appropriate roads in residential areas. The route corridor review will also require to consider future bus priority, active travel and traffic congestion.”
As residents know, I have long campaigned on air quality issues, particularly in relation to Lochee Road where, as recently as January 2020, I again highlighted deep concern that, yet again, leading air quality campaigners Friends of the Earth had highlighted air quality concerns in Lochee Road in its Scotland’s most polluted streets survey with Seagate in the city also highlighted in the January national air quality survey.
Whilst I welcomed the commitment to tackle the traffic congestion in Lochee Road, I pointed out at the council meeting that I have been pressing for this for many years, on behalf of my constituents who live in Lochee Road. There are a number of specific and affordable actions I made clear I want to see the council do immediately.
Firstly, tackle the junction with Cleghorn Street where, following minor accidents, the operation of the junction was to be reviewed for road safety reasons. This should tackle the tailbacks of traffic trying to turn into Lochee Road.
Secondly, the operation of the traffic lights at Polepark Road and Dudhope Terrace junctions need to be reviewed. If they were more efficient, we would see fewer tailbacks of cars and therefore a decrease of emissions into the air in the Lochee Road area. Following the committee meeting, I had a lengthy and useful discussion with a senior roads officer at the City Council about this and possible modelling to see what could be achieved by possible lights sequencing alterations.
I have highlighted that, earlier this year, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air published research showing many likely long-term health benefits from the pollution reductions in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, including fewer children developing asthma, fewer preterm births and fewer deaths long-term from better air.
It is therefore vital there is a proactive approach to tackling the air quality issue. I have raised this on numerous occasions with the council in the past and we need to see a situation where no Dundee streets have unacceptable air quality. A significant number of constituents live in the tenement flats on the south side of Lochee Road near to the junction where nitrogen dioxide are unacceptably high. It is therefore important that the council has a clear strategy for improving air quality here.
The proposed city centre low emission zone will help the surrounding area in particular in relation to buses that go up and down Lochee Road that have to access the city centre – they will have to be newer and cleaner. However, detailed work tackling the specific issues at particular streets with air quality issues, like Lochee Road, is vital.
Actions speak louder than words and we do need to see momentum to achieve a proper and lasting solution. Residents deserve to breathe clean air in every street in Dundee.
West End Community Council is calling for nominations for new Community Councillors as there are spaces to fill. West End Community Council has space for up to 10 more Community Councillors.
In order to fill these spaces, there will be a recruitment period known formally as an ‘election’ where we call for nominations to join the Community Council.
Community Councils play an important role in the local West End community and are an important link between the community and public bodies.
It is important to note that West End Community Council’s boundary does not cover the whole of the West End Ward as the Community Spirit Action Group covers areas like Pentland, Tullideph, Ancrim and areas around Forest Park Road, Cleghorn Street and Brook Street – the areas to the north of the ward.
The community council area is therefore most of the south of the ward – roughly everything south of Blackness Road east of Balgay Road, everything in the ward west of Balgay Road, plus the Logie area.
There are also conditions for eligibility in terms of age and being on the electoral register – all this information can be accessed online or in Blackness Library.
As this is a statutory group, there is a process and publicity format for nominations which started from this Monday (5th October) and forms must be completed and returned by 30th October.
More information is on the poster on how to obtain the information required online or via Blackness Library.
The community council is a great way to become involved with our local community so do please consider getting involved if you live in the community council area.
As the saying goes, all things come to those who wait, and this particular update is a great example of that!
Absolutely ages ago, at the request of residents, I asked the City Council’s Private Sector Services Unit to contact the agents of the tenement block at 142 Perth Road that had been graffitied (at some considerable height).
At the time, the problem for owners was access to the large area of graffiti but I am pleased to advise that, while the scaffold was up on the neighbouring block, one of the managing agents has arranged removal of the graffiti as the photos below highlight – my thanks to them :
Further update – for Sunday 4th October from Councillor Fraser Macpherson (West End) and Councillor Craig Duncan (Broughty Ferry)
FLU VACCINE ADVICE
NHS Tayside is encouraging members of the public in at-risk groups, as well as health and social care staff, to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination.
The seasonal flu vaccination programme has now launched and NHS Tayside will be offering those who are most at risk the opportunity to protect themselves from flu.
• People aged 65 and over, adults with a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney diseases, unpaid carers, and those living with someone who was previously shielding should contact their GP to book an appointment. This year’s flu vaccinations will be delivered in a variety of settings, so your appointment may not take place in your own practice.
• Primary school pupils will be offered the flu vaccination at their school, while parents of children aged 2-5 who are not yet at school, and young people aged 12-18 with a long-term condition should contact 01307 475240 to book an appointment.
• Pregnant women can access immunisation through their midwife.
• All NHS Tayside staff and frontline social care workers are also strongly encouraged to take up the offer of a flu jab to protect themselves and vulnerable people who may be more likely to suffer complications from flu. Staff will be made aware of opportunities to get vaccinated in healthcare settings, care homes and at community pharmacies across Tayside.
The second phase is planned to begin in December and will include those aged 55 to 64 (by 31 March 2021) who would not usually be eligible.
CARE HOME VISITS
We support the right of families to safely visit residents in care homes. Fine out more about what is needed here:
New guidance encourages students to remain on campus if they are able to do so. This guidance covers where students are isolating and require support to allow them to comply with the requirement to self-isolate. The household students are returning to are asked to also self-isolate and states that public transport should not be used.
People on low incomes will be eligible to receive a new £500 grant if asked to self-isolate. The new Self-Isolation Support Grant will help those who would lose income if they need to self-isolate, such as those unable to carry out their work from home.
This grant is for those who will face financial hardship and will be targeted at people who are in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits, with some discretion to make awards to others in financial hardship.
Applications are due to open from 12th October and will be delivered through the existing Scottish Welfare Fund, which is administered by local authorities.
I am grateful to the residents who highlighted to me this 30mph sign on Pennycook Lane which has been essentially made redundant as the area is now all part of the new 20mph zone that covers the Perth Road district shopping centre, Magdalen Green, Perth Road Lanes and surrounding streets.
I highlighted this to the City Council and the sign has since been removed.
I am grateful to the member of West End Community Council who pointed out to me last week the rather pointless sign to Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Perth Road.
As he correctly pointed out “… with the scaffolding up around the Art Bar, the footpath there is basically inaccessible for folk in wheelchairs/using prams, and must be a hazard for visually impaired people too.
As this sign is basically useless (it points directly at the very visible DJCAD), could it be seen if the sign can be removed? Even without the scaffolding there this sign causes undue obstruction to the pavement.”
I completely agreed with this point, contacted the City Council requesting its removal, and this was very promptly done.