20 mph consultation – your views important!

From Dundee City Council :
 
Dundee City Council is considering implementing 20 mph speed limits on roads in residential areas throughout the city.   The council recognises that 20 mph limits have definitive road safety benefits and these can provide a basis where people feel safer to use more sustainable modes of transport such as walking and cycling.
 
The objective of introducing the 20 mph limit is to improve the local environment in residential areas for all road users, including car drivers, by reducing the number and severity of collisions and casualties on the city’s roads, making the city a safer and better place to live in.
 
We hope that by making the streets safer and more pleasant to use this will encourage more cycling and walking, especially for local trips. This will not only bring road safety benefits, but will also help to improve overall health and well-being, reduce congestion and may improve air quality.
 
The council has launched this city wide consultation on 20 mph limits and it is hoped that residents and local organisations participate in this consultation exercise. This consultation exercise relates to 20 mph limits that will be signed only ie there will be no other physical measures to reduce vehicle speeds associated with any imposed 20 mph limit.
 
The council would appreciate if you could consider the map which highlights areas where the Council feel 20mph limits may be appropriate and answer a few questions relating to 20mph limits in the city.   The map is accessible here and you can most easily complete the questionnaire to give your views on-line by clicking here.
 
A hard copy of the map for this consultation exercise and a hard copy of the questionnaire are available in Dundee House Reception as well as the East and West Housing Offices and sheltered housing complexes.   
 
A PDF version of the questionnaire is also available here.   As an alternative to completing the on-line questionnaire, the PDF version can  printed off and the completed questionnaire emailed to 20mphconsultation@dundeecity.gov.uk or submitted by post to: Roads & Transport Division, City Development Department, Dundee City Council, Dundee House, 50 North Lindsay Street, Dundee DD1 1LS.
 
Should you wish to submit comments above those given in the questionnaire, please email 20mphconsultation@dundeecity.gov.uk. Any email submitted will receive an automated receipt response but there will be no further communication to individual queries. However, any comments submitted in this way will be considered as part of the consultation exercise.
 
The consultation period will run until 30th June 2016.

Consultation on 20’s Plenty progressed by the City Council

In June 2014 and again in February of this year, I proposed that Dundee City Council consult residents and communities across Dundee on the subject of having more 20mph zones in residential areas where there is support from residents.   On the second attempt – in February – the council agreed to do so.
 
Tonight, at City Development Committee, a report came forward on the detail of the consultation now being proposed.    I have some concerns about the content of the report in relation to contentions it makes in relation to the ‘principal road network’ and where the initial mean speed in a street is higher than 24mph.   It is important that residents’ views are sought without preconditions by officers and the guidance by Transport Scotland should be fully adhered to.  
 
Crucially, however, the report talked about a “web based” consultation, whereas I believe it to be vital that the council consults widely with communities across Dundee to get their views – in other words going out and speaking with Dundee people about the issue.   I moved an amendment as follows :
 
“Add the following additional recommendation :
 
2.2       The Executive Director of City Development will consult widely in consultation meetings with community councils, tenants and residents associations, other representative community organisations and the public across all eight Local Community Planning Partnership areas to discuss their views on where 20 mph limits would be appropriate and would be of benefit to residential amenity and road safety in each community.”
 
I am pleased to say that the committee unanimously agreed to my amendment.   It may take a bit longer to undertake the consultation than originally proposed but, as I said at committee tonight, it is better than it is done properly than it is done quickly.
 
Also, at the same committee tonight, a report was agreed on the City Centre Parking Scheme that will, subject to consultation, correct an anomaly affecting residents in West Port, whereby some residents are currently eligible to apply for a permit and some are not.  It is right that all West Port residents should be allowed to qualify for a permit, given the parking difficulties in the area, being so close to the City Centre.

20mph zones in residential areas – latest news

Following on from the decision by Dundee City Council in February to consult residents across Dundee about where people want 20 mph zones in residential areas, I have sought an update from the City Council’s Head of Transportation about when the consultation I successfully sought will take place.
 
The council’s Head of Transportation has advised me as follows :
 
“The issues are still being considered by the traffic engineers and this includes comparisons with other areas’ policies and visiting other cities to compare some of the options available.  We are projecting that we will commerce the community engagement, with a draft policy for Dundee, in early Autumn, just after summer holiday period.  The aim for a return to City Development Committee at November or December City Development Committee.
I have been discussing this in various meetings recently and we will utilise the network of community representative fora as noted at committee in February.”
 
I am pleased that progress towards this consultation is taking place as it is important to ask people across the city where they feel lower speed limits in residential areas would be appropriate.    
 
In the West End, there have been requests for lower speed limits in areas where there are many elderly residents trying to cross residential roads or where children regularly play.   However a formal consultation exercise is necessary and I am pleased this will be taking place later this year.

Call for consultation on 20’s Plenty agreed by Dundee City Council

Last June, I proposed that Dundee City Council consult residents and communities across Dundee on the subject of having more 20mph zones in residential areas where there is support from residents.  
 
On that occasion, my proposal was defeated by a single vote.
 
I took the matter back to the City Council’s City Development Committee tonight, following the publication in January of guidance by Transport Scotland which is supportive of 20mph zones.
 
My motion read as follows :
 
“Committee notes Report 43-2015 by the Director of City Development on 20mph speed limits.
 
Committee also notes that :
 
• 20mph zones and 20mph limits significantly decrease the risk of being injured in a collision
• lowering the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph can reduce child accidents by up to 70%
• half of people who are hit by a car at 30mph will die and only 10% of people hit by a car at 20mph will die
 
Committee believes lower speed limits will make streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and car users alike and will encourage people to walk and cycle with the consequential benefits for health and quality of life.
 
In light of recent “Good Practice Guide on 20mph speed restrictions” published by Transport Scotland referred to in the Director’s report, Committee calls for the development of a policy on the implementation of 20mph zones and limits, and, as a first step, the Director of City Development is instructed, within the next six months, to consult widely with community councils, tenants’ and residents’ associations, other representative community organisations and the public across all eight Local Community Planning Partnership areas to discuss their views of where 20mph limits would be appropriate and would be of benefit to residential amenity and road safety in each community.
 
The Director of City Development is thereafter instructed to bring a report to committee on the outcomes of such a consultation exercise, by December 2015, with a view to thereafter considering commencement of a phased programme of introducing 20mph limits on residential roads from 2016/17 onwards, giving due consideration to the revenue and capital and enforcement implications of such a programme.”
 
I am pleased to say that, on this occasion, the SNP administration agreed to support my motion, as did all opposition members.   I agreed to an alteration of the six month deadline referred to above given the workload of relevant officers, which is perfectly reasonable, but the bottom line is that the council will now be consulting with people across Dundee on this important road safety measure.
 
I am indebted to Andy Llanwarne of Friends of the Earth Tayside, Derek Paton and George Gammack who each spoke eloquently as deputations on the matter tonight and to 20’s Plenty for Us,  Living Streets Scotland and Friends of the Earth Tayside, for their expertise and support.
 
I am now keen to encourage Dundee residents to take part in the forthcoming consultation.

20mph zones in residential areas – an update

As residents know, last June, I proposed to the council’s City Development Committee that the City Council consult communities on where local people feel a 20mph limit would be appropriate.     This failed to get support at committee by a single vote, due to the failure of SNP councillors to support a consultation exercise.   
 
I have now secured a further debate on the matter at the City Council meetings on Monday 23rd February.
 
The sort of locations I feel these may be appropriate are narrow streets in highly residential areas, particularly where there are large numbers of elderly people or children out playing.    Examples in the West End where residents have indicated support include the Perth Road lanes and the Logie area, both of which have very narrow streets and areas of sheltered housing.  
 
The reason that lies behind my renewed call is new Transport Scotland guidance, published on behalf of Scottish Government, that is far more supportive of 20mph zones in appropriate areas than the previous 2002 guidance.    City of Edinburgh Council is now introducing 20mph zones over wide areas of residential streets and Glasgow City Council is also moving this road-safety measure forward too.    
 
I have made the point to Dundee City Council’s Head of Transportation pointing out that the City Council’s policy to oppose consultation on 20mph zones and implement them in appropriate streets is now at odds with government guidance – and asking what the council’s response to that anomaly is.   
 
It is clear, from the large amount of feedback I had from residents that there is significant public demand for this road safety measure.  The City Council cannot continue to hide its head in the sand about the new Transport Scotland guidance, so I have requested this renewed debate at City Development Committee later in the month. 

The matter was reported in the Courier and the Evening Telegraph yesterday and I spoke on Wave 102 News and Radio Tay News.   You can hear the Radio Tay News interview by clicking ‘play’ below :

Reiterating the call for 20 mph zones in residential streets

Yesterday’s Courier highlighted my call for the City Council to again consider lower 20mph speed limits in highly residential areas.   Part of the article is reproduced below :
As residents will recall, last June, I proposed to the council’s City Development Committee that the City Council consult communities on where local people feel a 20mph limit would be appropriate.     This failed to get support at committee by a single vote, due to the failure of SNP councillors to support a consultation exercise.
 
As I indicated in the Courier yesterday, the sort of locations I feel these may be appropriate are narrow streets in highly residential areas, particularly where there are large numbers of elderly people or children out playing.    Examples in the West End where residents have indicated support include the Perth Road lanes and the Logie area, both of which have very narrow streets and areas of sheltered housing.
 
The reason that lies behind my renewed call is new Transport Scotland guidance, published on behalf of Scottish Government, that is far more supportive of 20mph zones in appropriate areas than the previous 2002 guidance.    City of Edinburgh Council is now introducing 20mph zones over wide areas of residential streets and Glasgow City Council is also moving this road-safety measure forward too.    
 
I have written to Dundee City Council’s Head of Transportation pointing out that the City Council’s policy to oppose consultation on 20mph zones and implement them in appropriate streets is now at odds with government guidance – and what’s he going to do about that?
 
There is significant evidence that 20mph limits in residential areas has a positive impact on road safety.   The road safety charity Brake has a useful car stopping distances calculator which highlights how much longer it takes to stop at 30mph and higher compared with at 20mph or under.
 
I think its important to explode a few myths about what I am proposing.    There is no suggestion of imposing lower speed limits without public consultation – 20mph should be introduced only where residents want it.    There is no suggestion that 20mph limits would be followed by calls for even lower limits.  Also, 20mph zones are only appropriate for residential areas – I am not suggesting major routes become 20mph.
 
It is clear, from the large amount of feedback I had from residents around the time of last June’s committee decision, that there is significant public demand for this road safety measure.    If the City Council continues to hide its head in the sand about the new Transport Scotland guidance, I will take the matter back to committee, and will continue to do so until sense prevails.    
 
At this stage, all I am asking for is proper public consultation on this matter with communities across our city.   What exactly does Dundee City Council fear about that?

Call for action by City Council as evidence published proving 20mph zones can cut casualties by 40%

With the new publication of evidence showing both support for and the positive benefits of Twenty’s Plenty 20 mph speed limits in highly residential areas:
 
A report in The Independent suggests that road casualties could be cut by 40% by the introduction of 20 mph limits in built-up areas.   
 
•20 mph zones have strong support amongst voters according to a ComRes opinion poll.
 
I have, as reported in yesterday’s Courier, called on Dundee City Council to take real action to explore the benefits in terms of pedestrian safety and implement Twenty’s Plenty zones in residential areas where there is support for this from local residents.
 
It is essential that each Dundee residential road is looked at, particularly on roads where there are a large number of children and where there could be a big benefit for road safety and improving the environment.    An opportunity should be taken to allow residents to bring forward proposals to the City Council.
 
This is an issue I have raised with the City Council on numerous occasions, following discussions with residents, and I have spoken with the Head of Transportation about the matter.    Although the city has 20 mph speed limits outside schools when school children are coming to/going from school, there is a paucity of “Twenty’s Plenty” zones in residential areas in Dundee and I feel this should be addressed where there is resident demand for safer speed limits in areas of residential housing, children out playing and elderly residents.
 
I have also been in discussion with Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity who have campaigned for safer residential streets.
 
I have received many requests from constituents highlighting the need for slower traffic speeds in residential areas.     Residents in various streets in the West End area he represents have raised the matter with me, including at Clayhills Drive, Ashbank Road, Elm Street and River Crescent.

I spoke on Radio Tay News about the matter yesterday – click ‘play’ below to listen:

A busy Monday …

A busy Monday started with raising constituent concerns about street lighting failing in Grosvenor Road.   The City Council’s Street Lighting Partnership has responded as follows:

I have checked the fault with the lights in Grosvenor Road. our stand-by electrician was out over the weekend at the fault which appears to be an underground cable fault. In the short term I will have this repaired tomorrow and in the longer term replace the columns and lanterns in that area.

Later this morning, I was interviewed by both Wave 102 and Radio Tay News regarding my continuing concerns about the effect of the delay in completion of the new Olympia – as covered by today’s Courier.   The Radio Tay News interview can be heard by clicking ‘play’ below:
Later today, I had a very useful and productive meeting with the new Police Inspector for the West End and Lochee, followed by an equally useful meeting with a local representative of Living Streets on the issue of 20mph zones in residential areas.
 
After my weekly ward surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and at Harris Academy, I took part in tonight’s City Council Development Management Committee.   
 
I was pleased that the committee supported my motion to refuse planning permission for an advertising sign outside the newly improved frontage of the Duncan of Jordanstone building in Perth Road.    Committee voted 20-2 in support of my motion to refuse this advertising sign on the grounds that it fails to preserve or enhance the character of the surrounding Conservation Area.

GO20 campaign

George Gammack, a Dundee resident who has long been a member of the Living Streets campaign, has written to all Dundee councillors about the need for Dundee City Council to adopt 20mph speed limits in residential areas.
 
I have long campaigned for the City Council to adopt this policy, and, although 20mph zones outside schools were adopted as policy during my tenure as City Council Planning & Transport Convener, extending this to include very residential streets across Dundee has not been progressed.    In the West End, there are many streets where residents have raised this issue with me including the Logie Estate, the Perth Road lanes, Ancrum Drive, Tullideph, River Crescent/Riverside Place and Pentland.
 
Mr Gammack writes:
 
“I have been a member of Living Streets for over 25 years most of them while resident in Dundee. As with all cities and towns, there is an unhealthy dominance of motor traffic and I was indeed quite sad to read recently that Dundee had been voted the most car friendly city in Britain. 
 
It really is time to do something about redressing that imbalance. The recent raising of the profile of cycling is one important factor in this, but much, much more needs to be done for all those who have to rely on means other than a car to get around the city. The fact that nearly half the households in Dundee do not have access to a car should be a powerfully motivating factor in this.
 
This is National Road Safety Week, an ideal opportunity to push forward measures that will have an impact on making life safer and more pleasant for those large number of citizens who are exposed to an excess of traffic hazards in what should be the pleasant arenas of public civic space. One significant trend in this the adoption of 20mph limit. It is not just the number of vehicles but the fact that large numbers of them are driven far too fast, often along narrow and busy streets.
 
The GO20 campaign was launched yesterday, supported  by a survey carried out by road safety charity Brake, in which 77% of children said they wished drivers would slow down around their home and school.  
 
This is not a naïve ‘speed kills’ argument; it is rather that lower speed vastly reduces the risk of death and serious injury.   20mph is much safer for people walking and cycling because drivers have far more chance to react in an emergency and avoid hitting someone:  stopping distance at 30 is nearly double than at 20. Where 20 limits have replaced 30 limits, there have been reductions in casualties.
 
Many local authorities have now adopted 20 mph as the default speed limit in residential areas. Other areas are now looking at adopting this limit on all roads where people live, work and shop.    I would ask you all urgently to adopt such  a policy in Dundee.”
 
I have advised Mr Gammack that I have raised his point with senior officers in the City Council’s City Development Department.    Now is the time in my view to embrace the GO20 campaign across Dundee in residential streets.

Twenty’s Plenty in residential areas

The road safety charity Brake has again highlighted the need for slower traffic speeds in residential areas.  This is an issue I have recently raised with the City Council again, following discussions with residents.    Although the city has 20 mph speed limits outside schools when school children are coming to/going from school, there is a paucity of “Twenty’s Plenty” zones in residential areas in Dundee and I feel this should be addressed where there is resident demand for safer speed limits in areas of residential housing, children out playing and elderly residents.

I have received the response below from the City Council’s Head of Transportation regarding one residential street in the West End that is a large cul-de-sac and, in the view of residents there, would be an ideal candidate for a lower speed limit to emphasise its residential nature.      In light of Brake’s recent campaign, I have highlighted their views with him and will be discussing the matter further with him in the near future.   I have also contacted Brake about the issue.

Feedback from the City Council’s Head of Transportation :

“I refer to your email dated 25 May 2011 regarding council policy on 20mph speed limits and home zones.  There is currently no local policy on 20 mph limits and the Home Zones trials has certainly led to design standard that achieve the Home Zone principles for ‘traffic calming’ / shared space at new build stage – the 20 mph speed limit issue (aside from part time outside schools) is fairly embryonic and a few urban areas are progressing city wide or area specific schemes but there is an element of a watching brief throughout the UK to gauge effectiveness.  I am aware of groups of the community that are very vociferous in favour of the default urban speed limit being reduced but I am yet to see this transferring to the predominant view (although I believe this is only a matter of time).

With particular reference to River Crescent it is quite possible the perceived speed of vehicles in this cul de sac may seem inappropriate but as is often the case on small residential streets the actual recorded speeds usually found from 7 or 14 day automatic surveys are well within the 30 mph national urban speed limit.  I would be very surprised if anything unusual would arise in this quiet / low traffic cul de sac.

As indicated above there are no recorded policy documents relating to Twenty’s Plenty in Dundee.  I believe the Twenty’s Plenty installed at Gowrie Park was part of a national  pilot scheme.  The only current policy on 20mph speed limits is that for part time operation around schools as referred to in agenda note AN159-2008. This agenda note refers to the accepted P & T committee report on Making Schools Safer on 24th January 2004. City Quay is the only other 20 mph order within the City which I recall was related to the need to maintain low speeds owing to the proximity of the docks (and is an engineered solution with regular speed bumps curtailing vehicle speeds).

Dundee City Council approved the Home Zones consultation report by Government in P & T Report No. 39-2002. This report supported the use of residential streets for multiple use with vehicles a necessary but not dominant feature of the area, as indicated previously this relates to new builds from that point in time on.

I anticipate that in the coming years this will become an issue discussed widely around Dundee, Scotland and the UK, however at this current moment in time there is no provision to create a 20mph limit in this street and ultimately any traffic concerns are very likely to be local and as is often the case best resolved through neighbourhood efforts.”

20 mph zones and Germany …

Got back late yesterday from a couple of days running a Conference in Grangemouth (with “day job”) to the usual pile of phone messages, e-mails, etc… Thanks to Janet who stood in for me at my surgeries on Thursday (on basis that I can’t be in two places at once!) – photo of Conference (right).

Spent some time today delivering flyers for the folk who are trying to set up a community group for the Ancrum/Pentland/Cleghorn/Polepark area to advertise their public meeting next Wednesday to discuss local issues. Meeting is at Balgay Church on the 24th (6pm for 6.30pm) and all residents in the area very welcome.
Also attended the public consultation event for the West End Community Plan at Dundee West Church Hall this morning – a good turnout of residents and community representatives and good to speak with many local people.

Lastly, you will recall my article on 11th October about 20mph zones around schools in the City (see http://frasermacpherson.blogspot.com/2007/10/20-mph-zones-around-schools.html) – well, Marlyn Glen MSP has advised me that (apart from the article about this matter in the Evening Telegraph) it also appeared on a German website! Click on headline above to view. Bizarre.

20 mph zones around schools

Marlyn Glen MSP recently contacted me in my capacity as Planning & Transport Convener of the City Council to ask about the extent of provision of 20 mph zones around schools in Dundee, give the reports to the British Medical Association’s annual conference saying that more 20 mph speed limits on routes near schools help tackle the problem of obesity amongst school children as well as making the streets safer for them.
Following discussion with Council officers, my response is as follows:
“During 2004 Dundee City Council began a programme of introducing part-time 20mph speed limits on roads surrounding its schools. These part-time limits are legally enforceable and operate at the beginning and end of the school day and also over the lunchtime period. Currently 47 of the Council’s 49 schools have part-time 20mph speed limits operating in this manner. The two schools that are yet to be covered are Braeview Academy and St Johns High School and this has been caused by difficulties in providing the required power supply to the signs. City Council officers advise me that they are confident that this will be resolved within the next month so that all Council schools will be covered by the 20mph part-time speed limits.

“In addition to the Council schools, work is currently on-going with the High School of Dundee regarding 20mph part-time speed limits and this is also expected to be completed within the next month.

“Steps have also been taken to ensure that any new schools opening in Dundee through the PPP initiative will also have part-time 20mph speed limits in place from their first day of opening.

“In addition to 20mph speed limits at schools further work has been undertaken in partnership between the Education and Planning & Transportation Departments to develop School Travel Plans. A seconded post was provided for a two year period within the Education Department to develop an exemplar School Travel Plan pack as part of the Health Promoting Schools initiative. An exemplar pack has been issued to all schools in Dundee with the Head Teacher of each school responsible for implementing their School Travel Plan. These School Travel Plans aim to encourage pupils to travel to school in a more sustainable and healthy manner by encouraging walking, cycling and public transport in favour of car journeys.

“Dundee City Council also works in partnership with Tayside Police and provides resources and professional officer input to assist Tayside Police’s Road Safety Officers who regularly take the road safety message into the classroom.

“I trust this information assures you that Dundee City Council has tackled the need for 20mph speed limits at Schools and continues to develop travel initiatives to help improve the health of our school pupils.”