West End road safety improvements

The City Council agreed to two road safety improvements in the West End some months ago – at the Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue junction and at the Perth Road/Riverside Drive junction.
I recently asked for an update on what was being proposed and the City Development Department has advised as follows :
Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue Junction  :   Existing give way lines at Blackness Avenue to be removed and replaced further north towards Blackness Road.   This will improve sightlines with any parked cars along Blackness Road.   A requisition has been submitted for pricing to Tayside Contracts and we are currently awaiting the cost estimate.
Perth Road/Riverside Drive Junction :   Network Management is currently in consultation with activated signs suppliers to consider sign options.    This is to improve safety for road users travelling along Perth Road eastbound to highlight the junction and traffic merging from Perth Road westbound onto Riverside Drive north section/Perth Road.”

Tree replacements – Blackness Avenue

The City Council recently crowned a number of trees in Blackness Avenue that were requiring trimming and a small number were removed where the tree had either died off or the roots were causing a significant deal of damage to the footpath.
A number of residents have sought assurances that any removed trees will be replaced.   I took this up with the council’s Assistant Forestry Officer who advises :
“I can assure you and your constituents that replacement street tree planting at Blackness Avenue will be carried out with in the next tree planting season. 
The season will likely be between November 2015 to the end of March 2016. 
All trees that have been removed have had their stumps subject to grinding and back filled with top soil to create a tree pit for the new trees to be planted. 
There are one or two areas that are to be patched over, as per the site visit and agreement last year. 
All remaining tree pits within Blackness Avenue will be planted with a new street tree during this next planting season.”

Walkabout – Blackness/Corso/Abbotsford area

Yesterday, along with a representative from the Housing Department and a representative from the Environment Department, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness/Corso/Abbotsford area.

The six-monthly walkabouts take place in a number of areas (Pentland and Logie are other examples) and are a useful way to look at local issues and problems and ensure these are taken up and resolved.

Here’s a couple of photos of matters discussed yesterday, which also including bins/cleansing issues and overgrown trees in the area.

New improved street
lighting being installed
in the area
Pavement trip hazard at Peddie Street/
Abbotsford Place junction reported
for repair

Getting things done – Blackness Avenue

Further to last week’s Blackness walkabout that I undertook with council officers, I raised the poor condition of a tree bed in Blackness Avenue (see right) where the tree has been removed and a muddy trip hazard is left.
I asked the council’s Forestry Section if they could plant a replacement tree and tidy up the bed area.
I have now received the following response :

This years annual street tree survey will be carried out mid / late summer.   All empty tree pits will be identified for potential replacement planting during this survey.   My intention will be to replant in this tree pit and we will top dress with wood chip as a weed suppressant and reduce the trip hazard. 

At present there are provisional plans to carry out tree pruning and felling works in Blackness Avenue and planting works will be carried out next planting season. In the short term prior to planting season I will arrange for the pit to be top dressed with wood chip.

Blackness area walkabout

Yesterday, along with council officers from Housing and Community Safety Wardens, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area.   The six-monthly walkabouts take place in a number of areas (Pentland and Logie are other examples) and are a useful way to look at local issues and problems and ensure these are taken up and resolved.
Here’s a couple of issues picked up from yesterday’s walkabout:
Eurobins in Peddie Street – I have raised the emptying schedule with the Environment Department
Tree bed in Blackness Avenue – now a muddy trip hazard since the removal of the tree – I have taken this up with the City Council

Wednesday activities

This morning, I had useful site visits with roads inspection staff from the City Council looking at poor pavement condition in part of Perth Road and also the poor conditioned road surface at the busy Balgay Road/Blackness Avenue/Blackness Road junction (see right).
With regard to this roads junction, I am pleased to say that the junction will be reinstated with work starting next Monday (12th May) – weather permitting.   The work will take a maximum of 2 days but might be completed in one day.   As temporary traffic lights will be required during the improvements work, these will be put in place only after the rush hour on Monday morning.
Later this morning, I had a very useful meeting with our new senior police officer for the West End (and the remainder of what the police term ‘Dundee South’) Inspector Gary Ogilvie, at which we discussed West End policing issues.
Earlier tonight,  I attended the Annual General Meeting of Community Spirit – the community group for the “north” part of West End Ward, covering Tullideph, Pentland, Ancrum and the Cleghorn area.   The meeting took place in the Mitchell Street Centre.
Guest speaker was Ian Ford of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park, who gave a very interesting presentation on the development of the park.    Thereafter, I had the pleasure of chairing the actual AGM part of the meeting.    Sandra Myles stood down as Chair after four very successful years in the role and we all thanked Sandra for all she has done for the group and the local area – I’m pleased to say Sandra will still be attending Community Spirit’s meetings.   
New Chair is George Chalmers and Len Jamieson is continuing as Secretary.
One final update for today.   Residents complained to me that the dog bin in Logie Avenue at Ashbank Road was “rather full” – as you can see (left) that’s rather an understatement!   The Environment Department has assured me this will be urgently tidied.

Getting things done – Blackness Avenue, Hyndford Street and Seymour Street

Residents have brought to my attention that fact that some of the gullies at road edges in Blackness Avenue, Hyndford Street and Seymour Street are full and blocked.   I reported this to the City Council’s Roads Maintenance Partnership who have advised:
“Gullies are cleaned on cyclic maintenance with a frequency of approximately twice per eighteen months with particular attention given to gullies at low points. The gullies in the area will be checked by the Road Maintenance Partnership inspector who will arrange for an additional emptying if required. This will be done as soon as resources are available.”

Blackness area walkabout

Abbotsford Street
This morning, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area officers from the City Development and Environment Departments and one of my ward colleagues, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area – in particular, Corso Street, Abbotsford Place, Blackness Road, Peddie Street, Blackness Avenue and Abbotsford Street – to look at any local issues.
We undertake these walkabouts in several areas every six months to ascertain any local issues or problems and ensure action is taken thereafter to deal with them.
A walkabout for the Logie area takes place later this week and one for Pentland next week.

Blackness Walkabout

This morning, along with the council’s Housing Officer for the area and two community safety wardens, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area – in particular, Corso Street, Abbotsford Place, Blackness Road, Peddie Street, Blackness Avenue and Abbotsford Street – to look at any local issues.
A number were highlighted, including the damaged bin store behind the tenements on Blackness Road (see above right) bin collections and similar issues.

Update on Hawkhill situation …

Further to my article earlier today and the item in this morning’s Courier about the situation in Hawkhill, Scottish & Southern Energy has now updated me as follows:
“I can confirm that the excavation at Hawkhill is being re-instated this morning.  The road closure was kept in place over the weekend due to the quarry being closed and we were unable to get hot tar. 
I can confirm that these works will be completed by today.” 

Concern raised over handling of Hawkhill power cut issue

On Friday morning, without notification to residents, a squad from Scottish and Southern Energy appeared on Hawkhill near the Sinderins junction and set up a road lane closure, temporary pedestrian arrangements and temporary removal of a well-used bus stop, in order to attend to a power cut problem affecting some adjacent properties into Blackness Avenue.    However, although the road, pedestrian and bus stop restrictions remain in place, no work has taken place over the weekend.
Whilst residents and I appreciate the temporary road and pavement restrictions were necessary on Friday, it appears the work was abandoned on Friday afternoon and the restrictions have remain pointlessly in place over the weekend.    
My concern about this is that, as a result, the lane closure and unsatisfactory pedestrian temporary walkway will be in place during the rush hour this morning at this very busy bus route into the city centre.   Children going to Blackness Primary School use the pavements on this stretch of Hawkhill and the school term starts this morning.
I have asked Scottish and Southern Energy why the road and pavement restriction remains in place and why no work was carried out over the weekend to get it removed before the Monday rush-hour.  I have also sought an assurance that the works will be completed and the barriers removed urgently.

Action on slippy leaves …

Last week, following concerns from sheltered tenants, I asked the City Council Environment Department to clean up wet, slippy leaves at the Blackness Avenue end of Abbotsford Place and – with thanks – the department attended to this extremely efficiently.
On Sunday, an elderly lady slipped on leaves on Logie Avenue at the junction with Birchwood Place – see photo of the area – right.
Thankfully the lady managed to steady herself and was not injured, but I have asked the council to clean up the leaves here.
The City Council advises me that an instruction has gone out to all street sweepers to tackle leaves on pavements and this is to be welcomed.

West End Wednesday …

Yesterday, I took part in a site visit with the Head of Transportation and a Senior City Council Engineer at the junction of Balgay Road/Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue – see right.   Last year, I welcomed proposed road safety improvements at this junction as constituents have mentioned what a difficult junction this is – very busy and many vehicles making right turns.

Lining to the west on Blackness Road has been altered to improve vehicle movements coming towards the junction and council officers assured me that its effectiveness will be monitored in the coming months.
I also had the pleasure of a walk round the improvements underway at Blackness Primary School that include new window blinds, new lighting, staffroom refurbishment, new junkers timer sports floor in the gym – see right, wood treatment, windows improvements and improvements to the entrance and main stairwell.    I had previously queried the cost of new cleaners’ cupboards and this was reviewed and reduced in cost I was pleased to note.  
Also yesterday, I attended a presentation by the Managing Director of Tayside Contracts that was well-attended by councillors and senior council officers.   The presentation was extremely interesting and emphasised the importance of shared service provision at a time of real financial challenge for the public sector.

Walkabout – Blackness area

A foggy Abbotsford Street
Yesterday, along with Housing and Environment Department Officers and representatives of Blackness Area Housing Association, I took part in a walkabout around the Blackness area – in particular, Corso Street, Abbotsford Place, Blackness Road, Peddie Street, Blackness Avenue and Abbotsford Street – to look at any local issues such as graffiti, road condition, bins collection, buildings repairs and similar issues.

It was a very foggy and rather cold morning – see right! – but a most productive walkabout, with several local problems being highlighted.

City Council meeting tonight

Road safety improvements welcomed
Tonight saw the last City Council committee meetings prior to the summer recess and there was a substantial amount of business on agendas.    

At City Development Committee, I welcomed the proposal that the Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue/Balgay Road junction (see right) will be subject to road safety improvements over the next year.   Many constituents have mentioned what a difficult junction this is – very busy and many vehicles making right turns – so the proposal to improve the junction is good news.    At the same committee, I asked questions about a possible Business Improvement District for the City Centre and I also asked about roads condition in Dundee.

At Policy and Resources Committee, the Liberal Democrats supported a Labour amendment that tried to stop the City Council moving its postal arrangements away from Royal Mail.   This was defeated by the SNP administration, who have moved council postal services to a private sector operator.   It is ironic that the SNP regularly express concern over the future of Royal Mail, then undertakes its own little version of mail privatisation.

At the same committee, I also asked for assurances over a corporate review of council charges to ensure that low paid workers receiving Working Tax Credit receive concessionary rates as well as others on low income.

Thursday …

Back in June, I reported on a useful site visit held then with City Council road safety officers, West End Community Council and Blackness Primary School Parent Council representatives about road safety at the Sinderins junction.   The time length of the noise signal to advise pedestrians that it is safe to cross east-west at the bottom of Blackness Avenue was doubled in time length and we also discussed possible safety barriers at Hawkhill.

Today, we had a follow-up site visit (a very wet one in pouring rain!) at which the City Council representatives brought forward their proposals relative to the “barriers” idea.   They are proposing six bollards – at the footpath edge round the Blackness Avenue/Hawkhill junction and immediately to the east on Hawkhill – to emphasise to drivers not to drive too close to the pavement along Hawkhill, where pupils are walking to and from school.   It is a very busy arterial route into the City Centre and pedestrian safety is paramount.

The proposal will be discussed at the school’s Parent Council meeting next week and hopefully an agreed proposal can be implemented soon.


Later on, I attended the third West End estate “walkabout” of the week – this time round Pentland, where numerous local issues were discussed on-site including the condition of paths and steps in the area, grass cutting and parking. 

This evening, I attended the latest Dundee West Transition Town Group, where we discussed a number of issues including increasing allotment provision in the West End and the group’s input into the community fayre at the start of West End Christmas Week on 20th November.

Second estate walkabout of the week …

This morning, along with two of my ward colleagues, City Council officers and members of Blackness Area Residents’ Association, we had a “walkabout” around Corso Street, Abbotsford Place and Street, Peddie Street and parts of Blackness Road and Blackness Avenue to look at any repairs required and issues needing tackled in the area.   

Another useful and productive walkabout – and on a beautiful autumn morning too.

Tuesday news …

This morning, I was disappointed to hear from the City Council about vandalism to the paper recycling facility in Brook Street. The Recycling Projects Officer advised me :

“I am writing to inform you that unfortunately a paper bin within the Neighbourhood Recycling Point on Brook Street Dundee was burnt out at the weekend, now for the second time.

As you may remember was the case with the second act of arson to the NRP on Bankmill Road earlier this, that it is our standard policy to replace the burnt out unit for a second time. Any further incidents, however, will result in the removal of the paper bin from the NRP unit as these are very costly to replace, and could prove to be an ongoing fire hazard.

We have a replacement unit in stock and we will be looking to reinstate the paper bin as soon as our operations are able. We will continue to monitor this site closely in the forthcoming period and hopefully there will be no repeat of the previous vandalism.”

I am advised by the City Council that the replacement cost is £520 and as I point out in tonight’s Evening Telegraph, residents rightly deplore this sort of mindless vandalism that could end up resulting in the loss of a well-used and popular paper recycling facility. This afternoon, our local Police Inspector said he’d progress my request for use of mobile CCTV in the vicinity to deter further vandalism.

Also this afternoon, along with a representative from Blackness Area Residents’ Association (BARA), a fellow councillor and council officers, we undertook a walkabout in the BARA area (a rather wet walkabout as it was raining!) to look at local issues and problems. The walkabout covered Peddie Street (pictured above), Abbotsford Place, Abbotsford Street, Corso Street and parts of Blackness Road and Blackness Avenue.

This evening at West End Community Council, there was an interesting talk on the conservation of resources, given by Doug McLaren of the Tayside Foundation for the Conservation of Resources.

Sinderins – pedestrian safety – an update

Last month, I reported on the site visit I organised with City Council, community council and parent council representatives about pedestrian safety at the Sinderins junction.

I have now had the following positive feedback from the City Council :

“Regarding your concerns relating to the operation of the traffic signal junction at Perth Road / Hawkhill / Blackness Avenue, I will arrange for the green man indicator to be illuminated for a longer period and also the audible signal for the visually impaired to sound for this duration.”

A follow-up site visit is now arranged for early next month.

Safe crossings for the West End

This morning along with residents, including parents of pupils at Blackness Primary School and representatives of West End Community Council, I attended a site visit at the Sinderins junction with a representative of the council’s City Development Department.

We discussed the safe functioning of the junction and in particular the pedestrian crossing West-East from the library to the Blackness Avenue/Hawkhill junction.

After this, along with the same officer from the City Council, we met with residents of Pennycook and Sinderins Courts to discuss how residents can cross Pennycook Lane at its junction with Perth Road more safely.

Crossing Blackness Avenue

Following concerns I have received about the “green man” time for pedestrians crossing Blackness Avenue from the library to Hawkhill, I have again raised the matter with the City Council.

I have received the following feedback from the City Development Department :

“The lights at Blackness Library have been modernised and are now of the ‘Puffin’ type.

The flashing green man appears for 4 seconds with buzzer sounding. It may appear to the pedestrian that it has stopped but traffic will not move until the far footway is reached and that sensor triggered. The inter-green period ie the period when vehicles are stopped is designed to be long enough to allow pedestrian to complete the crossing safely.

The new design of the green man showing on the nearside or demand side of the crossing is part of a design which prohibits the impatient driver from ‘jumping’ the red light as he cannot see the green man/red man signal.”

Two Friday updates

Update 1 : Replacement School Crossing Patroller for Blackness Primary School at Hawkhill – latest from Dundee City Council this afternoon :

“Good Afternoon Cllr Macpherson,

I am pleased to inform you that we have now been able to arrange for the above SCP to be manned with effect from lunch time on Tue 27 Oct. The individual concerned will be issued with his equipment/clothing on Tuesday morning and will receive the relevant training before taking up his post. I should point out that the new SCP has had previous experience as an SCP, which explains how we can have him in place within such a short space of time.”

Update 2 : As I indicated earlier today, I had raised residents’ concerns about slippy leaves on pavements at Abbotsford Place and Blackness Avenue. By lunchtime, I had received the following feedback from the Waste Management Department :

“Hi Fraser

I have arranged for these leaves to be swept up this morning.

The supervisor reports the job is now completed.”

I bumped into one of the Abbotsford Place residents who had complained about the issue in Tesco Metro in the City Centre this afternoon as she was well impressed with the quality of clean-up and the speed of response. The Waste Management Department is extremely responsive, so very many thanks!

Weeds on local roads

I complained bitterly last year about the extent of weeds on road edges and pavements in the West End, and all credit to the City Development Department – weed spraying in the West End was started earlier this year and I have had far fewer complaints from residents this year.
In response to an e-mail I sent the City Engineer recently, I received this from him today:
“I can confirm that a request for a second spraying of the weeds at the junction of Blackness Road and Norwood Crescent has been forwarded to Dundee Contract Services. I have also forwarded on your comments regarding the areas at the tree bases.”
The tree bases are, of course, in Blackness Road, west of Balgay Road/Blackness Avenue.

Further bus concerns

There has recently been considerable concern raised across the City by changes to Travel Dundee bus routes and timetables, introduced on 2nd November.

As City Council Planning & Transport Convener, I recently chaired a meeting of City Councillors and a representative of the bus company at which councillors from across the City highlighted constituents’ concerns about various services. In the West End, the route of Service Number 14 and cuts to the frequency of Service Number 2 were raised.
I have this week been contacted by parents in the West End, whose children attend St John’s High School. Their complaint is about Service Number 2A in the morning, immediately before the start of the school day. The bus is now missing out Blackness Avenue and arrives later at the school – not in time for the start of school.


I have raised this issue with the City Council’s Acting Head of Transportation, who will be raising the matter with the bus company at a meeting on Monday.

Street sign vandalism reported

Thanks to those residents who have complained to me about graffiti vandalism of a number of local street signs at:

* Blackness Avenue (opposite Hillcrest Road)

* Elm Street (south junction with Logie Avenue)

* Logie Avenue (at south junction with Elm Street – see above right)

These signs can be repaired by cleaning rather than the need for a replacement and I have reported this to the City Council.

Black Street and Blackness Avenue

I’ve recently approached the City Council calling for an improvement to the play area in Black Street. It lacks play equipment (as the photo – right – shows) and has in the past been subject to vandalism. Last year, bonfires were lit on the tarmac surface, causing damage (see below).

I have been speaking with a number of residents in the Black Street, Cleghorn Street and Benvie Road area recently and they felt that it was a waste of what could be a decent facility for local children and youths.

I have also had a chat with the community policeman about the area and we both feel that it wouldn’t take much to undertake some repair to the surface to make it useable for football and with some white markings, a reasonable football area could be created. A couple of portable goalposts could be stored when not in use in the nearby Mitchell Street Centre.

The area also needs a bit of a tidy but with quite minimal work, a usable facility for youth football can be created. It would be good to see the area looking a bit less tired and being put to better use.

The playpark is in the ownership of the City Council’s Economic Development Department and I have approached the department for talks on the matter.

On another matter, the Blackness Area Residents’ Association has been calling for a better bus bay in Blackness Avenue (on the north side half way down) so the bus can get properly beside the pavement – this is helpful for the mainly elderly passengers who alight there. I have been in discussion with the City Council about this and am pleased to say that the improved bay has now been painted.