Parking charges #dundeewestend

As residents will be aware, the City Council has announced the return of parking charges from next Monday – 13th July.
 
However, I am pleased to say that my plea to officers to not to reintroduce these in the West End from 13th July has paid off.     Car parks in the seven West End car parks that had charges intoduced for the first time in January of this year will continue to be free until the universities return in October.
 
The City Council also advises :
 
“The first phase of charging from July 13 applies to all on-street bays, as well as the surface car parks in the city centre and Broughty Ferry. Limited wait bays will also be enforced from this date.
 
If progress on the route map out of lockdown continues as expected, the gradual roll-out will see charging resume at city centre multi-storey car parks in August. Greenmarket and Gellatly Street will be full price, while Bell Street and Olympia will cost £3-a-day.                                                              
 
Normal pricing is expected to resume at Olympia and Bell Street from mid-September.
 
Finally, the re-introduction of charging at car parks in the West End is planned for October 2020.
 
Up-to-date information throughout the phased return of car-parking charges can be found on the Dundee City Council website.”

Suspend West End car parking charges! #dundeewestend

I have been contacted by numerous residents in the West End who use the seven cars parks that recently had car park charges imposed for the first time – charges I have strongly opposed.
 
The residents have pointed out that, as the advice is to work from home where possible during the COVID-19 health emergency, it seems perverse to charge people to park near their homes when the council has suspended car parking charges in several car parks in the city centre.    
 
The city centre decision is very helpful – to assist key workers – but I am adament that the suspension of parking charges must also apply to people working from home as they are following the advice to do so.
 
If Angus Council can do this for its car parks, so can Dundee City Council for the seven West End car parks.
 
I have requested that City Development at the council do this ASAP.    The Director of City Development and the leader of the council is aware of this request.
 
I will keep residents updated.

Bad news on West End car parking #dundeewestend

Residents will recall that, just before Christmas, I again reiterated my strong opposition to the council administration’s policy of introducing car parking charges into seven West End car parks.
 
The effect will be particularly difficult for residents and add to on-street car parking in the area.
 
I received the following update late yesterday from the council’s Parking and Sustainable Transport Team Leader :
 
“We expect the new car parking charges in the seven West End car parks to be introduced on Monday, 27 January 2020.   In advance, we will advertise the change by way of signage and press releases from early next week.   Meters have already been installed at most of the car parks and these will be commissioned on 23/24 January 2020.  New tariff charge boards will be erected over the weekend of 25/26 January 2020.  
 
New lighting is being installed by the Street Lighting Partnership in Roseangle Car Park during week commencing 20 January 2020.  For a few days this car park will be closed to create a safe working environment.  This closure will also be advertised in advance.”
 
The effect of these charges will be highly detrimental and, even at this late stage, I would urge the council administration to think again about introducing them.

Footway parking and double parking – a consultation

The Scottish Government’s consultation on footway parking and double parking closes on Friday.   The consultation document can be downloaded here.
 
As the issue of parking on pavements and across dropped kerbing is a subject of many constituent complaints, I have already submitted a response.
 
It takes only a few minutes to do so and I would urge any West End resident with views on this to submit a response – you can do this here.

I raised this matter at the council’s City Development Committee last night.   It was suggested that the consultation may be being extended to 31st August.   However, as the Scottish Government website still indicates a 30th June deadline, I would urge people wishing to respond to do so as soon as possible.

Improving parking for the West End – some progress

Residents will recall that, last March, I attempted to get Dundee City Council to undertake a new consultation with residents and local businesses on ways to improve West End parking.    My motion then attracted 12 votes but I was outvoted by 15 SNP and Conservative councillors so nothing has been done since to tackle this vital issue. 
 
Last night, at the City Development Committee, I revisited the issue and proposed the following new motion :
 
“Committee notes with concern that, following the consultation exercise in 2012 in part of the West End Ward relative to a possible residents’ parking scheme, the parking situation for residents and local businesses in the area concerned has worsened.
 
Committee therefore instructs the Executive Director of City Development to undertake a further informal consultation with community groups including West End Community Council, local residents, the business community and other stakeholders such as the University of Dundee, to ascertain views as to measures that may have public support for possible future introduction.    
 
The outcomes of this informal consultation should thereafter be reported back to this committee to determine which measures have public support and are viable;  and the potential scope of any residents’ parking scheme or schemes.  
 
Committee also instructs the Executive Director of City Development to undertake this exercise and report back on his findings and recommendations to this committee as soon as staff resources allow.”
 
I am pleased to say that, after an excellent deputation by two community representatives – Peter Menzies and Elaine Kuwahara – speaking in a personal capacity – and debate at committee, it was agreed that the possibility of progressing this through the Economic Development working group that is working on supporting new initiatives to support the Perth Road district shopping centre.    This will be discussed at its next meeting and, if there is no swift progress, I have reserved by right to take the motion above back to City Development Committee.
 
This is the first positive move by the council to sort the parking situation since the failed 2012 consultation exercise and I am pleased that at last some progress has at least started.   We now need momentum to really tackle and improve the parking situation.

Call to make better use of West Bell Street multi-storey car park

I have called on Dundee City Council to make better use of its half-empty West Bell Street multi-storey car park which I feel could be revitalised if short-stay parking was permitted.    
 
This could also have the beneficial effect of helping ease the on-street parking capacity problems near the University of Dundee Campus and in West Port, South Tay Street, Nethergate and the east end of Perth Road.
 
The council’s Head of Roads and Transportation advised me :

Bell Street multi storey car park is a very large car park with in excess of 900 spaces and currently demand does not require us to regularly open the upper floors and our daytime car park staff do flexibly open and close it if the car park gets busy.  

In terms of providing shorter stay parking, Bell Street multi storey car park is identified as a long stay car park, and the tariffs are so designed to encourage the use of the facility by all day / half day parkers with more flexible tariffs available at other car parks and the on street spaces around the vicinity allow for parking for up to one hour.

I have commented that there is no short term (30 minutes to 2 hour) parking available at the West Bell Street multi-storey car park and the parking situation near the campus would be helped if some short term facility was provided here.   
 
I think the council has to think imaginatively about the way this half-empty car park can be improved.    With the introduction of short-term parking here, it would assist ease parking difficulties in the surrounding area particularly in the West Port/South Tay Street areas of the West End Ward.
 
The council’s Parking Team Leader has agreed to discuss this further which is helpful as an urgent improvement is needed.

Glenagnes Street council lock-ups demolition – creation of new parking area

Further to the recent demolition of the former council lock-ups in Glenagnes Street (see right), I asked the City Council when the area will be completed to create parking spaces and to erect the promised fencing between the area and the flats in Blackness Road to the south.
 
I have been advised as follows :
 
“Tayside Contracts has inspected the formation at Glenagnes Street.    They have scheduled to commence making good for a parking surface week commencing 18 April 2016. 
 
This includes removing the double yellow lines from the south carriageway which otherwise would see residents ticketed. 
 
Fencing should be around a similar timeline.” 

West End parking improvement proposals rejected

I have tonight criticised the City Council’s administration for its complacent attitude towards tackling parking problems in the West End of the city.
 
At tonight’s City Development Committee, I moved the following motion :
 
“Committee notes with concern that, following the consultation exercise in 2012 in part of the West End Ward relative to a possible residents’ parking scheme, the parking situation for residents and local businesses in the area concerned has worsened.
 
Committee therefore instructs the Executive Director of City Development, during the 2016/17 financial year, to undertake a further consultation with community groups, local residents, the business community and other stakeholders such as the University of Dundee, to ascertain views as to measures short of a parking scheme that covers the whole of the original consultation area, that may have public support for possible future introduction.
 
Committee also instructs the Executive Director of City Development to report back on his findings and recommendations to this committee by 31st March 2017.”
 
My motion attracted 12 votes but I was outvoted by 15 SNP and Conservative councillors who supported “the status quo.”
 
It is highly disappointing that SNP and Conservative Councillors showed such complacency in failing to support further consultation with the community to find ways forward to improve parking in the West End.    I am very unimpressed with their ‘do nothing’ response to my proposal.  It will now clearly need a change of direction after the 2017 council election to ensure the parking issue is properly tackled.    Meantime, I will continue to campaign for parking improvements for the area.
 
Since the failed consultation now some years ago, it is obvious from the level of complaints from residents that the parking situation is getting worse not better and that local people find it increasingly difficult to get parked near their homes.    I therefore feel strongly that the council simply cannot walk away from the problem but must consider some further consultation on revised proposals – for example on a mix of different solutions each covering smaller areas, rather than the ‘wide area’ proposal suggested back in 2012.   
 
There’s a real need to be proactive on the very significant parking problems for residents and businesses in the area.

Complacent attitude over West End parking slammed

As reported in today’s Courier, I have slammed the council’s SNP administration for its wholly inadequate and complacent attitude towards tackling parking problems in the West End.
I recently called for a further consultation with residents over the area’s parking problems and am hugely unimpressed with the council’s ‘do nothing’ response to this.
As residents know, plans were previously put forward back in 2012 for residents to consider a residents’ parking scheme which would have given local residents priority for parking in the area of the West End south of Blackness Road and east of Windsor Street.   

However, with permits being proposed at £80 a year, residents rejected the proposal as the planned West End scheme was 16 times more expensive than the parking scheme in Menzieshill, a price differential I consider unacceptable and discriminatory.
Since the failed consultation now some years ago, it is obvious from the level of complaints from residents that the parking situation is getting worse not better and that local people find it increasingly difficult to get parked near their homes.  
I therefore feel strongly that the council simply cannot walk away from the problem but must consider some further consultation on revised proposals – for example on a mix of different solutions each covering smaller areas, rather than the ‘wide area’ proposal suggested back in 2012.  

Crucially, the council cannot expect to get public support for a parking scheme 16 times more expensive for residents than another council one in the city.   Schemes must be fair and consistent in charging policy.
I raised the matter again with the City Council and the Director of City Development has responded as follows :
“I have consulted with my convener on this issue and our position is that this issue was fully tested through a formal
public consultation on a Residents Parking Scheme for the area, but this was firmly rejected by local residents.    Our resources have therefore moved onto to other priority areas.
“We will of course always try to assist with minor localised adjustments to waiting restrictions through our annual report to committee, but I am unable to revisit the issue of residents parking provision in the West End at this time.”
The SNP administration may well have “moved on” but it has done so having failed to tackle the major parking problems in this part of the West End and I view this complacency as hugely concerning.   
However, if the administration intends to sit on its hands and do nothing to help West End residents, they’ll find I take a different view and I will therefore be bringing the issue to the council’s City Development Committee so the parking problems can be properly debated and discussed and a further consultation given proper consideration.  
It is simply not good enough for the administration to have a ‘do nothing’ approach so I have formally requested a debate on the parking issue is brought before committee as soon as possible.

 

The administration wants to sweep this issue under the carpet but I am unprepared to let that happen.

Review of West End waiting restrictions

Back in 2013, when the proposed West End residents’ parking scheme proposal was rejected, I moved at City Development Committee that, at the very least, the department should review West End waiting restrictions.

 
This would allow the council to see if any yellow lining was now redundant/superfluous to requirements to hopefully free up some additional parking space.    
 
This exercise has now been completed and there are now proposals to do just that in various streets – you can download what is being proposed here.
 
I have been advised by the council that a cost estimate has been requested and, once approved, a Works Order will be made to allow the necessary lining removal to take place.


The Courier covered the waiting restrictions progress in yesterday’s paper and also highlights my view that there is a real need for City Council transportation officers to look at residents’ priority parking again, given the flaws in the previous consultation.


The complacent response from the Convener of City Development to this is extremely disappointing and is a real concern to the very many West End residents who find great difficulty parking near their homes.


This is an issue I will continue to pursue on behalf of local residents in the West End.

Helping attract more Christmas shoppers to Dundee …

I have called on Dundee City Council to consider having two free parking Saturdays in the City Centre’s council-owned car parks in the run-up to Christmas to boost the attractiveness of the city to the wider region for Christmas shopping.    I have also said the City Council should look for additional ways to help promote the city’s district shopping centres such as Perth Road, Broughty Ferry, Blackness Road, Nethergate/South Tay Street/West Port and Lochee in the run-up to Christmas.
 
I contacted the City Council’s Head of Transportation about the Saturday free parking suggestion and received the following response :
 
“This has been looked at in recent years and the fee for parking is not seen as the main attractor or disincentive, more so the availability of modern, safe and accessible facilities and the destination’s attractiveness ie Dundee City Centre is a chosen destination for many people.”
 
While I agree that modern, safe and accessible parking facilities are vitally important, I think the council should be considering some limited free City Centre parking in the run-up to Christmas.  
 
Dundee is already an attractive place for out of town shoppers to do their Christmas shopping and some limited free parking would further help.   
 
Additionally the council should be doing more to help promote the great small businesses in district shopping centres like the West End, Broughty Ferry and Lochee.

Council criticised for lack of progress on parking improvements

I have today criticised the City Council’s lack of progress on a commitment given last year to look at several ways of easing parking problems in the West End short of a residents’ parking scheme, following the rejection of such a scheme by residents in the area south of Blackness Road and east of Windsor Street.
 
It was no surprise that the residents’ parking scheme idea was rejected by the majority of residents as the proposed £80 cost and proposal to charge visitors for parking in the area was a pretty unsellable idea, but I was anxious that something positive comes out of the consultation process and, looking at the consultation returns from residents and local businesses, there were a number of good ideas the council should consider taking forward.
 
At council committee in April 2013, the council unanimously agreed to my suggestion to:

… remit the Director of City Development to undertake a review of all waiting restrictions in the West End area of the City and to report back to the Committee in early course with his views regarding any additional parking space which could be achieved by removing any current waiting restrictions which are no longer appropriate or necessary.

However, it has now emerged that, one year on, the council has made no progress on this review, despite assurances that progress would be made by autumn of last year.
 
The Council’s Head of Transportation has now advised me:
No significant progress has been made in terms of reviewing the wider waiting restrictions on and off street in the West End of Dundee.  Current resources in terms of traffic regulation orders is focussing on new developments and on road safety priorities.  I would advise that there are several area wide reviews outstanding across the City and it is unlikely that any significant progress will be made on these until 2015.
 
We are training more staff to review traffic regulation orders which will allow us to make progress in future years.
I am distinctly unimpressed with the council’s lack of progress, which flies in the face of assurances that had been previously given and I have now called on the City Council to put some momentum behind the committee decision to undertake the review ‘in early course.’
 
Residents rejected the parking scheme but the council should be doing other things to help if it could only put some momentum into the process.   The most obvious one is to look again at the extent of waiting restrictions to see what additional parking space could be safely created.   This is not only about removing yellow paint off some roads where it would be of benefit to residents, but also in some places making some of the current double yellow lines into single yellow would help residents at weekends and in the evening.
 
It agreed to look at this issue street by street in the West End and come up with some recommendations to consult local people with.  It also agreed to look at ways local car parks could operate better.   
 
It is vital that some good comes out of the residents’ parking scheme consultation and that all reasonable steps are taken to help West End residents get their cars parked a little easier so I am calling on the council to now act promptly on the commitment it has already given.

No improved parking facilities at Hunter Street anytime soon

Six years ago, the City Council approved a report to provide a replacement car park in Hunter Street at the edge of the university campus.  As the Planning and Transport Convener of the day, I welcomed this proposal.    
 
The advantages of improved parking facilities on the campus edge are obvious and the facility would also assist residents in the West Port and wider local area, where parking is difficult.   It would also relieve many West End streets from university-related on-street parking.
 
Back in 2012, I criticised the current SNP administration for quietly ditching the commitment to build the multi storey car park (MSCP) at Hunter Street, despite the fact it was a decision of the City Council to build it and the SNP group had welcomed the plans when first proposed.
 
I recently asked the council’s Director of City Development for an update on ‘progress’ and here is his response:
 
“The situation is unchanged from my previous response in October 2012.  While the Olympia MSCP is experiencing a monthly growth in patronage of 8%, currently there is no viable case for a further MSCP at Hunter Street.
 
I do not have a set timescale for reviewing this issue.  Basically we need to see how/if parking patronage bounces back as we come out of the recession, if it does and we have a resultant shortage of off-street parking, then we would see if a new MSCP was viable.”
 
I will be continuing to press for the long-promised improved parking facilities at Hunter Street, although it appears clear that there is currently a lack of momentum on this from the City Council and its SNP administration.

Waiting Restrictions Review in part of the West End Ward

Back in April, I mentioned that I had chaired a residents’ meeting at Pleasance Court at which one of the matters discussed was the proposal by the City Council to review the parking waiting restrictions on streets in the area.
 
This should hopefully free up some additional on-street car parking in the area – including quite a wide area to the east of Pleasance Court towards Lochee Road to the north and Hawkhill to the south.
 
As a preliminary part of the legal procedures to be undertaken to give effect to the proposals, the Council be undertaking public consultation soon and you can download plans of the current situation and the proposals here.

Hope for some West End parking improvements

I have welcomed the commitment by council transportation officials to look at several ways of easing parking problems in the West End short of a residents’ parking scheme, following the rejection of such a scheme by residents last year.
 
Along with my West End councillor colleagues, I met with transportation officials yesterday to look at what steps could be considered to improve parking and ease particular problem sites and a number of possible proposals are to be investigated, with recommendations likely to come forward in the autumn.
 
It was no surprise that the residents’ parking scheme idea was rejected by the majority of residents as the proposed £80 cost and proposal to charge visitors for parking in the area was a pretty unsellable idea, but I am anxious that something positive comes out of the consultation process and, looking at the consultation returns from residents and local businesses, there are a number of good ideas the council should consider taking forward.
 
The most obvious one is to look again at the extent of waiting restrictions to see what additional parking space could be safely created.   This is not only about removing yellow paint off some roads where it would be of benefit to residents, but also in some places making some of the current double yellow lines into single yellow would help residents at weekends and in the evening.
 
Council transportation officials have agreed to look at this issue street by street in the West End over the forthcoming period and come up with some recommendations to consult local people with.  They also agreed to look at ways local car parks could operate better.
 
A number of other aspects were discussed and I am keen to see a minor amendment to the City Centre Parking Scheme to help constituents in parts of West Port and Hawkhill.
 
It is vital that some good comes out of the residents’ parking scheme consultation and that all reasonable steps are taken to help West End residents get their cars parked a little easier and I felt the meeting with transportation officials was positive in that regard.

Still need to tackle West End parking problems as parking scheme proposal rejected

As Dundee City Council publishes its report on residents’ parking in the West End and announces that it will not progress a residents’ parking scheme in the area of the West End that was subject to the parking consultation in autumn 2012, I have made clear that I am unsurprised by the outcome of the consultation as the council had proposed an unworkable scheme that was dead in the water from day one.    You can read the council’s report on the consultation outcomes here.
 
The parking scheme proposed by the council was never likely to command support.   It is an unsellable proposition to expect many West End residents to pay £80 a year to park outside their homes when residents covered by the Menzieshill parking scheme pay only £5 a year.   The failure the address this guaranteed that residents in the West End would reject the proposal, and, to be frank, the proposal to further charge people for their visitors parking in the area was a faintly ridiculous idea.
 
The council must now look for a positive way forward from its failed consultation.    Over 600 people responded and there are many good ideas that residents have suggested.    The council must immediately take steps to undertake a review of waiting restrictions in the area that could free up some additional parking.  
 
The council’s report to next week’s City Development Committee has a “do nothing” feel to it and that is simply not acceptable.    There is a real issue for many people trying to get parked near their homes and the council must look for a positive way forward to help these residents.

A good outcome at Gallagher Retail Park

Last autumn, following a concern raised by a constituent about the need to improve parking arrangements for disabled people at the Gallagher Retail Park, I raised the issue with JP Morgan Asset Management, the retail park owners, who promised to tackle the issue.

All credit to JP Morgan Asset Management – see right.   Drivers with disabilities can now park for up to 4 hours without having to use the ticket machines as long as a Blue Badge is displayed.

A good result.

Parking consultation : Council must act on residents’ views

As the consultation period on the proposed West End parking proposals ended, I spoke on the STV news last Friday evening about the issue.
 
It is vital that Dundee City Council actually listens to the views of the hundred of residents and businesses who have responded to the parking consultation.    I’ll eat my hat if the council’s proposal for a £80 parking permit finds favour in the responses the council has received.   I have spoken with dozens of residents who were critical of the council’s flawed proposal but absolutely nobody who thought the council got the parking scheme proposal right.    However, the parking problems for many residents will remain and it is therefore vital that the council looks carefully at the ideas put forward by residents.
 
The detail of the scheme proposed by the council wasn’t properly thought through and was a dead duck the day it was announced because it failed in three key aspects:
 
a)    Charging West End residents 16 times as much for their permits as Menzieshill residents – totally inequitable and unfair.
b)    Charging West End residents for their visitors’ parking when the Menzieshill scheme allows free visitor parking, albeit for a limited period.
c)    Failure to provide new car parking provision at the University of Dundee campus to ease parking congestion on West End streets – as I have previously highlighted.
 
I have heard some very sensible suggestions from residents that could be taken forward in the areas of parking difficulty even in the council’s flawed £80 permit parking scheme is rejected – these include addition parking provision near the university campus and a review of waiting restrictions at several locations.    
 
The vitally important thing now is that Dundee City Council actually listens to the views expressed in consultation responses.

West End Parking consultation ends today …

The consultation period relative to the proposals for part of the West End ends today.   I am on Radio Tay news this morning about this – click ‘play’ below to listen:
You can still respond to the consultation as long as the City Council receives your comments today.   This can be done electronically.   More details (plus a link to the on-line questionnaire) are available here.

West End residents’ parking proposals – don’t forget to give your views

I have previously updated residents about the public consultation on residents’ parking in part of the West End, in an area that approximately covers west of Marketgait, east of Richmond Court and south of Blackness Road.
 
A reminder that the consultation ends on 21st December and I would encourage all residents in or near the area – or any other resident or local business with views – to give their feedback before the deadline.    
 
You can read full details of the consultation here and you can download the questionnaire at http://tinyurl.com/westendparkingform

Monday activities

This afternoon, after a number of visits to constituents, I attended the public exhibition about the parking proposals for part of the West End.
 
The exhibition was well attended – see right – but what is very clear from speaking with residents at this that they want a proper public meeting at which the plans can be discussed and questions answered.   The council is currently planning no public meeting and at last week’s West End Community Council, I raised this concern.   
The Community Council is therefore inviting the council’s Head of Transportation to its next meeting – this is a public meeting – and I hope he will accept the invitation.    It was impossible in the atmosphere of the exhibition at the library to hear all the points being made and answered.   A proper public meeting is therefore vital.
 
I spoke with the Director of City Development before council committees tonight and stressed this point.
 
After my two Monday ward surgeries at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre, I attended council committees at the City Chambers.    This evening, the first special Policy and Resources Committee on policing policy and performance took place.    This will become the replacement for the Tayside Police Board when the new single police force across Scotland takes effect next April.
 
I asked questions about performance information being provided at ward level, queried domestic housebreaking levels and provision of home security advice and praised the high level of public satisfaction with the quality of police service across the West End and Lochee (Dundee Section 2).

Parking proposals – exhibition at Blackness Library

I am on Radio Tay news and Wave 102 news this morning urging residents in the part of the West End that is currently subject to parking consultation to turn out today between 3pm and 7pm at Blackness Library to make their voices heard on the council’s proposals for residents’ parking.   You can hear the interview on Wave 102 by clicking “play” below:
Nearly 100 residents have already contacted me directly with their views already – an unprecedented number in such a short time since the proposals were released – and I have urged all of them to respond to the council’s consultation direct to westendresidentsparking@dundeecity.gov.uk or by returning the questionnaire they have been sent by the council.   It is vital that everyone expresses their views as any change in parking arrangements should take place only if it has residents’ support.
 
Without wishing to prejudge the final outcome of the consultation exercise I do have to say that its very clear speaking with the residents who have contacted me that people find it extraordinary that the council is suggesting an £80 charge for West End residents whilst retaining a charge of only £5 for another residents’ scheme in Dundee.    If the council is willing to subsidise a parking scheme in another part of Dundee, it should show equality and do the same across the board.
 
However, cost apart, residents have expressed concerns about other aspects of the council’s proposals.   The proposal of charging for visitors parking have attracted criticism – there are other ways of dealing with visitor parking that many residents feel would work better and we have to remember the need to ensure the ability of shoppers to be able to get parked close to local shops.
 
I cannot stress enough how important it is that residents express their views on this issue, no matter what their views are on the parking issue.    The council must be in listening mode and act on residents’ views and concerns.
 
A questionnaire and maps showing the boundaries of the proposed scheme are on the Dundee City Council website and responses to the consultation by post or email using the form at www.dundeecity.gov.uk should be sent to the City Council by Friday 21st December.

Park and Ride proposals – public exhibition

I have previously updated West End residents on the proposed Park and Ride facility at the land west of Wright Avenue.
 
A public exhibition is taking place on Thursday (8th November) between 2pm and 8pm at Dundee Contemporary Arts in Nethergate in order that all interested residents can view the proposals and make comment.
 
You can read the technical report on the proposal here.

Parking issues across the West End

This morning, along with two of my ward colleagues and City Council officers, we had a useful discussion at Dundee House about the parking problems residents in the Ancrum Drive experience.    Having already held a number of meetings with the residents of the street and organised a walkabout with residents and Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, around the area, it is clear that there is a real issue to be tackled.    

 
I made a number of suggestions this morning about possible additional parking off-street and involving the local residents group Community Spirit Action Group in terms of moving things forward.   City Council engineers will also undertake some survey work.
 
Also today, Dundee City Council finally got round to launching the consultation on a possible residents’ parking scheme for part of the West End – primarily the area round the Perth Road shopping area (and slightly wider) and as far north as around Blackness Road.     The plan below indicates the area covered by the consultation.   You can download a higher-quality PDF of that plan here.
 
Improving residents’ parking is an issue I have campaigned for for many years.   As the Planning & Transport Convener in the previous council administration, moving on from a report by Buchanan transport consultants in 2008, it was my intention and that of the previous administration to move swiftly to consult with residents on detailed proposals to improve parking in West End given that the Buchanan report indicated there was real difficulty for residents getting parked and possible support for some form of parking scheme.
 
The current administration that took over in early 2009 has moved with all the pace of a snail on taking the matter forward but – more than three years late – at last there will be a public consultation on proposals about the parking issue.
 
I would urge residents to take part in the parking public consultation.    There is no magic simple solution that will resolve the parking problems many in the West End face but getting the views of all local residents and businesses will be vital in terms of bringing forward solutions that the community feel will be of benefit.   A key issue will be cost – I cannot see West End residents accepting an £80 annual charge when Menzieshill residents are charged only £5 a year – clearly equality in parking charges across the city is required.
 
The information given to councillors today about the consultation had some confusion in e-mail return addresses (2 different ones – westendresidentsparking@dundeecity.gov.uk but also westendresidentparking@dundeecity.gov.ukand a web link error on the questionnaire that is going to residents and I requested to the City Development Department that these be urgently resolved.
 
I have been advised by the City Council:
 
“IT have confirmed that both email addresses are live and can be used for this consultation exercise.
With regards to the link at the bottom of the questionnaire, we have arranged that the press release that is going out will include a note that this link is incorrect and that all residents/consultees will be directed to the main DCC web address where the consultation is on the front page.”



You can read more about what is being proposed at 

Failure to progress improved parking facilities criticised

I have criticised the City Council’s failure to progress a committee decision to improve parking on the University of Dundee campus edge – at Hunter Street – by simply ‘sitting on the decision’ despite committee approval to proceed.

In May 2008, the City Council approved a report to provide a replacement car park in Hunter Street at the edge of the university campus.  As the Planning and Transport Convener at the time, I greatly welcomed this proposal.

The Hunter Street replacement car park proposal makes a good deal of sense.   There’s a huge parking demand in the area around the university campus and building more provision here would relieve congestion in local streets in the West End.   It is deeply disappointing that the council is failing to progress a committee decision or even bothering to update committee on a decision it took.

I recently asked the City Council’s Head of Transportation for an update on progress with the decision of council committee to progress a replacement Hunter Street car park.    I was advised in response :

“In terms of the Hunter Street Multi Storey Car Park, there is no proposal for Hunter Street in the Capital Plan.  Present parking levels in the city do not justify additional provision.  We need to absorb the new Allan Street/Olympia MSCP before considering any further MSCP provision.”

In response, I pointed out:

“There was a clear commitment to go ahead with this replacement car park after Greenmarket and East Marketgait were completed.   The City Engineer advised me back in 2009 it had got as far as being advertised in the European Journal and the suggestion that parking levels do not justify it flies in the face of the evidence –  it is right on the campus edge.

The project to build a better larger capacity car park at Hunter Street was agreed in 2008.

Given the significant extent of “university related vehicles” parking on many streets in the West End close to the University, the proposal would provide such drivers with a parking facility very close to the campus.

As I recall, a detailed project programme was to be prepared in 2009 but the design, procurement and construction was held back pending other car parks being completed.   When that happened I was given assurances that the project was not being dumped and I would be extremely unhappy if this is now the case.

To quote the Director of City Development from 2010 when the project was put back:

“In light of the downturn in the property development market and the need to evaluate the operational success of the new multi storey car park to be built at East Marketgait, we will not now progress Hunter Street until the medium term ie we will revisit the proposal after 2012.”

Improving the parking here would significantly assist overspill into West End residential streets and make it easier for students and university staff to get parked too.

I recall nothing coming to committee to rescind the original committee approval and I would suggest you can’t just dump the proposal without going back to committee.”

In response, the Director of City Development indicated :

“Fraser

Can I please comment as follows;

1.  The marketing of this site did not deliver a viable development partner.  Since then economic conditions have worsened and general parking demand has reduced across the city centre.  Proceeding with a development project would not be successful at this time.

2.  I would want to have at least a full year’s trading experience at the New Olympia Multi-Storey Car Park, before even considering seeking further prudential borrowing for a further MSCP in the city.  I think that it would be extremely difficult to justify such expenditure at this time.

3.  I have never given an assurance that this project would happen.  The fact that the current approved Capital Plan 2012-16 makes no provision for such a project, reflects the level of commercial doubt over the prudence and viability of such a scheme for the foreseeable future.

We will, however, keep the situation under review should conditions improve.”

I have written back to the Director in the following terms :

“I would be grateful for detail of the evidence of lesser parking demand in the vicinity of Hunter Street.    Whilst I do not doubt your statement that general parking demand in the city centre has lessened in the recent economic climate, Hunter Street would have provided better parking facilities in the vicinity of the University of Dundee Campus, where I see nothing but sustained demand and a situation that, because parking provision is less than supply, a spilling out of vehicles into on-street provision in the West End.

The department is about to consult on a residents’ parking scheme for area of the Perth Road district shopping centre and adjacent streets.  This envisages only ways of rationing the existing provision but has no proposals as to extending provision and dealing with the overflow of vehicles from the campus.   The Hunter Street proposal would have tackled that.   

The original committee report indicated :

“4.3 An Economic Option Appraisal has been carried out to establish and analyse the Strategic Context, the Defined Need for the Project, the Objectives and Constraints and a list of options were identified. The options were examined in detail and a short list of options were subsequently costed and assessed in accordance with the Council’s Capital Budgetary Control guidance.”

Has a further option appraisal been made that gives new evidence for not proceeding?

Furthermore, as there is a “live” committee decision to proceed (12th May 2008), should not, in terms of the council’s democratic processes, you now bring back a report on the matter if the view of your department now conflicts with the council’s agreed policy position?” 

As I have indicated to the Director of City Development, the council is finally about to consult on a residents’ parking scheme for area of the Perth Road district shopping centre and adjacent streets.  My concern is that the council has failed to progress improved parking that would relieve the situation on local streets.

However, in addition to that, it appears that a decision made unanimously by a council committee and at the time welcomed by the now SNP Convener of City Development, has been quietly ditched with no progress but equally no update given to a council committee.    It looks like a case of a decision of the council being simply “sat on” and flies in the face of the democratic processes of the council.

Welcome commitment to improve disabled parking at Gallagher Retail Park

I have welcomed a commitment on the part of the car park operators at the city’s Gallagher Retail Park (see right) to improve parking for people with disabilities.
 
This follows a West End constituent who contacted me recently regarding the issue.   The constituent, who suffers from significant physical disability, wrote :
 
“Dear Councillor Macpherson
 
I visited Marks & Spencer at Gallagher Park, Dundee today.  I was impressed by the number of disabled parking spaces available at the park outside each of the shops.  I parked in a disabled bay outside Marks & Spencer and my understanding is that, unlike council owned car parks, cars displaying a Blue Badge are still required to display a parking ticket. The first 2 hours are free but still require a parking ticket to be displayed.
 
I have an electric wheelchair and drive my own accessible vehicle. I was disappointed therefore to find that the of the three nearest parking ticket machines, none was wheelchair accessible. The nearest one (near the boundary of the car park where the new swimming pool/multi-story car park is being built) is situated behind a row of car parking spaces which were full with parked cars which I was unable to get past. I then tried the next one but it is turned facing away from the roadway and again can only be accessed by someone on foot.  The third one (which backs onto the access road into Gallagher Park) faces the roadway but the button is high and difficult to reach from a sitting position.  A lady kindly pressed the button for me!
 
I would be grateful if you would contact Gallagher Park owners and point out the following:
 
1) For wheelchair users their ticket dispensing machines are not accessible due to their situations.
 
2) Having to go round the car park in a wheelchair looking for an accessible machine is somewhat dangerous as there are many blind corners and car drivers do not expect to turn the corner and expect to meet someone on the roadway in a wheelchair.
 
3) The design of their machines should be such that the button is within reach of a wheelchair user.
 
4) Consideration should be given to ambulant disabled people who are able to walk the short distance from a disabled bay into a nearby shop but find they first have to walk a not inconsiderable distance to a ticket machine and back to their car first. For many ambulant disabled people this is very difficult if not impossible.
 
I would suggest there is an easy answer to this situation. Either the owners of Gallagher Park dispense with the requirement for cars displaying a Blue Badge to also display a parking ticket or accessible parking meters be installed near the disabled bays outside the shops.”
 
I took up the issue with Cordatus, the asset managers of Gallagher Retail Park car park on behalf of the current owners JP Morgan (Gallagher UK sold the car park in 2008) and have now been advised by John Stuart, a representative of JP Morgan Asset Management :
 
“Paul Blyth of Cordatus who are responsible for the oversight of management matters on this park has, I know, been in touch to confirm that he and we will review the position with the company appointed to implement the parking controls on site.
 
The points raised by your constituent are noted and recognised as being well made.  You may, therefore, be assured that we will address the issue with a view to ensuring improved ease of use by wheelchair users.
 
Our only concern is that we should not create circumstances which might permit a recurrence of the abuse previously experienced from those working in the city centre, who have over the past few years been using the facility on a day long basis. I am sure that that can be avoided in whatever change might be made.”
 
The retail park owners and managing agents have responded very promptly to what was a very reasonable point by my West End constituent.    I think his point about either dispensing with the requirement for cars displaying a Blue Badge to also display a parking ticket or accessible parking meters be installed near the disabled bays outside the shops would be a sensible way forward.   
 
It is important that people with mobility difficulties visiting the retail park can park easily and I look forward to seeing the situation improve in the near future.