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.