Campaigning for the West End and across Dundee

Today, I had the pleasure of campaigning with North East Scotland MSP Alison McInnes across the West End, starting with a visit to Dundee rail station, at which Alison and I welcomed potential improvements that would see station refurbishment to the tune of £14 million – see right.

A report to the City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee next week identifies that £11.68m of the funding has been secured with the remaining £2.23m being sought from Network Rail.   It is vital that remaining funding is achieved and I will be seeking assurances to achieve that.

After visiting the rail station, Alison and I had an enjoyable time in the West End and she thereafter campaigned in Broughty Ferry, where my colleague Craig Duncan is running a superb local election campaign on behalf of Broughty Ferry residents.

Riverside Drive Walkway – an update

Further to my article earlier this month about concerns from residents about the state of the walkway from the railway station to Tesco Riverside and the fact that it is claustrophobic given the concrete barriers that Network Rail has insisted upon being in place as the adjacent roadway runs in parallel to the rail station concourse, I have now received the following useful update from the City Council’s Director of City Development:

“We have now met with Network Rail and they have agreed that we can extend the Riverside layby to both the east and the west. Network Rail were concerned with the potential for accidental collision to their structure particularly at the new enlarged west access. We have mitigated their concerns by proposing ‘Trief’ safety kerbs at the entrance together with some protective bollards.
I have attached a copy of our plan showing our proposals. The remaining area from our proposed layby to Tesco roundabout has now had shrubs cut back providing much improved visibility and our proposals have reduced the length of high concrete containment barrier by 40% which will dramatically increase vehicular / pedestrian activity at the layby. Together these proposals should improve the security and visual perception of the area.”

I view this as positive progress towards removing the claustrophobic nature of the walkway.   The plans referred to above can be downloaded at http://tinyurl.com/riversidewalkway.

Walkway on Riverside Drive

I have received concerns from residents about the state of the walkway from the railway station to Tesco Riverside, much of which is claustrophobic given the concrete barriers that Network Rail insist upon being in place as the adjacent roadway runs in parallel to the rail station concourse.

In November, the Director of City Development advised me that :

“We currently have plans with Network Rail to extend the Riverside layby as part of the rail station refurbishment/upgrade.  This will require the removal of a section of the containment barrier. We have proposed the barrier be removed, or reduced to the minimum possible requirement.  If successful, we are considering if we could extend this approach as far as the Tesco roundabout (subject to available funding).
In addition, to improve our position with regards to safety, (we are) assessing the potential to reduce the speed limit from the Tesco goods entrance to Discovery Point to 30mph (currently 40mph).”

City Council officials are meeting with Network Rail on this matter and I have asked to be kept updated on developments.

Right turn at the railway station – an update

As I am sitting on a train at the moment, it seems sort of appropriate to update an item I highlighted back in August – the unsatisfactory traffic signalling arrangements on Riverside Drive for drivers turning right (ie from the east) towards the railway station.

A roads safety officer at the City Council has now updated me as follows :

“The filter lane signal has never worked properly and the sensors were removed. The traffic signal engineers have informed me the filter signal head could be removed.

I have just returned from a meeting regarding the phasing of roadworks for the Dundee Central Waterfront project. The road layout round the railway station will be altered in the near future and the signalised junctions will become redundant. I do not propose to undertake any alterations in this area in the meantime.”

Press update …

* This morning’s Courier and Press and Journal covered my concerns over the future of Ward 6 at Royal Victoria Hospital – see http://tinyurl.com/ward6rvh.

* This evening’s Evening Telegraph notes my welcome for nearly £60 000 of funding for a new community and arts centre at Dundee Rail Station, but I also point out the need for substantial investment to improve the station, particularly as it is adjacent to the site of the proposed V&A in Dundee.


* Tomorrow’s press will report on Dundee Councillors’ Salaries and Expenses for 2009/10. Dundee’s two Liberal Democrat councillors – Helen Dick and myself – have the lowest salary/expenses of all councillors across the city in 2009/10. Along with two of the three Conservative councillors, we did not accept the last pay increase, given the financial challenges facing the City Council. Neither Helen or I have claimed any expenses, throughout our time on Dundee City Council.

Tavish Scott in Dundee

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Tavish Scott MSP, was in Dundee today to give his support for the city’s campaign to see improvements made to Dundee Rail Station. You can hear his news interview on Wave 102 below and read the article in today’s Evening Telegraph by going to http://tinyurl.com/tavishdundee.

A former Minister of Transport for Scotland, Mr Scott believes that the city’s rail station is badly in need of modernisation – it is in poor aesthetic condition and has poor facilities. Given the key improvements to Dundee Waterfront, with funding started by the LibDem/Labour Executive prior to 2007, it is vital that the city has a rail station in the waterfront area that does not sit out like an embarrassing sore thumb next to the proposed V&A and other major improvements along the waterfront of the city.

Tavish made clear that it requires the working together of all stakeholders – primarily Scottish Government/Transport Scotland, Network Rail, First ScotRail, the local authority, the regional transport partnership TACTRAN and Scottish Enterprise if the council’s vision of an improved rail station is to become reality. The failure to give the station priority in the Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Projects Review in December 2008 was a missed opportunity.

Tavish was also in Dundee to support the adoption of Dr Clive Sneddon as Scottish Liberal Democrat Westminster candidate for Dundee East and also visited the University of Abertay to see the university’s expertise in computer games education.

Above : From left – Raymond Lawrie (Dundee LibDem Convener), yours truly, Clive Sneddon (LibDem candidate Dundee East), Tavish, John Barnett (LibDem candidate Dundee West)
Above : Tavish (centre) with Dundee’s Liberal Democrat Westminster Parliamentary Candidates – John Barnett (Dundee West) left and Clive Sneddon (Dundee East) right