Progress with the Sinderins Beacon #dundeewestend

Residents with fairly long memories may remember the “Dundee Decides” participatory budgeting consultation in early 2018.

In the West End, one of the successful projects covered the Perth Road district shopping centre.     Some of that – for example the “Perth Road” seating at the entrance to the Miller’s Wynd car park – has been long completed but there have been repeated delays with the Sinderins Beacon, the proposal for a entrance structure at the west end of the shopping area at Sinderins.

I am pleased to say that there is finally some progress towards completing this.     The council’s Public Art Planning Officer has recently updated me as follows :

“The beacon is in fabrication and the last details for the site works are being worked on.  

I believe the aim is to complete by 31st March. 

However, I am assuming that it cannot be guaranteed as there a few different contractors involved who effected by the pandemic in different ways.”

More information is available below :

Sinderins junction – road markings

Following the recent road resurfacing of Perth Road (West Park Road to Sinderins), residents have pointed out that the junction markings at the Sinderins junction have been repainted wrongly – the right filter lane to allow traffic heading east into the Perth Road shopping area (from Perth Road west of the library) is now missing – see right :
I took this up on behalf of residents with the contractor (Tayside Contracts) and their Road Maintenance Partnership Manager advises :
“The road marking has been reviewed and compared with the original layout. The lining will require to be altered here to provide formal right turn and straight ahead as per existing pre works set up. At this moment in time there is no “Right Turn or Straight Ahead” arrow.   (It has been) … identified that cars were operating the historical two lanes without the formal arrows however, we will check the lane width to ensure this is sufficient and if alterations are required these will also be made. 
The reason behind this not being marked as previously is in relation to reviewing the level of detail issued for each job by the Roads Maintenance Partnership. The level of lining information was not as we have provided in the past, this obviously has not been a success and we will review the process to ensure lining details are provided to meet individual scheme needs in future.
We will look to have the amendments carried out at an appropriate time in the near future.”

Electric vehicles’ charging points in the West End

Back in October, I queried at the City Council’s City Development Committee the proposed possible siting of an electric vehicle charging point on Perth Road, west of Shepherd’s Loan, at the Sinderins junction – see right.
Yesterday, along with a representative of West End Community Council, I met with the council’s Head of Transportation and the Sustainable Transport Team Leader on-site to discuss this.    
Although the principle of providing public electric vehicle charging points is a good one, my concern about this possible site was sight lines for vehicles emerging from Pinegrove.    I am pleased to say the City Council is not proceeding with this site.
We took a walk down Perth Road and into South Tay Street to look at other proposed sites, all of which appear to be fine.     There will also be parking spots for car club vehicles.    These initiatives are being done in such a way as to minimise any loss of general-use car parking.

Road safety – Sinderins junction

A constituent recently expressed concern about the operation of the Sinderins junction, stating:
“I have become increasingly conscious of a potential danger at the foot of Blackness Avenue. There seems to be a great increase in traffic flow at this junction.
Traffic going east from Perth Road into Hawkhill can take so long that the lights change to red forcing traffic turning from Hawkhill into Blackness Avenue  to do so on the red light.
Is there a need for a green arrow to allow the Hawkhill into Blackness Avenue traffic safe passage?”     
I raised the matter with the Head of Transportation at Dundee City Council who has responded as follows:
“I have had my staff in Urban Traffic Control (UTC) to have a look at the Sinderins junction and the signal settings relating to the right turn from Hawkhill into Blackness Avenue.  
The traffic signals allows a significant amount of time for vehicles to make the right turn movement up Blackness Avenue after the main road signal turn red.   Once vehicles have passed the stopline they are allowed to turn right on a red light as the intergreen periods are set up to allow them to do so safely and clear the junction. It is possible to install a right turn indicative arrow however this will require a re-analysis of the junction performance and it could be detrimental to overall junction capacity.  
In the last three and a bit years there has been two slight injury accidents at this location,  one involved a pedestrian who was under the influence of alcohol the other one was a rear end shunt and did not involve vehicles turning right up Blackness Avenue.
As far as increased traffic levels I would assume that this may be related to roadworks in the Central Waterfront area displacing traffic onto other routes such as the Perth Road.  I will arrange UTC staff to monitor this junction to see whether this is a prevalent problem during the peak periods as this is when the problem is most likely to occur.”

Getting things done … Sinderins junction

Yesterday, I received constituent concerns about the length of lights sequence at the Sinderins junction.
The concern was that whilst vehicles sitting in Hawkhill going west into Perth Road have a long period of “green” and many vehicles get through on green, vehicles heading the same direction but leaving from Perth Road (shopping area) to continue along Perth Road get an inadequate time with only 4-5 cars getting through on green.   
The result was build ups along Perth Road eastwards into the shopping area.
I brought the matter to the attention of the City Council’s Head of Transportation who advised me:
Lights being repaired at dusk yesterday

“Thank you for advising of local concerns over the operation of the traffic signals.

We are aware of this problem and there is an intermittent detector fault which is affecting the performance of the junction. 

The UTC team and the maintenance contractor are trying to isolate the fault and action a repair.”
I was pleased to note late yesterday afternoon that the matter was being attended to on-site by engineers – see photograph (right).

Getting things done : Sinderins junction

Back in August, I participated in a site visit regarding the issue of drivers on Perth Road heading west at the Hawkhill/Perth Road/Blackness Avenue junction mistakenly looking at the “Hawkhill heading west” light at the library.   
The matter was successfully resolved then, with the City Council fitting longer visors to the lights for west-bound drivers outside the library, so the lights there could be seen only from its intended direction of Hawkhill.
However, I received this from a constituent last week:
“I have just driven through the Perth road shops area heading west and the car in front of me mistakenly drove through the lights on red.   The shades/screens didn’t seem to be at the correct angle, whereas I distinctly remember them working well some time ago.”
I took up the matter with the City Council and have now been advised by a senior engineer:
“I viewed Sinderins junction today and saw that the internal louvre units had been ripped out.    I am putting this down to high winds.  I have instructed our maintenance contractor to rectify these units as quickly as possible.”

Sinderins fight concern

As reported in today’s Courier, I have expressed my concerns and those of West End constituents about the weekend fight near Sinderins in which around 30 people were involved and which left a 51-year-old man needing hospital treatment for a head wound.

 This is a matter of concern to residents, particularly as it took place in an area where such behaviour is extremely unusual.

I have been in touch with Tayside Police regarding the matter.

Digital switchover confusion


Oh no it doesn’t – it happened last August!

I recently spoke with a resident who lives just south of Perth Road in the Sinderins area.    She was surprised to have received a mailing in the past few days from Digital UK about TV digital switchover when, like all other residents in the area, she had done this last August.

The mailing was aimed at occupiers of flats and it talks about switchover happening from May of this year.   I queried this with Digital UK and am advised by their Assistant National Manager :

“The simple answer is that constituent will have received the mailing as she has a chance of receiving a signal from Craigkelly. Where someone is in an area where there is a chance of receiving signals from different transmitter groups, we include them in mailings for all the relevant transmitters they could be getting their signals from.

We try and target the information we issue as specifically as we can. But, as you can imagine there are some areas where crossovers exist and we have to cover all bases. As you know we do not know which properties have and have not made the switch, so we need to include all possible properties in case they are included in that particular transmitter group.

We appreciate that this will cause confusion for some who made the switch in August. To deal with this, we have a three-point ‘What to do’ list in the leaflet and the first point is to speak to your landlord or property manager to see if anything needs to be done. Any good landlord/property manager should know the answer to this straight away.”

The Craigkelly transmitter covers part of the STV Central area (Edinburgh/Lothians/South Fife) and although quite a few residents in southern parts of the West End may get TV signals from it, it is very much a “secondary” transmitter for the area as its target audience is largely south of Glenrothes/Central Fife.   This resident’s primary transmitter is Tay Bridge in the STV North area and it was part of the STV North digital switchover that happened last August.

Although this resident is not elderly, as she points out many of her neighbours are elderly and she’s concerned that this mailing may cause them some confusion.    I’ve pointed out to Digital UK that I doubt there’s more than a small handful of people in Dundee who have not already made the digital switch – the vast majority of residents will have transferred to digital TV either before or at the STV North switchover last summer.

The message is simple – if you get a mailing about digital switchover and you have already switched to digital TV, ignore the mailing – but if you need any advice, contact Digital UK on 08456 50 50 50.

Busy Monday

This morning, after a meeting with the Director of Education and the Head of Secondary Education regarding the report that went to Education Committee tonight about the Harris Academy improved school buildings project, I met with City Development officers as well as representatives from West End Community Council and Blackness Primary School Parent Council at the Sinderins junction (see above) as a follow-up to our meeting there a couple of months ago to discuss safety issues.

There’s been good progress since the April site visit – the time length of the noise signal to advise pedestrians that it is safe to cross has been doubled in time length – this is a very welcome improvement. We also discussed possible safety barriers at Hawkhill, improving lights visibility for drivers on Perth Road heading west, and repairs to the tactile surface on the pavement on Perth Road, near to the junction with Shepherd’s Loan.

After my two surgeries at the Mitchell Street Centre and Harris Academy late this afternoon (my last there until after the school summer holidays), I attended a marathon session of City Council meetings, including :

* All-party agreement on new scrutiny arrangements. A good example of cross-party co-operation that I would welcome more of on the council. I also welcomed the merging of three committees into one – something I moved for over a year ago, but was at that time outvoted on. It is important that the council streamlines its committee structure and today’s agreement on merging efficiency, audit and scrutiny committees into one makes a great deal of sense.

* Education Committee – I expressed concern that the report on the Harris Academy – Review of Feasibility Study report delays the project start to around Autumn 2013. I sought assurances about front-ending the project to achieve an earlier start, and on Scottish Government’s legal commitment to the project. I also sought assurances about consultation with parents and pupils and the establishment of a project board. At this committee, I also asked questions about the effect of the review of Grove House on providing proper office accommodation for city council staff.

* City Development Committee – I welcomed progress at the proposed Riverside Nature Park.

* Leisure, Arts and Communities Committee – I welcomed a report about allotments strategy, deplored recent vandalism at allotments and asked a question about securing funding, particularly for security fencing.

* Housing, Environment and Contract Services Committee – I asked a question on recycling – particularly about plastics and aluminium recycling, something I (and many constituents) wish to see further promoted.

* Policy and Resources Committee – I asked a question about the robustness of projected capital receipts for council house sales, moved an amendment that would have given all parties representation on the Dundee Partnership Board, not just the SNP and Labour (I lost 15-11 but thank Conservative and Labour members and the Independent Depute Lord Provost for support), and was pleased to see a Labour amendment for a cross-party working group to promote jobs in Dundee getting all party support.

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.

Hawkhill Bus Stop damage – action taken

Following concerns raised by residents about damage to the bus stop on the north side of Hawkhill, east of the Sinderins junction, I raised the concern with the City Council and have received the following feedback from the City Development Department:

“I have asked the contractor to go and check the said bus stop this morning with a view to replacing the perspex. He will also check the issue with the wiring, which I am led to believe is the solar powered wiring from the battery inside the pole. This is not an electrical issue.

I am also hopeful that the new flag replacement will start from next week where all of the flags will be replaced and the numbered tiles will be removed. I have to speak with Trueform today regarding the programme for the flag replacement.”

Hannah’s Highway latest …

Good to see the progress with the dropped kerbing programme on Perth Road, with the work starting earlier this week at the Union Place junction.

The original intention had been to ensure full dropped kerbing on Perth Road on the north side between Duncan of Jordanstone and Sinderins but the good news is that the south side will now see improvements too. To quote an update from the City Council to me today :

“Dropped kerb access will be available on both footways between Sinderins and West Marketgait once the contract is complete either by the end of March or very early into the new financial year.

This has become possible due to available funding achieved through efficiencies work methods.”

Site visits

Two site visits today :

* One with a planning officer and residents about concerns regarding the state of a building in the West End.

* The other with the Police, Parkwise and a City Development Engineers’ representative to look at parking and vehicle flow issues near the Sinderins. The City Council is going to look at the viability of an additional loading bay, which would help matters. We also discussed the parking issues near to Blackness Primary School.

New CCTV for the West End

Residents will welcome the new CCTV provision currently being installed at Sinderins (see above), which will extend CCTV coverage westwards on Perth Road, past its existing end point at the Roseangle junction.

The new CCTV is primarily being provided to improve bus punctuality, but will obviously be of assistance to the Police in terms of crime detection in the future too.

Hawkhill – north footpath

Some months ago, I highlighted to the City Council the need for footpath repairs to the north side of Hawkhill, a bit east of the Sinderins junction.    It is near to a bus stop and residents, especially elderly bus passengers, were concerned about its condition particularly when alighting from the bus.
I am pleased that these repairs have now been carried out;   a minor but welcome improvement.

New CCTV provision for Dundee’s West End

After years of campaigning for improved CCTV provision in the West End, I am pleased to report progress has now been achieved, with agreement to provide an additional CCTV unit covering the Sinderins area.At the moment CCTV provision only extends along Perth Road as far as the Roseangle junction and I have over a long period of time received requests from residents and local businesses for the CCTV provision to extend westwards.

We have a busy and vibrant district shopping area along Perth Road right up to Sinderins with a significant night-time economy with restaurants, pubs, etc, and having CCTV towards Sinderins would be greatly welcomed by the local community.

I recently discussed the matter at a meeting I had with new Chief Constable Kevin Mathieson who indicated that progress was being made on an extension of CCTV provision to Sinderins.

I have since received full details from the City Council and TACTRAN, the Regional Transport Partnership.TACTRAN is funding this new CCTV provision through the bus punctuality improvement partnership primarily to improve traffic management and efficiency of the signals at Sinderins (as well as a similar project in Broughty Ferry) using pooled capital funding.

I have been advised that the high spec camera will also be suitable for police purposes as well as traffic. As the area is a conservation area, there will be a consultation period before installation but it is hoped to have the new CCTV camera in place later in the autumn.I am very pleased at the progress with news on CCTV here although there will remain other parts of the area that would benefit from similar improvements in the future.

Good news at Sinderins!

Pleased to learn today that the graffiti on the very prominent utilities boxes at Sinderins junction has been cleared off, following my request. As you can see, it looks a whole lot improved.

The Evening Telegraph has contacted me today about the graffiti issue; this is an area where the City Council has been very proactive, reaching agreement with Virgin Media (formerly Telewest) about action to remove graffiti.
One other site I have asked to be given priority given the extent of residents’ complaints is at Corso Street (see below left). I have also asked the Leisure & Communities Department to remove graffiti at Victoria Park (below right).
Useful meeting with the River Crescent Residents’ Association last night about a number of issues including the noise of helicopters from Dundee Airport.
Tonight the West End Community Council meets – you can get further details/agenda by clicking on the headline above.

Graffiti on Utilities Boxes

Residents will be aware that I have raised with the City Council on numerous occasions the problem of graffiti on utilities boxes. The Council has spoken with the principal owner (a TV cable company) and agreement has been reached regarding removal.
The council surveyed the problem across the City and is now tackling them. I recently specifically sent reminders about Sinderins and also raised the issue at Ancrum Drive/Road (and some others), following residents’ complaints. I have received this feedback from Waste Management today, which is helpful :
“I’ve asked the team to prioritise the boxes at Sinderins and to rank the other boxes in order of priority. We are aware of the boxes at Ancrum.”

Sinderins and Recycling Update

Following yesterday’s site visit to the Sinderins junction (pictured right) – see story immediately below!- I was advised last night that the Planning & Transportation Department arranged for the detector at Shepherd’s Loan to be replaced yesterday afternoon and the new, different style detector, is functioning much better.
Pleased to also advise that a new waste bin has been placed at the Ryehill Lane/Perth Road junction following a resident mentioning this need to me and my raising the matter with the Waste Management Department.
Waste Management is also progressing a resident’s suggestion I passed on to them that bollards need to be placed round the recycling site at Roseangle to improve access. And whilst we are on the subject of recycling, following a resident’s enquiry to me about improved household recycling arrangements needed in Magdalen Yard Road, a positive response from the department :
“There is currently a review being undertaken by the dept to assess areas of Dundee where there are currently no wheeled bins provided. The aim is to introduce wheeled bin collections wherever possible (including for paper and garden waste). I have received confirmation that Magdalen Yard Road will be assessed as part of the review. Unfortunately I am not able to provide a date by which the review will be finalised (Management Services are currently re-programming their work load) but it will be complete by the end of this year.”
I will continue to press the case for improved recycling facilities right across the West End.

Sinderins, Roseangle, Newhall Gardens and Pennycook Lane

Attended last night’s Blackness Area Residents’ Association meeting and this morning, along with local residents, met on-site with Planning & Transportation Department officers at Sinderins to look at the operation of the junction following an accident involving a local resident here before Christmas. Changes to the way that vehicles “trip” the lights sequence at the top of Shepherd’s Loan were agreed. Additionally, alterations to both exits from Pinegrove (better signage at Shepherd’s Loan exit and alteration to the ‘stop’ line at Perth Road exit) were agreed.

Have also reported dangerous area on pavement in Roseangle caused by a dripping pipe from a derelict building (see right), need for a grit bin at the west end of Newhall Gardens, and secured a promise that the company which operates the clothing recycling bin at Pennycook Lane will empty it more frequently.

Sinderins Junction

Before Christmas, a local resident was very unfortunately involved in an accident at the Sinderins junction (a pedestrian crossing near Shepherd’s Loan).
I have already been in discussion with the City Council about the operation of the Sinderins Junction (Perth Road/Hawkhill/Blackness Avenue/Shepherd’s Loan) and have requested a site visit with road safety staff.
I will keep residents advised on this issue, as always.