Dundee City Council has appointed consultants Jacobs to investigate active transport links between the Western Gateway and the city’s amenities.
Jacobs to provide an option appraisal report that identifies any new or improved connections that could increase the number of journeys made by walking and cycling travel. The report will also consider ways of improving existing routes.
The firm will consult with a number of interested parties including Sustrans, Tactran, Dundee Cycling Forum, Western Gateway Community Group, West Green Park Residents and Proprietors Association, neighbouring local authorities and community councils, Dundee Biking, Riding and Walking (BRAW) Forum, developers and landowners.
This comes as a new report by the council said increasing walking, cycling and other forms of active travel in Dundee could have considerable health and economic benefits for the city according to a new report.
Commissioned by Dundee City Council the Walking & Cycling: The Benefits for Dundee report highlights 11 different ways that people, business and the environment would profit from increased active travel.
The report, also compiled by Jacobs late last year, is also backed by Transport Scotland and walking and cycling charity, Sustrans.
Mark Flynn convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said: “There is plenty of evidence from other places about the benefits of active travel, but we wanted to bring that home and focus on how more walking and cycling could improve every aspect of life in Dundee.
“It doesn’t shy away from the challenges that we will all need to overcome, not just in changing the way we think about walking and cycling, but also the need for investment and changes in city infrastructure.
“And as well as indicating how places, people and business could prosper with more active travel, it also offers us a route map towards how this could be done.”
The 24-page report details how more active travel would boost every aspect of the city including:
- Increased retail spend;
- reduced congestion;
- less pollution and carbon emissions;
- improved access to goods and services;
- more leisure/tourism; and
- reduced business costs.
It breaks down the ways in which these would be felt across four different areas of the city – outer industrial/retail, neighbourhood centres, residential areas and the city centre.
To be able to realise these gains the report identifies the need for a strategic active travel network in Dundee linking neighbourhood centres and other key attractions via high quality, direct, convenient and safe routes on which people walking, wheeling and cycling are segregated from general traffic, and which provide dedicated space to both pedestrians and cyclists.
It adds that the city should aspire to complement the strategy with minor improvements including:
- Wide, well-surfaced, drained, lit footways and footpaths and cycle paths, segregated from traffic and pedestrians where possible and appropriate;
- good facilities for cyclists at destinations, including cycle parking appropriate for all types of cycles;
- low traffic volumes and speeds, with effective, safe crossing points where active travel routes cross roads; and
- the support mechanisms to enable and encourage more Dundonians to walk, wheel and cycle more often.
Cllr Kevin Cordell, the council’s cycling spokesperson said: “The thoroughly researched evidence in this report not only busts a few myths about how suitable Dundee’s terrain is for cycling, it also heads off many of the ‘yes, but’ arguments that some opponents use against the economic advantages.
“The cycling and walking benefits for Dundee report gives us a reliable and valuable resource to take into account when making transformational decisions about the future shape of the city and how we get around it.”
Speaking about the Western Gateway work, Mark Flynn convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “As with every other community one size does not fit all in the Western Gateway, but we want to find out how more people can be encouraged to use active travel as an option for short and longer journeys.
“Historically the focus of place making has been on serving the desires of drivers, but cyclists and walkers want and need infrastructure improvements and initiatives to support their choices. Active travel options provided as part of a mixed approach has proven benefits, not just for individuals but also in improving the city’s health and economic prospects.”
Bill Batchelor of the Western Gateway Community Group added: “We have looked at and discussed in some detail the scope of works being covered by the consultants and are very positive about them.
“The Western Gateway development offers the council and the wider city a chance to consider the needs of people who want to walk and cycle and this study will help pave the way for that.”
The findings are expected to be reported to the council by the autumn.