Cyclists and walkers using Dundee’s main active travel route should expect more accidents this winter, it has been claimed, after officials confirmed there is no plan to grit the city’s waterfront path.
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander assured cycle campaigners last March his officials would look into “reshaping” current funding to treat the key route during winter weather.
But it has emerged the work will not go ahead this winter due to a combination of costs, timescales and Brexit.
Has council inaction put cyclists in danger this winter?
Russell Pepper is from the Dundee Cycle Forum. He gave a deputation to councillors outlining the dangers of the untreated path ahead of the local authority’s budget setting meeting earlier this year.
He says without winter maintenance accidents would happen on the route.
“When they do – because it’s not even an if – we will be reporting that to the council.
“They are knowingly not doing something and there will be accidents caused.”
He hoped an interim solution could still be put in place this winter.
But he says Dundee winter cycling accidents would only be avoided when officials put a more permanent solution in place. He hopes that will happen from next winter.
Where is the city cycle route and why does it matter?
The entire Dundee city stretch is around 15km long.
It is one of the most popular routes for commuters and leisure travellers in the city. Many link the route with other destinations in the city centre or to Ninewells Hospital.
Due to inaction and misplaced priorities by @DundeeCouncil on gritting the waterfront route, leaving it dangerous and icy, people are now seriously considering doing it themselves!
— Russell Pepper (@openclosedundee) December 5, 2021
Dundee City Council officials commissioned a quote for the work this summer. Ensuring the path remains safe for active travellers this winter would have cost a total of £57,000, according to the papers.
The annual cost would have been £35,615 a year, including lease hire of a specialist gritter to complete the work.
DCC officials would have spent a further £22,300 in a one-off cost preparing the route for regular treatment.
The estimates will have gone up since June when officials completed the work.
Councillors agreed a £373 million city spending package in March 2021.
Why is the Dundee path being left untreated, creating winter accident risk?
Councillor Mark Flynn is the SNP group lead for sustainable transportation.
He said his administration had “already delivered more cycling investment than any other”.
“We gave a commitment to explore gritting options for the NCN 1/77.
“That work was carried out but unfortunately, the timescales involved for making the changes and ordering equipment was not in our favour with challenges such as Brexit, complicating matters.
“We are looking to bring forward proposals that will address this fully and again, demonstrate our commitment.”
A Dundee City Council spokesperson confirmed the winter maintenance service plan currently does not include gritting of the NCN 1/77.
“We are continuing to engage with the Scottish Government to seek support for active travel provision including winter maintenance.”