The next ten years will see more changes in Dundee to allow for more electric cars, 20mph zones and cycle lanes.
With an expected £230 million budget, changes coming to the city will also include at least a further five ‘no drive’ School Street Zones in addition to the eight already in place around the city.
Councillor Steven Rome, convenor of the council’s Fair Work, Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee, spoke of the need for these coming changes despite the likely impact on people living and working in the city.
He said: “I think we need to be disruptive, because of what we have seen in terms of climate change and people’s health.
“People who use active travel are actually healthier both mentally and physically. This is for the benefit of the majority of people.
“Change is usually difficult, but it’s just something that we need to do.”
More 20mph zones for Dundee
Plenty more 20mph zones, while not always positively received by motorists, are planned for the city.
The Dundee transport plan says the zones should “benefit the ambience of residential neighbourhoods, reduce noise and support the uptake of active travel”.
Lower speeds should help Dundonians to feel safer when walking and cycling in the city.
These zones mean a great deal to the individual communities, as residents in Albert Street made clear during their fight for a 20mph speed limit on the busy stretch.
Work on the proposed 20mph zones will cost half a million pounds, according to the Dundee transport plan.
15% of Dundee vehicles EVs by 2025
In light of Rishi Sunak’s back-pedalling on climate pledges, councillor Rome added that Dundee Council is committed to sticking to their plans.
“I think it’s fundamental to achieve a net zero targets that whenever you have a plan, you stick to it,” he said.
“I think what the 10 year plan does, is say that we have ambitions to meet those targets rather than reverse.”
Though the city already has world-leading charging infrastructure, with a new charging hub seemingly popping up every other week, their ambitions remain high.
Councillors are aiming for 15% of all vehicles in Dundee to be electric by 2025, with a vision for a “customer-focused, reliable and accessible” charging network.
By 2045, when they hope all vehicles will be electric, 31,446 at-home chargers (plus 1,309 public chargers) will be required.
Growing Dundee’s active travel network
Currently, safety concerns remain a barrier to Dundonians getting on their bikes.
Councillors admit that some routes “are not as good as potential users would like
them to be”, and have plans for several active travel updates over the next decade.
However, they identify “significant challenges” in creating a high quality cycle network in Dundee.
Despite this, they have identified a list of active travel updates – routes which encourages modes of transport such as cycling, walking and wheeling – hoped for the next decade.
This includes replacing the Magdalen Green Footbridge with a new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians alike. Also, creating an active travel network in and around Ninewells Hospital Campus.
There will also be further updates to Union Street, a car-free stretch currently enjoyed by businesses and customers alike.
The Broughty Ferry to Monifieth active travel route will also be completed during the next ten years.
Choice not control key for Dundee transport changes
Talk of active travel and 20mph zones can often frustrate motorists who feel they are being limited or controlled. However, councillor Rome said that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I think it’s the opposite,” he said, “I think it’s about giving people options.
“The whole point of active travel is that you, as an individual, have more control over how you get to places.
“If you don’t have the facilities, you don’t have the ways to do that.
“And rather than saying you’re stuck in a local place, it’s that you have the option to use that local place and the standards in those neighbourhoods has raised.
“So I really think rather than control it’s about choice.”
Read the full draft document online here.