All three projects developed by Dundee City Council support active travel and enable social distancing during the pandemic have been approved by Sustrans Scotland.
Financial backing will be provided for: 20mph zones in central Broughty Ferry, the Perth Road area, Douglas and Fintry; the closure of Union Street to vehicular traffic; and temporary measures to reduce through traffic in areas where there are higher levels of pedestrian and cycling activity.
More than £450,000 has been made available to Dundee City Council through the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People Fund, which is administered by Sustrans Scotland.
Spaces for People offers funding and support to make it safer for people who choose to walk or cycle for commuting, essential trips and exercise over the coming months.
Alan Ross, Convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said: “COVID-19 has presented us all with a public health emergency and these measures are a further step by the council to help protect the people of Dundee as we move into the next stage of the pandemic.
“It doesn’t take long for good habits to form and when these measures are in place people will quickly get used to being able to use walking and cycling as safe and enjoyable ways of protecting public health, supporting physical distancing and preventing a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in the period after we come out of the current lockdown.”
Kevin Cordell, the council’s cycling spokesperson, added: “Cycling has never been so popular if bike sales and the number of people I see taking their daily exercise and commuting on two wheels is anything to go by. These measures can only boost those numbers and open up more active ways of travelling to more people.”
In total the council was awarded £460,000 from the fund, the bulk of which will be spent on the 20mph zones, with £20,000 to close Union Street to vehicular traffic and £40,000 for through traffic reduction on various routes.
Karen McGregor, Director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “It’s clear that people across Scotland want to do the right thing during Coronavirus. They want to look after their physical and mental health. They also want to make sure that they are keeping to physical distancing guidelines while still being safe on our streets.
“Providing funding support to Dundee City Council through our Spaces for People programme will make it easier and safer for Dundonians to travel around their city for essential travel and exercise.”
Work on bringing in the new measures will get underway in the coming days.
There have been calls for permanent changes, more support for active commuters on the Tay Bridge, and support for public transport operators. Dundee West End councillor Richard McCready, chair of the city’s Labour group and transport partnership TACTRAN, welcomed the bid but called for permanent changes. He said: “It is disappointing that funding is only available for temporary measures. I want to see permanent measures to promote active travel.”
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