LISTEN: Andrew Cave explains how the meeting was received, what was raised and what is next for the discussion on safety improvement
After a significant turnout at the Dunkeld and Birnam Community Council meeting at the start of this week, the transport chair is feels ‘it’s been a very healthy process’ in making the towns streets safer.
Members of the local community, from a cross section of residents, met to discuss what the community council can do to help improve the safety of traffic in the town.
Chair of the Traffic Sub-Committee, Andrew Cave, knows that this is an important issue for the town saying ‘the level of engagement and interest in these matters is really high as evidenced by the number of people willing to sort of log on at seven o’clock on a Monday night and talk about such matters.’
He said: “We were fortunate to have a very good attendance last night from a whole range of different people around the Dunkeld and Birnam area, and a number of small business owners and representatives of other groups, such as the teacher’s parent’s group at the school.
“And what we were discussing was a whole series of issues relating to road safety, sustainable transport, and parking in the Dunkeld and Birnam community council area.”
A representative of the parents and teachers group said that their survey of local parents found 77% of them wanted ‘their children to cycle and active travel’ to school.
But ‘traffic speeding and safety concerns’ were stopping them from doing this.
Ironically, they found more parents were driving their children to school because of the number of cars out on the school run, in their view, making it more dangerous for children to make their way to school independently.
Mr Cave added: “So the kind of issues that keep coming up again, and again, relate to things like speeding through the urban area, say the 20 mile per hour zone, and whether that should be extended different types of enforcement and traffic coming measures. So, you know, ideas around some new speeding camera locations.
“There’s also interest in what gets called some living streets, ideas around houses, or have more mixed use streetscapes. So a mix of sort of pedestrian usage and uncertain traffic coming to reduce the speed of vehicles through the built up area.
“So a number of suggestions around that, a lot of ideas around cycling and how to make cycling safer and more accessible and Dunkeld and Birnam through a combination of sort of cycle pathways and sort of different practices like that.
“There’s also a lot of interest in footpaths and sort of upgrading off-road footpaths. We have a big priority to try and get a proper off-road footpath to the medical centre in Dunkeld in particular, for example, at the moment, elderly residents have to walk down the actual road to get to the medical centre, which is difficult at the best of times, but as you go into winter, just gets more and more challenging.”
Another resident in Dunkeld and Birnam added to the meeting that ‘we need to think of the whole package’ when it comes to addressing the problem.
There was a feeling in the meeting that all of these measures have to work together to be able to work best so that children can feel free to ‘walk or cycle or scoot’ their way around the town.
Now Mr Cave wants to narrow the issues down and look to developing a plan amongst a group of volunteers in an ‘action group’ moving these ideas forward.
‘You have to work quite hard to move from discussion to action’ adds the chair of the sub committee, but for him this is ‘certainly right and appropriate when you’re trying to make decisions with the community.’
Mr Cave ended the session on traffic by saying: “We’ll use this list to go to the next step.
“I would hope there would be about eight to ten things to narrow down on, at that point I would be looking for volunteers for a sort of action group.
“And it’s at that point we’d start making a ranking of the issues. So, thank you very much to everyone who’s come on tonight.”