Whitesands Flood Relief Plans

Flood defences from across the Nith

View of the ‘model’ from across the Nith – shows the scale of it

Today I went down to the Whitesands and the Bakers’ Oven to look at and comment on the flood defence plans. From what I’ve seen, the good news is that they have at least considered bikes and recognise the importance of the Whitesands as a bike route.

Issues of concern are:

  1. Social safety using the Whitesands path after dark, given that there will be a massive great bank between the path and the road (and any passers by). Apparently there are plans for better lighting and CCTV but this will continue to be an issue.
  2. Disruption to the cycle path during construction. Apparently this has been considered (!!) and there should be an alternative cycle track built during the construction phase. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one as plans progress.
  3. Getting on and off the Whitesands path – there will be access points at the Bank Street Crossing and at the Loreburne Centre crossings, although I imagine they will become quite congested with pedestrians. Getting on and off at other points will inevitably be less convenient than it is now.
  4. Conflict with pedestrians. While this may actually be reduced, as pedestrians will have the walkway at the top of the bank, I imagine that lots of people will still want to be at the river level and hence wandering along what will now be a dedicated cycle track (this will be encouraged by the provision of benches and dedicated view points at the lower level).
  5. What happens when it floods? Putting the cycle track on the river side of the bank does suggest bikes are rather low in the pecking order.
view from the top

View from the top

In short, while it’s good that cyclists are being considered, the plan to keep the cycleway where it is seems to be problematic. It’s early days yet, but it seems to us that a better solution would be to put the main cycleway on the road side of the bank, or perhaps to put the bikes on the walkway on top of the bank. That leaves the riverside for those who want to stroll and enjoy the view, without having to dodge people on bikes who are in a hurry to get somewhere.  But what are your thoughts?

 

side view

Side view

flood wall

Further down the Whitesands, the bank gives way to a flood wall

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Whitesands Flood Relief Plans

  1. Keith Walters

    I went to the exhibition yesterday and it is very interesting. However I didn’t really think that cyclists had particularly been considered, as we are being left with what we have at the moment. I asked the council rep what would happen when it flooded and it seems it will be the same as now – ride on the road for the time being. I quite liked the idea of separating the pedestrians and cyclists if it would work and I wouldn’t be particularly keen to ride on top of the bank rather than besides it. I hadn’t considered the social safety side of it, but as long as it is well lit it can’t be worse than some of the other cycleways.

    One improvement would be a better access (i.e not steps) up to Devorgilla Bridge which would help as I often see people carrying bikes up that way presumably to avoid the fun on Beuccleuth bridge.

    I was a bit unsure about the plans for it to become a pedestrian centric area as they would still have the main road running between it and the start of the town centre and as for the buses – it appeared as if they were going to be stopping on the road rather than in bays, but surely they must be having areas for them to pull in as they are able to at the moment.

    Two figures made me think as well – the rep from the contractors said it would take two years to do if they got permission to go ahead which seemed to me pretty speedy compared to the hospital and schools work to be done in the area. Secondly £14 million seems like an awful lot of money especially as looking at the very brief breakdown they provided only about £4 million of that is directly being spent on the flood defences. It made me think how little money in comparison would be needed to finish off some of the gaps in the cycle network that you have highlighted previously. Keith

  2. gz

    We’ve cycled around Paeroa in New Zealand..there the bike paths are on top of the embankment

  3. Frank Farrell

    The contractors SAY it will take two years. Once they get started there is no guarantee or even likelihood of them staying on that schedule

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