UPDATE – we have since been reassured that the crossing between Park Road and Rotchell Road WILL be a toucan crossing (with a green man/bike). Apologies for spreading premature alarm! But please do go to the information event yourselves to find out more.
As you may have seen, the council are consulting on Thursday about changes to the Pleasance Road / New Abbey Road junction and an associated cycleway. This is something that has been a long-running saga – the original plans back in 2017 were at best only a partial improvement and got sent back to the drawing board. When we visited the site again with councillors last summer we were pleasantly surprised at how much the plans had improved with a segregated cycle path along the Park Farm side of the New Abbey Road and crossings between Rotchell Road and Park Road – this is a very poor crossing at the moment, and is the reason why we have stopped taking family rides along this route.
Unfortunately, the latest plans for the New Abbey Road are nothing like as promising as the ones we saw before. Although the cycleway remains, there are no controlled crossings onto it at either Priestlands Drive or, apparently, Rotchell Road – i.e. either end. The only place where there will be a toucan crossing is right in the middle, at Pleasance Avenue (as part of the whole traffic light sequence for the cars). This seems ridiculous – why build segregated infrastructure for cyclists if you’re not going to offer a safe way to cross that can be used by families, people with disabilities, and anyone who can’t simply find a gap in the traffic and dash across
It’s not immediately clear from the plans themselves, but if you read the committee papers (Section 3.25 onwards) you’ll see that there are no plans for a toucan crossing at either end – and there’s a whole other conversation to be had about why this information isn’t being properly put out online, rather than only making it available to those who know how to navigate committee papers or can go to an information event held on a single afternoon and evening.
This is why we’re going to the trouble of dressing up as cows on Sunday – because we want the same consideration for people as dairy cows get when they have to cross the road. It’s all very well building cycle tracks but if you can’t get to them easily, safely and conveniently, then what is the point?
If you think this is ridiculous then please join us on Sunday – you can sign up on Facebook here or just show up at 11am at the Bandstand at Dock Park ready to ride a route of our worst crossings – including the New Abbey Road (we didn’t even highlight that one because we thought it was going to be dealt with – naively). You don’t need to come dressed as a cow, but please come and show your support for a decent, joined up cycle network for Dumfries- not isolated bits and pieces put in where it won’t inconvenience the cars.
If you can’t make it (or even if you do) then get along to the information event and have your say – or write to your councillors to tell them we need proper crossings for people in Dumfries and Galloway