First – an apology. An over hasty post last week (partially fuelled by Pedal on Parliament related stress and the ill-advised effects of opening Twitter before the coffee has had a chance to kick in) suggested that the council had rowed back on some of their more promising plans for the New Abbey Road.
Having now been to the information event at Troqueer Primary School yesterday, we can confirm that if anything the plans are better than we had initially hoped, so we completely retract that suggestion. For those who couldn’t make it (and we stand by our assertion that it would be much better if these plans could appear properly on line for everyone to see) here’s what we gleaned:
As a recap, here’s the plan of where the works are to take place
(Apologies for the poor quality of the photos that follow – taken from the 3D ‘fly through’ that was playing at the time)
First, we’re happy to see plans for a segregated cycle track, with space for both pedestrians and cyclists, rather than a shared use path. The devil can be in the details with these – but the principle of everyone having their own space is sound and it would be good to see this used more widely in the town.
Here’s the crossing of New Abbey Road from Park Road to Rotchell Road at the Toll Bar:
Here’s the main junction between Pleasance Avenue and the New Abbey Road, with an ‘all ways green’ stage promised that will get cyclists onto the track on the Park Farm side of the road:
And finally – and this is quite exciting and a new departure for Dumfries, here’s the crossing at Priestlands Drive:
First, it’s really nice to see a return of the use of a zebra crossing which gives pedestrians priority without the need for traffic lights. They’re not perfect (they’re difficult for visually impaired pedestrians to use, for instance) but they’re better than just a dropped kerb and maybe a traffic island. Second, the parallel cycle crossing should give bikes similar priority to pedestrians, without needing to dismount. These have started to be used in London and they’re proving quite successful. It will be great to have something like this in Dumfries, and it will also hopefully connect up to the Mavis Grove path, which currently stops short, dumping cyclists onto the main road before they’re able to turn into the side streets of Troqueer.
All in all, as with Hardthorn Road, these plans show how far cycling provision has evolved in Dumfries, and that’s something to celebrate. Now we just have to ensure that the council has the courage to build what it’s designed and doesn’t get spooked by the inevitable nay-sayers online.