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Think again on hospital roads revamp

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Think again on hospital roads revamp

A CONTROVERSIAL revamp of roads leading to Dumfries' new hospital has been put on hold — to allow more time to consider options.

Following public disquiet over proposed changes to roads including New Abbey Road, Park Road and Dalbeattie Road, a council committee yesterday agreed with council leader Ronnie Nicholson’s motion to defer the issue, meet with the NHS and think again.
Abbey Ward councillor Ian Blake spoke on behalf of constituents at the economy, environment and infrastructure committee, and said: “I laid out the concerns.
“But to be honest by that time I was pushing on an open door. There was a realisation that things had not gone well.”
Councillor Blake says a decision had previously been deferred at a January meeting to allow consultation — but that this was only due to involve councillors and community councillors.
And he says a public consultation at Troqueer Primary last month only took place because councillors arranged their own event at Dumfries Rugby Club, attended by about 70 people.
And the latest delay comes after fellow councillor Graham Bell described the consultation exercise to date as ‘an absolute shambles’, claiming findings in a report presented yesterday do not match feedback he has received.
The report said 300 people attended an engagement session at Troqueer Primary last month, resulting in 230 feedback forms.
* 74 per cent of respondents agreed with including provision for cycle and pedestrian routes to and from Cargenbridge as part of proposed road improvements.
* 73 per cent agreed with providing a controlled crossing for pedestrians and cyclists on New Abbey Road near Park Road.
* 67 per cent agreed with ‘simplifying the layout’ of the New Abbey Road and Park Road junction.
However, a slim majority of 52 per cent backed traffic signals at the New Abbey Road/Pleasance Avenue junction, and just 51 per cent agreed with plans to effectively reverse the exisiting junction layout at Dalbeattie Road/Park Road — directing traffic onto narrow Park Road as the main approach into town.
The issue will next be considered at a council meeting in June.
Yesterday’s report said:

* a roundabout at New Abbey Road/Pleasance Avenue is not favoured because it would focus on improving traffic movement whereas traffic signals prioritise main traffic flows turning right from Pleasance Avenue to New Abbey Road north, and vice versa

* the report said, ‘It may be that there is still insufficient clarity that the proposed operation of this junction under traffic signal control would see the two main flows running at the same time, rather than the junction operating as a more normal ‘T’ junction

* that the priorisation of traffic will avoid the temptation to use a route past Troqueer Primary as a ‘rat run’ onto New Abbey Road — as traffic flowing west along Pleasance Avenue would have priority

* that prioritising Park Road over Dalbeattie Road reflects the fact that more traffic is expected to use Park Road in the future once the new hospital is open

* concerns about Park Road handling volumes of traffic due to parked vehicles could be addressed by waiting restrictions to control on-street parking and/or providing additional parking opportunities

* making Park Road one-way to allow an accompanying cycle route is not feasible, as it would increase traffic volume on other roads, inconvenience residents, lead to increased speeds on Park Road and possibly create a rat run through the Janefield area

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