A charity has admitted Dundee City Council is “brave” to consider cutting Riverside Drive from four lanes to two but insists four lanes aren’t needed.
Sustrans is involved in a project to improve pedestrian links between the city’s west end and the waterfront area.
Approval has already been given to anew pedestrian footbridge over the railway line, connecting Seabraes and Perth Road with Riverside Drive, and for which Sustrans will provide 850,000 funding.
However, it was revealed this week that part of the 4.2 million project could see the dual carriageway cut down to one lane in each direction between the Tesco roundabout and the railway bridge, where it currently merges into one lane.
A Toucan crossing could also be added to ease pedestrians’ journeys.
But some road users fear the move could create traffic chaos at peak times.
Graeme Brown, Sustrans’ infrastructure partnerships manager, said: “All this is part of the works to reconnect the people of Dundee to the waterfront.
“The council has done a lot of modelling and the capacity just doesn’t require four lanes at that point.
“I appreciate at peak times it can be quite busy.
“It’s quite a brave thing for the council to do and an undertaking, but Dundee has made a commitment to try to turn the city into a more people-focused place, rather than traffic.”
Mr Brown added: “All the work that the council is doing is going to really improve the area.
“You will find the whole feel of the place will change and you will probably find it’s going to attract a lot of footfall.
“It will move into a more people-focused space, so, hopefully, heavy traffic moves to another route around the city.
“It will take a bit of getting used to and it might cause a few initial concerns.
“From a Sustrans point of view, the point of the project is to enable people to make journeys more actively.
“Removing the road space gives people a choice. Rather than taking their car, they can make that journey by foot or by bike.”
Graeme Stephen, chair of Dundee Taxi Association, doesn’t agree.
He said: “I can see where they’re coming from in one sense.
“But when they’re hoping that things are going to get very busy with tourists, it’s going to be even busier than it is at the moment, and how is one lane going to cope with it?
“At the peak times, it is very busy. For example, when they were doing the works on that taxi lane where the taxi rank is at the railway station, and had one lane off, they were tailed right the way back not quite at the airport but heading up that way.
“I don’t know how they plan the roads, but I do drive on them.
“To spend that kind of money to reduce to one lane would they not be better putting some kind of pedestrian walkway up over the carriageway? Then, they wouldn’t even be holding up traffic with pedestrian lights.”
The council said a report on the proposals would go before councillors in due course, but could not confirm any further details.
‘Proposals make sense’
Just over a year ago, the speed limit on Riverside Drive and Riverside Avenue was slashed from 50mph to 40mph.
West End councillor Fraser Macpherson was a champion of that particular move and insists these further proposals would be good for the area.
Just last week, Mr Macpherson advocated introducing 20mph speed limits on certain city streets.
He said today: “I’ve raised on a number of occasions my concern about the very narrow pavement in front of the new Riverside flats that are being built.
“From that perspective, what they’re proposing makes a great deal of sense for widening the pavement.
“The city engineer advised me that they were satisfied that the vehicle movements were such that changing the lanes would not create an issue in terms of tailbacks.”
Riverside Drive is not the only road subject to possible changes Transport Scotland revealed proposals to lower the speed limit on the Kingsway from 50mph to 40mph between the Forfar Road junction and the exit for the Kingsway Retail Park.