A Dundee cycling group has called on the council to be more ambitious in trying to get people to ditch their cars.
Following the council’s successful bid for £440,000 from the Scottish Government, Dundee Cycle Forum has set up an online petition calling for the council to apply for more money.
The initial sum of money will be spent on introducing new 20mph zones, removing through traffic in some areas, and temporarily banning vehicles on some streets, such as Union Street.
However the group says more needs to be done, such as creating a citywide cycling network, more storage facilities, and finding a solution to tackle congestion and pollution around schools.
They also want to see an online consultation set up to help find out what local residents would like to see done to encourage people to walk and cycle.
Donald Baddon from Dundee Cycle Forum said: “The council’s bid for £440,000 has been accepted and they said they are going to put some more bids in, but that was a few weeks ago now.
“They might be a bit nervous about doing things, but if a lot of people support the petition they might be a bit more ambitious.
“We want to see the widening of streets, a protected cycle network and more bike storage – there is a lower ownership of bikes because there is not enough safe storage or safe roads for them.”
He continued: “Public transport will soon also be very limited, it will go down to about 10-15% capacity on a bus, so the more people who could walk or cycle instead will free up that space for key workers who don’t have a choice.
“Active travel and public transport should be our priority, but right now they are fighting for the crumbs, that is why we have high pollution and this could be the first steps to a really good future.
“It is all about how to make a better Dundee.
“Fifty-five people a year die in Dundee because of air pollution so we need to look at finding safe alternatives to cars.
“The fund is still open, and Perth got £1.1 million, Aberdeen got £1.7m, Glasgow got £3.5m and Edinburgh got £5m, which are all substantially bigger bids than Dundee.”
Dundee City Council has since to the Tele it is committed to applying for a second bid for cash, but said it needs to first make sure they have carried out all the proposals from the first round of money.
Alan Ross, convener of city development at Dundee City Council, said: “Firstly I want to sincerely thank everyone who has responded positively to the successful bid for funding for the first round of ‘spaces for people’, which will deliver temporary active travel measures as cities return to normal.
“There is a considerable amount of work needed to introduce the new 20mph road safety zones, remove through traffic in some areas and trial temporary removal of vehicles from streets such as Union Street.
“We are focused on implementing the current first phase over the next three or four weeks, but as more resources have been identified for the fund we are committed to bringing forward a second bid and will work up further proposals once the first round of successful bids have been implemented.
“There is a substantial workload in preparing the next bid, not least the need to communicate and discuss our plans with residents and businesses, Police Scotland and other interest groups.
“Clearly we are aware of the potential for temporary cycle lanes to be created and are exploring further options but some more design work is required before any bid can be submitted.
“For example, we need to consider how emergency vehicles and buses can be accommodated safely alongside any temporary cycle lanes.
“We have asked Sustrans to provide the council with support in these areas.
“The last thing that I want is to charge into creating a situation in which we expose cyclists and pedestrians to new dangers or where we inadvertently create rat runs that push heavy traffic onto quieter residential streets.
“A great deal of time and effort is also being focused on delivering permanent active travel benefits, for example the recent announcement of £9m worth of measures between Broughty Ferry and Monifieth,
“On a final note I want to publicly thank council officers for their hard work at this time.
“As well as dealing with the increased workload and pressures of delivering the city’s response to a global pandemic they are also reacting to new and quickly changing priorities as well as continuing to deliver the high quality of service all of the people of Dundee have come to expect.”