Building Bridges

In our bid to meet All The Cycling Women in Scotland, Back on my Bike and I have been visiting Dundee (oh, okay there was also some Walk Cycle Vote business as well)

We were staying in Wormit, which meant negotiating the Tay Bridge, and also subjecting Dundee’s cycle network to its sternest test: can Sally and Suzanne find their way onto it easily without having to dash across multiple lanes of traffic or finding themselves on a Scary Road with no clue where they are going? Glasgow failed this test comprehensively earlier this month, and it’s fair to say that Dundee did no better, although as Dundee seems to be largely under construction, we will give it a pass this time.

lift to fife

Fortunately it’s a bit hard to miss the Tay Bridge, even for us, and once we’d spotted it, and navigated all the lanes of traffic we found the lift up onto the foot and cycle path that has been squeezed in between the carriageways.

On the way back, in daylight, we could see a bit more what was going on. I’d appreciate this view if it was my commute to work although it would be even better without four lanes of heavy traffic roaring past at 50mph (though thankfully on the other side of a stout railing).

view from the Tay Bridge

On the whole, Dundee seems to be doing interesting things – the council have an ambitious cycling strategy, they’re dedicating 5% of their transport budget to cycling, and if you live and work in the right places you can get between the two without tangling with traffic at all.

However, it’s also an object lesson into why massive roads and liveable cities just don’t mix. The waterfront is sadly cut off from the rest of the city – and it doesn’t look as if the Gateway development is going to do anything about that, although it is adding a few green spaces and we were told that the entrance to the bridge walkway is much improved.

Under the Tay Bridge

Top tip for urban designers: even some jolly paint does little to make the space under a raised highway a pleasant place to be.

I can only shudder to imagine what it used to be like. Coming home to the rather less spectacular but much more civilised Bigtown viaduct was a welcome tonic.

Queen of the South Viaduct

 

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