I'm just back from running a conference in Crieff (day job!) which explains the lack of blog entries during the last couple of days.
There's a packed agenda for Planning & Transport Committee next Monday (8th September) - the council committee I chair - and the City Council has issued three news releases about some of the major items, as follows :
Less people were killed and seriously injured on Dundee's roads in 2007 than in previous years, but the cost to society was still somewhere in the region of £10m.
New figures to be reported to Dundee City Council's planning and transport committee next week show that there were 44 people killed or seriously injured last year on the city's streets.
Councillors will also be asked to approve £180,000 of road safety measures at a number of sites across the city.
Fraser Macpherson, convener of the planning and transport committee, said: "Although significant reductions have been achieved, 44 people killed or injured on Dundee's roads in 2007 is still way too many.
"Excellent progress has been made on many fronts to help reduce the number of people whose lives are lost or blighted by road accidents and work done by Dundee City Council, Tayside Police, NHS Tayside and Tayside Fire and Rescue has contributed to this ever more positive outcome."
A report to the committee, which meets on Monday (September 8) reveals that initiatives in the fields of engineering, enforcement, education and encouragement have all played a part in bringing casualty figures down in recent years.
Traffic management and calming as well as accident investigation and prevention have been used to try to build in safety to the city's roads network.
A further 16 locations across Dundee have been identified as part of this process and new or additional road safety measures will be put in as part of an on-going programme of works.
According to the report, by director of planning and transportation Mike Galloway, enforcement of traffic laws plays a crucial role in maintaining and improving road safety, while education initiatives including the theory part of the driving test and work with school children have also helped to cut the number of people killed or seriously injured.
Other road safety initiatives which have encouraged cyclists to use helmets, drivers to use proper restraints in their vehicles for children and pedestrians to wear bright and highly visible clothing have also played their part.
When compared with the average number of people killed or seriously injured between 1994 and 1998 there was a 72% drop in 2007.
Dundee Bus Shelters
Bus shelters in Dundee that are repeatedly vandalised could be removed as the final sanction in a new policy to be considered by councillors next week.
The ultimate penalty will only be imposed after a series of other measures have been taken to try to reduce the £81,000 a year repair bill.
Convener of the planning and transport committee, Fraser Macpherson said: "It is simply not fair on the council tax payer of Dundee for us to continue to spend their money on a programme of rapid repair when some of the shelters involved are targeted repeatedly by a small but persistent unthinking and uncaring section of the community.
"Some of the worst hit shelters are attacked between 10 and 15 times a year, and less than seven percent of all the shelters in the city account for more than half of the repair bill."
Members of the planning and transport committee, which meets on Monday (September 8), will be asked to agree a new policy to encourage the communities where shelters are worst hit to help protect them by reporting all incidents of vandalism.
If it is approved a series of measures will be brought in as part of the new policy, which recommends that:
· where more than 80% of glass panels are destroyed in one incident, every glass panel should be replaced with polycarbonate;
· where more than £1000 worth of damage is done in any 12 months all glass panels should be replaced with polycarbonate;
· where polycarbonate is damaged within two years of installation it could be replaced with galvanised steel mesh or removed altogether; and
· where repeated acts of fire or electrical interference happen, the shelter should be completely removed.
Councillors will be told that a new shelter costs £12,000 to install and £300 is spent every year on cleaning and maintenance, excluding vandalism repair costs.
According to the report by director of planning and transportation, Mike Galloway, Dundee City Council will continue to work closely with Tayside Police on crime reporting, incident investigation and other joint working, as well as with other groups on offender rehabilitation.
A £150,000 study that will look at ways to protect Dundee from flooding in the next 50 years is to be considered by councillors next week.
Members of the planning and transport committee will be told that a recent investigation found that while there are no immediate dangers, a combination of global warming, coastal erosion and deteriorating or ineffective protection measures could leave parts of the city vulnerable.
Committee convener, Fraser Macpherson said: "This report, which was completed before the most recent heavy rains hit the city, is the first in-depth look at how various factors could impact on the Tay Estuary up to 2057.
"It would be reckless and irresponsible of us to simply leave the protection of Dundee to future generations and not spend time and money now commissioning a report that will tell us what we can do to ensure the safety and continued prosperity of parts of our city.
"That duty of care extends to two projects that we have also started now, and members will also be updated on them at the committee."
City council engineers have recommended work at the sea wall at Riverside Drive and adjacent to the new Douglas Terrace/Stannergate walkway after investigations showed serious damage and erosion.
Dundee Contract Services are already at work in Riverside Drive on £82,000 worth of repairs to the retaining wall, while contractors Torith, who have been working on the improvements to the walkway for more than a year, will carry out work to build the new sea wall at Douglas Terrace/Stannergate.
The river is attacking the natural sea defences in the area, and experts are concerned that if these are breached the new walkway and other parts of the shore could be inundated.
More than £300,000 will be spent on the emergency works to build the new sea defences.
If councillors approve the study at their meeting on Monday (September 8) it will look at what needs to be protected and the cost and environmental impact of doing so.
Bids for the cash to fund any future flood defence schemes for Dundee will have to be made to the Scottish Government.