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Host of activities to encourage people to try alternatives to using their car

10/09/15

A giant waterslide during In Town Without My Car Day, sponsored cycle rides and bicycle roadshows are all part of the fun starting on Saturday for European Mobility Week in Aberdeen.

The European Union-backed campaign promotes sustainability and cities are encouraged to take part by signing up to the campaign and pledging to raise awareness by holding events and implementing permanent measures. Aberdeen City Council Transport and Regeneration Spokesman Councillor Ross Grant has signed the agreement for Aberdeen's participation.

The campaign runs in Aberdeen from 12 September to 22 September and includes In Town Without My Car Day on Sunday 20 September. 2015 will be the sixth year in a row the city is hosting In Town Without My Car Day, and will again result in the closure to motorised traffic of Schoolhill between Blackfriars Street and Back Wynd, along with Belmont Street and Little Belmont Street.

The theme of the national campaign is 'Choose. Change. Combine.' to encourage people to use multiple modes of alternative transport to driving alone, for example taking a bus and then walking a short distance to their destination.

The City Council is holding a series of events to inspire people to try alternatives to using their cars, along with installing a permanent measure to help them to opt for a sustainable mode of transport. It is also holding the In Town Without My Car Day so streets are open to the public to enjoy.

Aberdeen City Council Regeneration and Transport spokesman Councillor Ross Grant said: "There is a huge range of activities for everyone to try and we'd encourage people to try alternative forms of transport to their car.

"The more people use these alternative forms of transport, the better it is for their own health and for less traffic congestion in the city.

"These fun events are being held to encourage people to see what they can do, and how easy it can be to get around on your bike or by walking for many journeys."

The events include the free Getabout Bicycle Roadshow in Duthie Park on Saturday 12 September, followed by The Wee Jaunt the following day (Sunday 13 September). Organised by Cycling Scotland and supported by the City Council, this is the third annual Pedal for Scotland cycle ride in Aberdeen, and is a six mile challenge ride, starting and finishing in Duthie Park and travelling alongside the River Dee and Girdleness. Registration is now open for this, and further information is available from http://pedalforscotland.org/rides/the-wee-jaunt-aberdeen/.

There will also be complimentary activities in Duthie Park throughout the day, including the bike roadshow again and Adventure Aberdeen climbing wall. There is a cost to taking part in the challenge ride but the Duthie Park activities will be free.

The streets closed to motor vehicles on Sunday 20 September as part of In Town Without My Car Day will this year host a free family fun event, with the aim to allow people to experience the street as a place for fun and social interaction, rather than as a traffic thoroughfare.

The free family fun event will also include: Adventure Aberdeen Bicycle Roadshow and Climbing Wall; City Moves on-street dance school; a bouncy castle and inflatable assault course; Aberdeen Play Forum; street entertainment via Graham Benson and Aberdeen University Circus Skills Society; and face painting and glitter tattoos. Registration for the giant water slide on Belmont Street is available from http://giantwaterslide.co.uk/events/aberdeen

Also due to attend are:
•First Aberdeen, with a hydrogen bus;
•CoWheels with a range of its vehicles including electric cars;
•Alpine Bikes;
•Aberdeen Cycle Forum;
•Home Energy Scotland with an eco-driving simulator or smoothie bike;
•Aberdeen City Council/Getabout – handing out bike bells, bike seat covers, reflective slap bands, and hi-vis vests.

There will also be "EV Street", an electric vehicle event on St Nicholas Street on the same day. The City Council has joined forces with local car dealerships, the Energy Saving Trust Scotland and local electric vehicle owners to give people an opportunity to find out more about electric vehicles, which have zero tailpipe emissions so can bring huge benefits to air quality in cities.

Two of the streets where the event is taking place – Belmont Street and Little Belmont Street - are part-pedestrianised, and are currently taking part in a café culture trial, where they are closed to traffic from 11am to 6pm apart from access to two private car parks. This access will be prohibited during In Town Without My Car Day.

Another two Getabout roadshows are being held - at St. Joseph's RC School on Tuesday 15 September, and Stoneywood School on Wednesday 16 September. More information on the Getabout roadshows, which are also taking place in Aberdeenshire, is available from www.get-about.com.

Another event taking place as part of the Mobility Week celebrations is a Cycle Challenge by Middleton Park School pupils on Tuesday 22 September. This is the first time that a school event of this nature has taken place in Aberdeen, where pupils are to cycle a short course near the school.