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Union Street Pedestrianisation - Conclusions

The creation of Union Street over 200 years ago allowed Aberdeen's City Centre to develop along this east - west axis. However, the nature of the City Centre has gradually been evolving into a north-south axis with the development of the Trinity Centre, the St Nicholas Centre, the Bon Accord Centre, The Academy, and most recently the Union Square Development in Guild Street (see diagram below). These developments have generated a different demand from our transport infrastructure, especially from pedestrians who have become accustomed to better footway surfaces, more space, safer environment etc that tend to be found in other cities around Europe.

Union Street Map

Summary of Findings

While there will still be a requirement to undertake further analysis of environmental and transport issues, the work to date has highlighted several key factors in relation to this project

  • The Union Street project, while projected to have a positive effect on the local economy, both the city and the region, has to be considered as part of the wider Urban Realm strategy
  • With the emphasis of the city centre evolving to a north-south axis rather than east-west, the need to have areas of interest at both ends has been addressed (see diagram above).
  • When implementing a scheme of this nature there is a need to use high quality materials and to ensure that all road engineering and infrastructure improvements are introduced in advance of any restrictions on traffic.
  • With committed developments in place, traffic conditions in the city centre will continue to deteriorate, with increasing levels of congestion if no action is taken.
  • The current conditions for pedestrians are unsatisfactory and will have an impact on the attractiveness of Aberdeen as a place to visit in the longer term.
  • Variable message signing and local improvements to the Wapping Street/Guild Street gyratory will provide some initial relief but do not address the problems in the longer term.
  • Any restriction of traffic on Union Street creates problems through displaced traffic causing delays for public transport and conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles.
  • In order to provide sufficient capacity within the network a package of complementary infrastructure improvements and traffic management measures are required to provide benefit and allow interchange between north/south and east/west traffic at suitable locations.
  • The scale of changes required is the same with no, partial or full pedestrianisation as major infrastructure improvements are required for each option.
  • There is a need to positively promote any project of this nature as the actual pedestrianisation is perhaps in the later stages of the project. There is therefore a clear need to create a communications plan for the project.


  • Transportation Strategy and Programmes
    Planning and Sustainable Development
    Aberdeen City Council
    Business Hub 4
    Marischal College
    Broad Street
    AB10 1AB
    Phone: 01224 522618
    Fax: 01224 6523180