We are working with partners, including NHS Grampian, to create temporary space for pedestrians to allow them to better physically distance while walking or standing in queues for shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs.
The Council was awarded a ringfenced £1.76 million grant on 26 May from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund to carry out temporary works in our streets to help provide space to physically distance in line with government guidance.
The temporary works will help protect public health by reducing COVID-19 transmission in the city which will in turn reduce the number of cases NHS Grampian’s contact tracing team have to cope with, making their intervention easier and more effective. The measures will further help the economic recovery of the city and allow people to continue to use active travel such as walking and cycling. These temporary measures will create the space for people to physically distance near shops and eateries and are facilitating businesses to reopen.
The grant will pay for a roll out of temporary measures to allow people to walk, cycle, and queue for buses and shopping while adhering to the physically distancing guidance. Measures taking place include pedestrianisation, pavement widening, temporary bike lanes, and one-way walking.
The city centre, and Union Street in particular, faces challenges because pavements are not wide enough to accommodate the current 2-metre level of physical distancing.
We are concentrating on Union Street and nearby streets first as they have the highest footfall in the city, and we have been getting these measures in place before the reopening of shops as part of Phase 2 of the easing of lockdown restrictions starts, as more people are likely to be returning to these areas then. We are also working with café, restaurant and pub owners in these areas who might want to open temporary outdoor seated areas.
Traffic around the centre has been re-routed to free up carriageway space for pedestrians, cyclists, and businesses. Access continues to be provided to the city centre car parks as well as for residents and businesses. Access to the carparks at Bon Accord Centre and M&S/Marischal Square is also maintained.
We have moved Blue Badge parking bays from Belmont Street to the nearby and off-street road beside Robert Gordon’s College – this map showing where Blue Badge parking is around the city centre may be helpful:
Here’s the works we’ve carried out so far on Union Street and nearby streets, and these are being tweaked or changed as we continue thanks to feedback from the public:
- Pedestrianise the section between Market Street and Broad Street
- Pedestrianise Upperkirkgate/Schoolhill from Flourmill Lane to Back Wynd
- Businesses can get deliveries from 6pm to 10am in the pedestrianised sections
- Move blue badge parking bays from Belmont Street to the off-street road beside RGC
- Close Rose Street (Union Street to Thistle Street) and Chapel Street (Thistle Street to Rose Street) to traffic, and provision has been made for local take-away food outlets
- Thistle Street is now one way from Thistle Lane to Chapel Street
- Chapel Street is now one way from Thistle Street to Huntly Street
A bus gate – which means service buses, taxis and cyclists only are allowed - is being installed on Union Street from just after the Adelphi to the Market Street junction
Motorists are asked to plan their journey in advance to avoid Union Street, and not carry out any journeys crossing the city centre. So, for example, if they live in Garthdee and are going to the Bon Accord Shopping Centre, use the bypass or Anderson Drive to go around the city centre and then in to the shopping centre’s Loch Street car park via Westburn Road or Great Northern Road.
Later stages of the works which are due to start in the next few weeks will see temporary changes to the road layout and on-street parking to widen pavements on Rosemount, Peterculter, Cults, North Deeside Road, and George Street.
The detailed designs for these other areas are being drawn up and approved in a rolling programme of works, and these detailed designs will be made public only after they’re approved. Please remember the designs are continually being reviewed and feedback from businesses and the public is being taken into consideration.
Temporary measures have been installed at the bridge end of Victoria Road in Torry which will allow people in the area to walk about and queue for shops and buses, while observing physical distancing – here’s a map showing what the measures are.
Unfortunately, we were not able to carry out the usual amount and levels of consultation and engagement with local residents, businesses and the public, due to the importance and timescales of having to implement the physical distancing measures for pedestrians as soon as we could.
We have had produced a Guide For Businesses which will be distributed to businesses through our contacts and also through partner organisations such as Aberdeen Inspired.
Many businesses have got in touch to say they are supportive of what we’re doing and understand that due to the timescales of COVID-19, they understand we could not carry out our usual levels of consultation beforehand.
The length of time the temporary measures will be in place will be determined by NHS and Government guidance for physical distancing.