The Scottish Government created ringfenced Spaces for People grants for all local authorities in Scotland to carry out temporary works in our streets to help provide space to physically distance in line with government guidance for Covid-19.
In Aberdeen, we were awarded £1.76 million grant on 26 May 2020 to provide temporary interventions to allow people to walk, cycle, and queue for buses and shopping while adhering to physically distancing guidance. Measures included pedestrianisation, pavement widening, temporary bike lanes, and one-way walking.
Unfortunately, we were not able to carry out the usual amount and levels of consultation and engagement with local residents, businesses and the public for the Union Street works, due to the importance and timescales of having to implement the physical distancing measures for pedestrians as soon as we could. However, we have worked with local business groups, community councils, and other stakeholders to tweak the designs.
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 temporary works help to protect public health by reducing Covid-19 transmission in the city which in turn reduces the number of cases NHS Grampian’s contact tracing team have to cope with, making their intervention easier and more effective. The measures further helps the economic recovery of the city by allowing 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.