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The Union Street Project by Joanna Beveridge, Principal Engineer, Aberdeen City Council

It is clear to anyone shopping in Union Street that the pedestrian environment is very poor, particularly the section between Bridge Street and Market Street which has a high traffic casualty rate. There are clear economic benefits associated with pedestrianisation, compared to other cities and Aberdeen City Council developed the innovative "Union Street Project" to address the various issues. There are a number of other projects within the city centre that link into the Union Street project: i.e. the Broad Street, Denburn Valley and Guild Street projects.

Work undertaken up to October 2004, includes:

- an economic assessment
- traffic modelling
- public consultation, and
- an assessment of the environmental issues.

At its meeting in October 2004, Aberdeen City Council agreed that:

- as a short-term measure, consideration should be given to the introduction of a 20 mph speed limit in the city centre
- pedestrianisation between Bridge Street and Market Street is an urgent priority, and the key to environmental and economic improvements
- the transport infrastructure in the city centre must be improved first, and it is recognised that this will take a number of years, and
- as an interim measure, public transport may be permitted along the "pedestrianised" section.

In preparation for pedestrianisation, a number of other works are proposed including road improvements at the Berryden Road/Hutcheon Street junction, along College Street and at the Wapping Street gyratory. Feasibility studies are currently being conducted on proposals to implement a 20 mph speed limit, footway widening, and providing access to public transport only. A number of design issues are being considered; such as disabled access, loading arrangements, emergency access, bus provision, taxi provision, cycle facilities, and choice of materials.

Whilst work is progressing, but it is acknowledged that the Union Street project is a long-term project, and that further consultation will be required, prior to final decisions being taken. From a public transport perspective, no decisions have yet been made as to the routeing of bus services and the siting of bus stops under full pedestrianisation. Full information can be found on the "Union Street Project" pages on the Council's Website.

Report by Marion Mackay.

 

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