Temporary pavement extensions to be installed in city centre within days

Pavement extensions are due to start being installed in Aberdeen city centre within days to help to make the temporary pedestrian areas a more welcoming environment.

The temporary wooden structures comprise of a small area of decking with a bench, and a second version of a simple deck with no fixed features to allow flexibility in position or use, which are placed on a road and butted up to a kerb, creating a bigger pavement area.

The pavement extensions are 2.40m x 2.40m and are designed so two can fit into a standard-sized parking space. They are made of redwood and there will be a total of 32 in the city centre, and an additional 32 going in other places around the city.

The City Council is collaborating with local arts organisations with the aim of the getting designs painted onto some of the pavement extensions. The pavement extensions can also be used to offer queuing space and grouped together may be able to accommodate a few bistro tables and chairs for businesses offering outdoor seating as part of their phased response to opening, when allowed to do so from Monday (July 6).

The concept of pavement extensions was created in San Francisco and they are designed to provide public space for people to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the city around them in places where the existing pavement width is not large enough to accommodate vibrant street life activities.

The works are being carried out by Aberdeen City Council after a ringfenced £1.76million grant from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund which is being administered by Sustrans, and measures taking place in several locations around the city include temporary pedestrianisation, pavement widening, bike lanes, and one-way walking.

Aberdeen City Council transport spokeswoman Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “It’s fantastic the pavement extensions are due to be installed so soon and I’m sure they will be welcomed by both people returning to shop and eat in the city centre, and by the businesses.

“As well as providing a space to sit down, the plants will provide a splash of colour alongside other planters filled with beautiful flowers which have been moved into the area.

“We look forward to the pavement extensions arriving and we hope they help to attract residents back into the city centre as part of the wider efforts to keep people safe and aid the city’s economic recovery from the coronavirus lockdown.”

The works being carried out around Aberdeen 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 temporary measures will further help the economic recovery of the city and allow people to continue to use active travel such as walking and cycling.

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.

The program of works has been developed with NHS Grampian, transport organisation NESTRANS, and Business Improvement District operator Aberdeen Inspired, and organisations which have been consulted include city centre businesses, bus companies, taxi firms, Police Scotland, the Disability Equity Partnership, and other local groups.

City centre traffic must re-route to free up carriageway space for businesses, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users.

Aberdeen City Council will continue to review, monitor, and evaluate the interventions while discussions are held with stakeholders, and when the measures are in place. The continual reviewing may mean changes to the interventions, and it is also a requirement of the fund, which is being administered by sustainable transport body Sustrans Scotland.

The length of time the temporary measures will be in place will be determined by NHS and Government guidance for physical distancing.


Pic caption: Transport spokesperson Councillor Sandra Macdonald with one of the pavement extensions in the workshop.