Traffic management over the festive season
Aberdeen City Council has issued helpful guidance for people travelling into or around the city over the festive period which is aimed at assisting with traffic flow.
People are encouraged to use the existing Park & Ride services in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire rather than drive into the city centre as existing and proposed road closures and parking restrictions within the city centre are likely to cause congestion at peak periods. In Aberdeen, they include Kingswells and Bridge of Don and, in Aberdeenshire, there is one at Ellon. In addition, the parking at Woodhill House on Westburn Road is to be open and free every Saturday and Sunday in December to allow shoppers to access the buses on Westburn Road.
City residents are asked to use buses where possible and details of revised routes and stops, along with times and fares are available from First Aberdeen (firstgroup.com/Aberdeen) and Stagecoach (stagecoachbus.com).
Aberdeenshire residents and people coming into the city centre from further afield are encouraged to use train or bus services. Information on train and bus routes, timetables and fares are available from travelinescotland.com or 0871 200 22 33. The main train companies are Scotrail (scotrail.co.uk) and Virgin East Coast (virgineastcoast.com), and the main bus companies are Stagecoach (stagecoachbus.com) and Megabus (megabus.com).
Union Terrace will be closed from 21 November to 8 January to accommodate the Christmas Village, which is being spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired and is part of the City Council's Winter Festival, and there will be local traffic and bus route diversions. The slip road between His Majesty's Theatre and Union Terrace will be closed from 16 November to allow the construction of the ice rink in the pocket park, as part of the Christmas Village. Winter maintenance on Union Terrace and its pavements during this period will be carried out by a tractor spreader.
Bus stops on Union Terrace and Bridge Street are to be temporarily relocated to nearby locations at Skene Square, Rosemount Viaduct, Wapping Street and the layby on Denburn Road. The layby at Denburn Road at Patagonian Court was requested by the public which Aberdeen City Council and bus operators have agreed to. Unfortunately, it will not be suitable for people with walking difficulties but allows access to Belmont Street for a large number of customers without having to go via the other stops, or via Guild Street.
People driving into the city are asked to use car parks both public and private in the side of the city they arrive in. For people coming from the south are asked to use as much as practically possible public and private car parks on the south side of the city centre, such as College Street Car Park or Union Square Shopping Centre. People coming in from the north of the city or from the A96 Inverness/Elgin road are asked to use car parks in the north of the city centre such as East North Street or the Bon Accord Shopping Centre. Drivers coming in from the west can use Chapel Street or Denburn Car Parks. The purpose of these requests is to try and reduce the amount of traffic crossing through the city centre, particularly at peak times and at weekends. Drivers are also asked to make more use of Frederick Street and the part-time Marischal Street car parks.
The five disabled car park spaces on Union Terrace are to be moved and an extra one created: two to Diamond Street, two on Skene Terrace, and two on Rosemount Viaduct outside nos 41 to 45. In addition, five disabled car parking spaces created on the inset road at Schoolhill outside Robert Gordon's College are to continue for the festive season. The existing disabled bays on Back Wynd and Little Belmont Street will also be operational.
Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: "Residents and businesses have asked for more major events to be held in the city so the Winter Festival is one of these there are 11 separate events being held as part of the festival so there is some festive fun for everyone. One of the major events on the calendar and something that is new to Aberdeen is the Christmas Village which we're sure will be a big attraction to the city and also includes the popular outdoor ice rink.
"Union Terrace was chosen as the venue for the Christmas Village as it had enough space to accommodate all the needs of the village, while at the same time caused the least amount of disruption. In addition, the International Market is already held there four times a year so people are already familiar with the traffic diversions in place.
"Aberdeen city centre gets extremely busy during the festive season so we're asking people to try not to drive there but if they have to, to use car parks on their side of the city and walk to other locations if possible rather than driving. The atmosphere in the city centre will be fun and with the Christmas Village right in the middle, we ask folk to stop, have a look at the festivities and enjoy themselves, while at the same time be patient with traffic as if everyone helps a little bit, it will make a difference overall."
Gary Craig, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: "Feedback on the Aberdeen Christmas Village since plans were announced has been incredibly positive and we are encouraging residents, visitors and neighbouring businesses to maximise opportunities that arise from it. We believe that the Christmas Village will play its part in greatly enhancing the city's festive offering and we look forward to welcoming people to the attraction later on this month."