Traffic regulations to be brought in as part of South College Street Improvement Project

Parking arrangements which will improve pedestrian access and safety and add dedicated blue badge parking are to be brought in as part of the South College Street Improvement Project after committee unanimously agreed to the moves at a meeting today.

The Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) will add parking bays including for blue badge holders in front of The Arches which will increase safety for people using the pavement and also manage a small 10-bay car park on the west side of South College Street.

Members of Aberdeen City Council’s operational delivery committee agreed to the TROs at a meeting. The South College Street Improvement Project will support the City Centre Masterplan aims to improve the public realm in the city centre by providing additional road capacity to accommodate the rerouting of vehicular traffic arising from the implementation of public realm enhancements along Guild Street and Union Street.

As part of the Roads Hierarchy which is changing access to and around the city after the bypass (AWPR) was built, South College Street junction and associated roads will have an important role in providing a key route to the city centre.

Aberdeen City Council transport spokesperson and operational delivery committee vice-convener Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “It’s good the committee agreed unanimously to the controlled parking measures for South College Street which will improve pedestrian access and safety and add dedicated blue badge parking.

“Making these improvements is the next step towards providing a transport network to meet Aberdeen’s needs and city centre aspirations.”

The report to committee said there are significant issues with the current parking arrangement. The first is the practice of drivers parking their vehicles at a right angle to the carriageway, where with the limited width at certain points, the vehicles are effectively parked on the pavement and thereby obstructing pedestrian passage. The result being that for pedestrians to pass, they have to walk on the edge of the road which is unsafe and compounded for southbound pedestrians who will be walking with their back to the traffic. It also contravenes providing safe active travel for those with visual and mobility impairments, while similarly causing difficulties for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, prams, buggies etc.

The second issue is when vehicles are loaded or unloaded, they impinge on the road as a result of not being able to get kerbside as other vehicles already occupy the available kerbside lengths for general parking. This can disrupt traffic flow, particularly at peak times, and can have a negative effect on road safety. There has been particular concern raised over instances of larger lorries operating near the bend when approaching the roundabout junction, the danger being associated with the limited visibility and manoeuvres for all road users when such activity is taking place.

Thus, as part of the project design, the arrangements for on-street parking have been specified to ensure there is an unhindered pavement for pedestrians, where vehicles will park parallel to the kerbside. At the southern end of the length, there has also been scope to provide a lay-by area with a dedicated ‘in / out’ arrangement.

This report to committee stated there were one of the TROs is for controlled parking measures on the east side of South College Street beside The Arches and located between its junctions with Palmerston Place and the Queen Elizabeth Bridge roundabout.

The controlled parking measures on the east side of South College Street include loading bays, time-limited free parking bays established that will provide for a maximum stay of 1 hour with no return within 1 hour, people can also apply for parking permits for the bays, and there will be a parking bay for the exclusive use of Blue Badge holders.

Another of the TROs is for the small 10-bay public car park on the west side of South College Street on predominantly council-owned land which had been suggested by the local businesses for their customers. The report to committee said an agreement has been reached with the owner of the land allowing access into the car park.

The short stay car park will also have clear delineation between the spaces available for public use, and the remaining spaces available for private use.