Union Street to be closed tomorrow to install traffic cylinders which will reinforce pedestrian spaces

Union Street is to be closed during the day tomorrow to allow for hundreds of traffic cylinders to be installed which will help to reinforce pedestrian spaces.

The traffic cylinders are replacing the traffic cones which were put in place to create temporary pedestrianised areas before shops reopened and people started to return to the city centre as lockdown restrictions ease.

The areas are a temporary scheme to change roads and pavements which is part of a national strategy to create walking and cycling spaces in towns and cities across Scotland. As part of the works, Union Street has already been pedestrianised in the section between Market Street and Bridge Street, and there is also a bus gate on Union Street between The Adelphi and Market Street.

Aberdeen City Council was awarded a ringfenced £1.76million grant from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund, and measures taking place in several locations around the city include temporary pedestrianisation, pavement widening, bike lanes, and one-way travel. The measures will support local shops, cafes, bars and restaurants and the local economy as people will be able to queue safely while physically distancing.

The works being carried out around Aberdeen will help protect public health by reducing COVID-19 transmission in the city and help prevent a second spike of the virus. 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 rolling closure will start at 7.30am until 4pm although the works may finish earlier. The closure is from Holburn Street junction to the King Street junction. Access will be maintained to Bridge Street and Market Street.

Aberdeen City Council transport spokesperson Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “The works we’re carrying out on Union Street and other areas are temporary however we’re installing traffic cylinders for Union Street which will help to reinforce the pedestrian spaces and are a more attractive option than traffic cones.

“The traffic cylinders are being installed following the installation of street benches to help make these pedestrianised areas and widened pavements more welcoming and attractive.

“We’re continuing dialogue with local businesses in the city centre for how the scheme works as people continue to return to the area for shopping and leisure, and the interventions may change as a result.”

Advance signs highlighting the changes and restrictions have been put out letting people know about the road and pavement layout changes in the area and motorists are asked to heed these.

Similar works, where traffic is re-routed to free up carriageway space for businesses, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, have also carried out on other busy shopping areas in Torry and Rosemount.

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.