Work to start next week installing cycle lanes in the beach area as part of on-going work for physical distancing and encouraging active travel

Work is starting on Monday installing cycle lanes in the beach area to encourage people to continue to cycle in the beach area both for transport to work and leisure as lockdown eases.

The plans are part of a ringfenced £1.76million grant which was awarded to Aberdeen City Council on 26 May from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund to carry out temporary works in our streets to help provide space to physically distance in line with government guidance.

The grant will pay for a roll out of temporary measures to allow people to walk, cycle, and queue for buses and shopping across the city while adhering to the physically distancing guidance. Measures taking place include pedestrianisation, pavement widening, temporary bike lanes, and one-way walking.

Cycling as a mode of commuting is anticipated to increase due to continued physical distancing and with the rise in people using bikes during lockdown. Projects in Aberdeen will be aimed to rapidly expand and connect cycling infrastructure across the city to create an improved cycle network and this includes the beach active travel corridor which is from the city centre to Bridge of Don.

Aberdeen City Council transport spokesperson Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “It’s fantastic that the work is starting on Monday to install the cycle lanes in the beach area as it’s been an extremely popular route during lockdown.

“We encourage people to give us feedback on this route and others at https://consultation.aberdeencity.gov.uk/planning/physical-distancing-measures/.”

Aberdeen Cycle Forum communications secretary Rachel Martin said: “We’re delighted to see the City Council is putting in segregated cycle paths at the beach.

“Cycling delivers fantastic health benefits, not just to the individuals who cycle but to the whole community because one person on a bike is one less car on the road polluting the air we breathe. This is good for all of us and especially good for the NHS.”

Due to having to install the cycling infrastructure quickly as lockdown restrictions are eased and people return to work, there are limited ways to physically alter roads at the beach. Long lengths of kerb realignment are not feasible in the timescale, and instead the installation of mandatory cycle lanes can be achieved on the existing road. Mandatory cycle lanes mean that vehicles must not cross the line including for parking.

The Esplanade has seen a marked increase in recreational cycling, including young and novice cyclists. In order that the works cater for this recreational demand, the cycle lanes will be placed beside the current pavement taking space from the road, and made usable in both directions, with minimal interaction with general traffic. The arrangement is commonly referred to as a bi-directional mandatory lane.

The Beach Boulevard’s existing cycle infrastructure will be upgraded and expanded with flow mandatory lanes in both directions. The route runs along Beach Esplanade, Beach Boulevard and Justice Street.

The route includes:-

  • The Beach Esplanade, along the promenade, will be be one way to motor vehicles;
  • The Beach Esplanade at the southern section to be width limited.

The work is expected to several weeks to complete. 

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. People can comment on the new measures at https://consultation.aberdeencity.gov.uk/planning/physical-distancing-measures/.

The works in the beach area follow on from other measures already installed on Union Street and nearby streets, Torry, Rosemount and the George Street area which 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. Details about all the works can be found at https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/spaces-people-including-city-centre.

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.

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