Union Street to remain open to buses amid pedestrianisation plans

The decision was made during a meeting of the full council on Wednesday.

Aberdeen City Councillors vote to allow buses and taxis on partly-pedestrianised Union Street Aberdeen City Council
Union Street: Buses and taxis will continue to be allowed access to the Aberdeen street.

Aberdeen City Council has decided the central section of Union Street will remain open to buses.

The decision was made during a meeting of the full council on Wednesday, after a report considering recommendations for the City Centre Masterplan was presented to councillors.

Council staff put forward four options for the future of central Union Street to councillors.

The third option was chosen, which detailed two bus lanes with bus laybys and council staff have been instructed to prepare detailed designs for this.

The decision came against the recommendation of council officers, who urged councillors to push ahead with pedestrianising the area between Market Street and Bridge Street.

Option three retained bus, taxi, and servicing access on central Union Street. Aberdeen City Council
Option three retained bus, taxi, and servicing access on central Union Street.

Co-leader councillor Ian Yuill said: “We are keen to ensure that central Union Street is as accessible as possible. Sadly, over the last two years getting from Guild Street up to Union Street has been a real challenge for some people, including people with disabilities, some elderly people and people with limited mobility.

“Today’s decision to allow ongoing bus access to central Union Street means as many people as possible will have access to that important part of our city centre. It will also allow for pavement widening to make the area better for pedestrians.”

Co-leader councillor Alex Nicoll added that the decision would not stop the council from introducing full pedestrianisation at a future date.

He said: “To do so, the council has agreed it must be satisfied both that suitable 24-hour access arrangements to central Union Street are in place for people with disabilities and limited mobility and that suitable alternative bus and public transport arrangements are available which ensure easy bus passenger access to central Union Street.”

A report to the council meeting explained that option three retained bus, taxi, and servicing access on central Union Street. There will also be pavement widening to allow for some street greening and furniture to improve the public realm while still facilitating bus access.

The report said pedestrians could cross the street at designated crossing points and a slightly raised road at either end of the street would highlight a change in character along the section of Union Street.

The councillors also agreed to creating a bus priority route – a buses and taxis-only section – on Bridge Street, Guild Street (east of Wapping Street), and Market Street (north of Guild Street).

A ban will also be put in place on turning right from Union Terrace to Rosemount Viaduct (except for buses, taxis and cycles), and Schoolhill will be pedestrianised from Back Wynd to Flourmill Lane, with access for service vehicles only.

The report to councillors said there will be a net increase of more than 20 spaces in taxi ranks compared to 2019, as well as a net increase of more than ten accessible parking bays through the city centre.

The council also agreed to undertake a pilot project to spruce up buildings on the block at 107-131 Union Street and report progress to a full council meeting in December 2022.

The spruce-up includes funding the façade-cleaning works which would act as an incentive for owners and occupiers to complete maintenance works such as decoration, roof repairs, shop front replacements.