24 June 2020

Town centre traffic management changing to prepare for Phase 2 reopening of retail outlets

Aberdeenshire Council will be introducing temporary measures in six town centres aimed at providing the extra space required to allow for physical distancing and to provide safe environments for people returning to our main shopping areas in response to the public health emergency.

The measures, which are fully funded through Sustrans’ Spaces for People project, are intended to be flexible to the requirements of the local areas and will be monitored as phase 2 restrictions begin to ease from Monday, June 29. 

Any sections that are not required can be adjusted or removed as needed or can be similarly adjusted to take into account any particular local issues.

The creation of safe spaces for people is intended to provide reassurance and confidence that our town centres can adapt to the physical distancing guidelines currently in place to reduce the risk of transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

The measures include the temporary reallocation of road space to create the additional space and the introduction of temporary speed limit reductions. In some cases, these measures are further supported by temporary road closures or one-way systems. 

Although there will be some restrictions to motorised traffic, all the town centres will still be accessible by all modes and our off-street car-parks will remain open with only very few exceptions.

Proposals have been developed with a focus on people and safety for Banchory, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Inverurie, Peterhead and Stonehaven. The measures will be introduced prior to the reopening of the town centres on June 29.

Existing on-street parking on High Street and Dee Street will be temporarily coned off to allow more space for pedestrians. The section of taxi rank closest to the Burnett Arms will also be coned off to provide more space for people queuing at the bus-stop, while the taxi rank further to the east will remain in place. 
The existing disabled parking spaces on High Street will remain in place, with two additional disabled parking spaces being marked on the north side of the road. 
The changes to the Banchory proposals were very minor, with the retention of one of the taxi ranks and the addition of two disabled space on High Street the significant amendments. 
A clockwise one-way system on Market Street and Bridge Street to Station Road will be introduced and will complement the existing eastern section of Station Road which is already one-way. Parking restrictions on the extents of the one-way system will be introduced to ensure there is enough space for pedestrians to use the road where necessary and to enable loading and unloading to shops and businesses.   
A 20mph speed limit will be introduced on all approaches to one-way system. No significant changes were required to the Ellon proposals.  
Within Fraserburgh town centre, rather than close roads to provide wider footways, the existing on-street parking was reallocated for pedestrian use to create one widened path in each of the three main routes into Broad Street (High Street, Mid Street and Saltoun Square car park). One of the on-street parking laybys on Broad Street will also be reallocated for pedestrian use.  
In taking these simple measures, it was accepted that although some of the on-street parking would be reallocated it would also mean retaining 3 laybys on Broad Street itself while also retaining vehicular access to the town centre including public transport. 
West High Street has narrow footways lined with shops and in order to create extra pedestrian space while still allowing deliveries, it is necessary to make it one-way from east to west and remove the on-street parking.  A clockwise one-way loop is completed with the southern part of Harlaw Road and Burn Lane.  

Advanced signing will be provided to encourage vehicles approaching the town centre from the west or north to do so via Harlaw Road. The slip road and long car park (Market Place Car Park) on the west side of the approach from the south will be closed except to deliveries and disabled drivers as this is a particularly busy stretch for pedestrians with many shops and a main bus-stop. 
Following feedback, the design was reviewed to ensure that there would be opportunities for deliveries, however there were no substantial changes to the design principles. Concern was also expressed about the loss of parking spaces, but those lost are fewer than 10% of the total spaces available in the town centre area and as usage from office workers is still down substantially, there should be ample spaces for shoppers.  

Footways have been extended in Queen Street, Prince Street, Errol Street and Back Gate. Parking will be available in Queen Street along with areas of loading/unloading bays provided for deliveries. Buses will continue to travel through Queen Street and Chapel Street. Errol Street will be made one-way to accommodate the widening of the footways on both sides. A dedicated loading/unloading bay will also be located near to Marischal Street. Marischal Street will be closed to all vehicles. 
Dedicated loading/unloading bays will be provided in Errol Street, Back Street and Chapel Street to aid with deliveries which cannot be taken from the rear entrances. Back Street will be closed to all traffic except for deliveries. No buses will be using Back Street, which means a dedicated loading bay can be used within the bus-stop for the duration of these temporary measures. 
Following feedback with local councillors and key stakeholders, the original plan for Peterhead was amended quite significantly. The road closure on Queen Street and Chapel Street has been amended to allow traffic into Queen Street and to provide buses-only access to Chapel Street. 

This has allowed for the retention of some on-street parking and delivery bays on Queen Street which complements businesses who have changed their model through lockdown by means of delivery and collection of goods. All parking on Queen Street remains under the existing 45-minute time restriction. Due to the closure of Marischal Street and the fact that some shops have only front entrances for deliveries, two additional loading/unloading bays have been included at Back Street and Errol Street. Existing traffic orders and parking restrictions apply. 

A temporary 20mph speed limit will be introduced within the town centre and parking restrictions will be implemented on part of Market Square, Evan Street, Allardice Street and Barclay Street. Removing the parking will allow pedestrians to pass safely on effectively a ‘widened’ footway giving consideration for others. Two additional disabled parking spaces will be introduced into Market Square car park which will remain open. 
The parking directly outside the businesses on Beach Road will also be removed to allow the footway to be widened and a priority traffic system will be put in place for vehicles accessing parking. The existing two disabled parking spaces opposite the businesses will be displaced further south on Beach Road. 
Following engagement with councillors and key stakeholders, the scope of the proposed traffic restrictions initially proposed within Stonehaven has been reduced which will see more on-street parking retained. The extent of the measures is now much more focused on where it is anticipated that queues may form or where there may be congestion. 
Ewan Wallace, Head of Transportation at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “The reopening of town centres is an important step as part of the transition from the ongoing lockdown. These temporary measures will support the reopening of the town centres by creating the additional space required to ensure that physical distancing can be maintained, particularly around areas where queues may form.

“These are difficult times for many and we recognise that many businesses will be struggling at the moment due to the lockdown. These measures are intended to encourage people back to our town centres by providing a safe environment for all.”