A 20-year plan to shake up transport across Aberdeen has been given the green light by councillors.
An ambitious package of measures have been drawn up by a team of council specialists who were tasked with finding ways of reducing gridlock and pollution in the city centre.
The approval has been welcomed as a “key milestone” in encouraging the city’s residents out of their cars, a senior councillor has claimed.
Several small-scale projects will happen in the short term, including improvements to signs and speed limit reductions.
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However, backing has also been secured for proposals such as pedestrianising a major section of Union Street.
The move, which the report claims could happen between the next two and 12 years, would see the city’s main road closed to all traffic other than bicycles and buses between Castlegate and King Street.
Short-term measures include reducing the speed limit along the entire length of Bridge Street to 20mph and extending the existing 20mph zone in the city centre to include Rosemount Viaduct, Gallowgate, Loch Street and George Street.
Known as a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (Sump) the 20-year programme was given the go-ahead by councillors on the city council’s city growth and resources committee this week.
Councillor Ross Grant, vice-convener of the committee, said: “The approval marks a key milestone in our commitment to ensuring we can make the changes necessary to rebalance our transport system within the city.
“While further work is required around specific proposals, this sends a clear message we are ready to crack on and ensure we can promote sustainable and active travel modes.
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“And by doing so, encourage people to limit their car journeys, which is essential if we are to meet our targets to reduce air emissions.
“The Sump is aimed at prioritising the shift every urban space requires to allow for breathing space for freer flow of travel, a better place for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Cllr Grant, previously the local authority’s transport spokesman, said some of the larger-scale projects, such as partially pedestrianising Union Street, will require more consultation but said feedback has been “very positive”.
He added: “The proposals range from small-scale operational changes and these will be progressed in the short term, which will make some positive difference.
“Opportunities will also be explored in the short-term to exempt cyclists from one-way and access restrictions on city centre streets, including Belmont Street, George Street, Summer Street and Bon Accord Street.”
Significant investment to promote cycling is suggested, with segregated cycle lanes planned for the likes of Union Street and King Street.
The Sump is part of the European-wide Civitas Portis transportation project, worth £3.2 million to the north-east.
It is led by Aberdeen City Council and involves a consortium of council, university and private partners, aimed at improvements.