Another area of Aberdeen will be subject to physical distancing works next week.
George Street will be adapted from Monday to allow people to queue and walk about it more easily.
The project has been designed following feedback from local councillors, businesses and stakeholders.
As part of the work commencing next week, George Street from Hutcheon Street to Maberly Street/Spring Garden will remain two-way to all traffic. On-street parking in this section – except the disabled parking bay – will be removed and displaced parked vehicles will be accommodated by additional parking on Maberly Street, Catherine Street and Gerrard Street.
George Street from Maberly Street/Spring Garden and St Andrew Street will become one-way southbound with a north-bound mandatory cycle contraflow lane. The parking bays on the east side will be retained and the existing single yellow lines (timed waiting restrictions) on the west side will become double yellow lines (‘at any time’ waiting prohibition).
Cyclists will be exempt from the existing “no entry” signs on George Street at the St Andrew Street southern junction. This is so bike stands within the existing pedestrianised zone can be more easily accessed.
Maberly Street will be one-way eastbound from Skene Square to George Street. Between George Street and Charlotte Street there will be a shared pedestrian and westbound cyclists’ lane. Between Charlotte Street and Skene Square there will be a westbound mandatory cycle contraflow lane.
On St Andrew Street from George Street to Charlotte Street/Crooked Lane, it will become one-way west-bound with an advisory bus and cycle contraflow lane east-bound.
The west-bound bus stop on St Andrew Street between Loch Street and George Street and the north-bound bus stop on George Street between John Street and Craigie Street will be temporarily closed and new stops provided north-bound on Loch Street.
The south-bound bus stops on George Street between Hutcheon Street and John Street and the east-bound bus stop on St Andrew Street between George Street and Loch Street will move out further from the existing kerbline.
The city centre 20mph speed limit will be extended with new boundaries at the John Street/Skene Square/Denburn Road junction, the Maberly Street/Skene Square junction, the George Street/Hutcheon Street southern junction and the Gallowgate/Mounthooly roundabout junction.
More bike stands, seating and greenery will be provided in extended pavements, whilst leaving adequate space for physical distancing.
Aberdeen City Council transport spokeswoman Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “It’s great the works in George Street are starting as we’ve been working with the George Street Traders’ Association, the local community council, and local councillors on the plans.
“The measures we’re putting in may be modified again as we continue to speak with these groups and local residents, to gauge how the arrangements work when people continue to return to the area for shopping and leisure.
“Many people already walk and cycle in the area, going to the local shops or on their way to the city centre.
“These interventions will enable pedestrians to physically distance and help prevent the spread of coronavirus, while at the same time support the local economy as lockdown eases.”
George Street Traders’ Association chairman Stuart Milne, who is general manager at Finnies the Jewellers, said: “Whilst all would clearly not welcome the temporary traffic interruption in George Street to facilitate necessary social distancing, I believe we have to consider it necessary to enable businesses to open up once more to get the local economy moving again.
“As general manager of Finnies, I personally have marshalled customers at the door of the shop to enable customers to enter the store safely in accordance with our health and safety risk assessment to ensure our arrangements are safe for both staff and customers.
“On several occasions, I stepped off the pavement into the road to allow the safe passage on the pavement of passers-by, elderly, mothers with prams and disability scooters.
“I should not be asking staff members to do this when there is risk of being knocked down by a vehicle.
“We have to welcome the initiative with the narrow pavements in George Street and look forward to customers feeling safe in these surroundings to return to visit some of the amazing businesses we enjoy in the George Street area.”
Advance signs highlighting the changes and restrictions are also being put out letting people know about the changes in the area.
Similar works, where traffic is re-routed to free up carriageway space for businesses, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, have already been carried out on Union Street and nearby streets, and in the communities of Torry and Rosemount.
Meanwhile, a week-long public consultation on a new Aberdeen cycle path began yesterday.
The plans are aiming to encourage residents to cycle in the Hazlehead area for both work and leisure.
With cycling becoming more popular due to continued physical distancing, Aberdeen City Council is aiming to expand biking infrastructure across the city.
It wants to create a cycle path between Hazlehead roundabout and Rosemount Viaduct.
The local authority is asking the public for feedback to help finalise the designs.
Councillor Macdonald said: “It is good we have a week to engage with the public on our plans for the area from Hazlehead to the city centre.
“The consultation held for the beach area active travel plans proved to be very popular and I’d encourage people to take part in this one too.
“We’ve already made changes in other projects thanks to suggestions from local people so we’d really like to hear their views on this scheme as this will help us to shape the final plans.”
The highlights of the Hazlehead active travel scheme include mandatory cycle lanes from Hazlehead to the city centre.
The mandatory cycle lanes would follow the direction of traffic in both directions at Queens Road, Carden Place and Skene Street.
Feedback from the public is being taken into consideration to help shape these plans so comments on these options and the proposals are invited at bit.ly/2Csf4TR