Reclaim the Streets will be postponed

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that the Reclaim the Streets event we had planned for May 2020 will no longer happen on that day due to the current pandemic. However, we have raised lots of funding from various sources and the need for cycling infrastructure in Aberdeen is not going to go away so we very much still want to hold the event just as soon as the situation allows.

We have been in discussions with the council about this and have penciled in October 4th 2020; if public events are still banned at that time then as a contingency we have also asked for March 28th 2021. Neither date is confirmed at this time but we will work towards this for now while having the flexibility to change it again if needed.

Cycling is more important now than ever. All team sports and physical contact between groups of people are banned but yesterday the deputy chief medical officer made a point of encouraging exercise for health and wellbeing with a specific mention that cycling is ok for adults and children, provided people use their own equipment and take all the usual precautions like hand-washing.

Stay safe and keep cycling!

Aberdeen WalkCycleVote Campaigners’ Day

Yesterday was the Aberdeen WalkCycleVote campaigners’ day and it was a great success. About a dozen of us shared ideas about how best to campaign for active travel in Aberdeen. We discussed what’s been done in the past, what works well, and where to go next. It was also great to meet people and encourage collaborative relationships between the different groups in Aberdeen. There were speakers from Cycling UK, Sustrans, Aberdeen Cycle Forum, Nestrans, Friends of the Earth, and WalkCycleVote.

Here are some of the ideas we came up with:

  • Run a design competition for a protected/segregated bike path on King St
  • Organise a cycling inspired street art festival
  • Stage a demo to highlight pollution from motor vehicles
  • Publish a series of “Cyclists of Aberdeen” stories with photos and bios about individuals
  • Publish a series of “School run stories” about children cycling to school
  • Stencil bicycles on roads around schools to show children safe routes and also keep motorists mindful of children on bikes
  • Cycle around the city centre wearing gas masks to highlight the damaging effects of pollution from motor vehicles
  • Give chocolates to motorists to build better relationships
  • Share photos of the best streets in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for cycling and walking

Have you got any other ideas? Please share them in the comments.

An update on the Union St bike path petition

In February of 2018, a group of us stood at the King Edward statue on the corner of Union Street and Union Terrace to collect signatures for a petition for a segregated bike path on Union St. We gathered more than 250 signatures in just one hour and the petition was submitted to the Aberdeen City Council about a week later with 433 signatures. It was a paper petition only so people had to physically write their name and address on it.

In April 2018, Rachel Martin presented the petition to the Operational Deliver Committee. The committee decided the following:

…to request that a report be brought back to the Committee in regards to the feasibility of cycle paths on Union Street, subject to consultation from the City Centre Masterplan, and to include information on a potential dedicated segregated cycle lane.

It has been more than 6 months and so we followed up with the council to see what’s going on with the petition. Joanna Murray, head of transport strategy, replied to say the petition will be considered in their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and they expect to have a draft ready in the second quarter of next year. This is where we stand right now. We will follow up again in the second quarter of next year.

If this is something you support then please contact transport strategy at the city council to let them know – transportstrategy@aberdeencity.gov.uk

A visualisation of Union Street with a bike path

All new roads should have a bike path

The people of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire gathered outside Marischal College today to protest the lack of provision for cycling on the new AWPR – a bypass around Aberdeen. The AWPR has been in the plans for decades and it was more than 20 years ago that Cycling UK argued in favour of a segregated bike path on the road, if and when it got built. The Aberdeen Cycle Forum has also always been in favour of a segregated bike path. Sadly, they built the road and didn’t put in a bike path. Not only that but the new road has made conditions worse for cyclists in the region where is crosses the much-loved Deeside Way and also the Westhill cycle path. People are angry and frustrated and turned up to have their voice heard at the protest today.

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Representatives of the media were also there: BBC Scotland Radio, The Press & Journal, The Evening Express, and STV.

We know that money is not a blocker. The money is there but the local authority needs to apply to spend it. We want this money used to build segregated bike paths so that everyone can cycle in safety and we want all new road projects to include plans for segregated bike paths in the design.