Jam tomorrow – note of our meeting with Aberdeen City Council, 16 Jul 2014

After about 18 months of trying, ACF members met last week with officials from Aberdeen City Council and facilitated by Cllr Ross Thomson, the Councils cycle champion. We had sought a meeting to discuss road safety concerns prompted by a fatal accident on Anderson Drive late in 2012. Lets hope that the amount of time taken to arrange a meeting isnt indicative of the Councils attitude towards ACF or towards road safety. As it happened, on the very day of the meeting there was a further accident on Queens Cross roundabout with a cyclist taken to hospital.

In the time since we first requested the meeting a number of other issues had come up too, including some related to the AWPR, so the meeting covered those too. There seems to be a lot of work underway or planned for the future, but not an awful lot that is imminent, so it may be some time before we start to notice any significant improvements (hence the heading above jam tomorrow). A note of the meeting is available here and we welcome your feedback and any comments about road safety, especially on roundabouts, if you have particular examples of road design problems which create a hazard. We have had good feedback from members in the past and the existing list of flaws is regularly put to the Council. This is a chance for new members, or old, to add to that.

Cycle count results 2014

Aberdeen Cycle Count 2014

The results can be found in .pdf form here.

This years cycle count was finished over the week starting 12th May. One position was counted on 20 May due to technical difficulties.

The total is up 23% from the count in 2013, and is the highest since the count began in 2008.

It is an increase of 13% from the second highest year, 2011, and a 45% increase since the first count.

The highest number of cyclists was counted along Union Street at the junction with Union Terrace. This has consistently been a high-count area along with King Street, which is counted at the junction with Mounthooly Way.

The proportion of female cyclists was 19%, a small increase from previous years.
While the growth in other years has been modest, the count this year has risen by almost double the increase.

With this increase, it is surprising to see that three sites showed a decrease in cyclists. The change at the Victoria Bridge/Market Street is not perhaps indicative of anything (-1 change), but the decrease of cyclists at the George Street (-11) and Westburn Road (-10) locations possibly indicates a shift away from using those routes.

The three-year growth comparisons are up sharply at some locations but hold steady at most. Three locations show a decrease over time. The change (-2 in both cases) at Queens Road and the Shell Path is small and possibly not, again, indicative of anything. However, the change over the two three-year periods compared shows a marked (-9) change in cyclists using the Victoria Bridge/Market Street route.

The Forum continues to seek changes to this area in order cyclists to access the city from Torry and other points south.

The Deeside Line, as one of the few available continuous, sheltered cycle routes, unsurprisingly shows the highest growth when comparing three-year growth patterns. This again highlights the fact that cyclists are keen to use infrastructure when it is implemented sympathetically and well maintained.

The Cycle Forum will continue to work for better infrastructure to encourage more cyclists. It will encourage the council to aim for a safer and more pleasant environment for those who are already cycling in the city.

Progress on Gritting and Guild Street

Progress on Gritting and Guild Street

We have some progress on winter gritting and on reopening the lane from the harbour to Guild Street. And it is some good news from the council! They have agreed that the winter services plan should include the main cycle routes for this coming winter. Officers have been asked to work out how they can do this and have been asked to report back to councillors. This has been the result of consistent pressure from ACF members and a deputation to the council committee, with vital support from Cllr Ross Thomson. The other good news is that the council has agreed to reopen the onward lane from the harbour to Guild Street. This should be happening in the new year and means that cyclists are no longer faced with a lengthy detour up Marischal Street. Again Cllr Ross Thomson was the main force behind this move but thanks to all the members of the Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure committee for their support on both these measures.

Westhill Cycle Path Improvements – We want your suggestions!

The Aberdeen Cycle Forum has recently been working on Quality Cycle Corridors – routes that are essential for cycle commuting and leisure in the city. Not all of the reports are ready, but as they are completed, we will be looking for your feedback on them. The first is available here. Please send your suggestions for any other improvements (or improvements on what has been suggested) to info@aberdeencycleforum.org.uk

The petition is already being discussed on our Facebook page, please leave comments there if you prefer that venue.

Westhill Cycle Path Petition

Westhill Cycle Path Petition

The Westhill Cycle Path provides a key link for cyclists between the area of Westhill and Aberdeen City Centre. The Path has good sections and the Aberdeen Cycle Forum would like to see all parts of the path brought up to a good standard, especially:

1) the narrow path that runs alongside the A944 near the new Prime 4 development; this path is too narrow and is unsafe. ACF is calling for this to be widened to meet national cycle path standards.

2) the barriered section near the 5 mile garage that forces cyclists either through the layby or to dismount. ACF is calling for this to be redesigned to provide a continuous and safe section of cycle path.

If you use the Westhill Cycle Path as a commuter, a leisure cyclist, a pedestrian, or just want to improve transport safety for non-motorised transport, support ACFs campaign by signing the e-petition

If you are willing to collect physical signatures, a copy of the paper petition is available here.

Cycle Count 2013

The annual cycle count was completed in May of this year. The results can be found in .pdf form here.

The count is up 8-9% on last years count but is 10% below the count in 2011.

Compared to 2008, the count is up 18%. If the Deeside Line is excluded, the increase is only 12%.

The proportion of female cyclists was 17%, similar to previous years.

There has undoubtedly been growth in cycling since 2008 but overall the growth has been modest.

The three-year averages highlight the uneven pattern since 2008:

– Growth has focused on just a few of the sites – the Deeside line and King St most notably, and to a lesser extent on the North Deeside Rd and on Auchmill Rd.

– Most of the other seven sites have seen little or no growth

– One site has seen an actual decrease – Queens Rd (near Hazlehead). This must raise serious issues about the quality of the Westhill cycle route. We would have expected the Westhill cycle route to have raised cycling levels on this corridor so the count supports ACFs view that further work is required to bring the whole route up to a good standard.

It is notable that the sites in Aberdeen that have recorded the largest increases since 2008 are on corridors that have decent cycle provision. The Deeside line has benefited from progressive improvements and so too has the on road cycle lane along North Deeside Road. King Street has decent stretches of continuous on road cycle provision in both directions, especially along its central section. Auchmill Road is harder to decipher, but our count shows almost half using the pavement which does provide a continuous route with few interruptions. With this now re-classed as shared use, we shall see how this impacts on future counts.

The experience of the successful routes needs to be applied more widely; more routes that provide continuous and direct provision, without being fragmented or continually losing priority; allocation of road space to cycling that is made free of parked cars; more effort to improve cycle safety at junctions and pinch points; and a city centre welcoming to cycling.