Local elections 2022: questions sent by Aberdeen Cycle Forum to candidates / party representatives and answers below received from Scottish Greens
1. Do you agree that there is a Climate Emergency?
Yes, vote like our future depends on it, think global, act local! Here’s a petition for a Climate Emergency Bill started in 2018: https://greens.scot/climate-emergency. The Climate Bill that got passed in Sept 2019 did not go far enough. And since then ACC (in contrast to Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow) did NOT declare the Emergency, astonishing.
2. Despite all the plans, policies and strategies in place at both a local and national level, active travel infrastructure in Aberdeen is very poor, and the rate of change in delivering improvements seems to be incredibly slow. What would you do to speed up the rate of change?
We need a dedicated working group of expert-planners and councillors feedbacked by residents, to deliver with urgency. We will push to make use of the increased budget available for active travel, thanks to Greens in government. A Workplace Parking Levy will raise funds as well, and is an incentive for sustainable travel. The current (notoriously delayed and new) active-travel corridor STUDIES of arterial routes need result next term: integration is key, so implementation of a network of segregated infrastructure and cycle-friendly streets will be in the making by the mid of the decade. We would also ask Councillors to report back on their wards progress.
3. Aberdeen City Council is still intending to implement new road-building schemes such as on South College St and the Berryden Corridor which will increase traffic capacity coming into the city centre. Do you support those proposals?
No, we don’t support such road building projects. More road space induces demand. Their (improved) active-travel component is meagre/disproportional. We need to prioritise conditions for walkers, wheelers and cyclists, tackle emissions in an ambitious city Low Emission Zone, and improve public transport (provision & costs).
4. We have previously asked for the City Council to designate a Councillor and a Senior Officer to be Active Travel champions and a direct point of contact for campaign groups such as our own. Would you support such an idea?
Yes, in line with Q2, this would be the enrichment for Council and transport body Nestrans, necessary to ensure action travel is given the high priority it needs.
5. Many other cities are now implementing car exclusion zones around schools at key times of day as a means of reducing pollution, increasing safety and thus encouraging active travel for children. We are not aware of any such plans in Aberdeen. Would you promote such an idea to be adopted in Aberdeen?
Yes, a great example of making communities greener and ’20 minutes’. Air pollution, congestion and idling around schools need to be tackled for the health and wellbeing of (and perception by) children and the neighbourhood. We support car exclusion zones and (or at least… ) priority provision for active travel. We notice the success of ‘bike bus’ initiatives in other Scottish cities.
6. Do you support plans to pedestrianise Union Street between Market Street and Bridge Street, and would you support a segregated cycle path for the full length of Union Street?
Yes, we fervently support pedestrianisation as part of a modern liveable city. Regarding Market to Bridge Street, we are very disappointed that the current Spaces for People Covid measure is about to be removed, to a step-back setting. We need to provide for the inclusive ‘walk, wheel cycle’ aim, so engage with all users except the through-road motorists, and uphold it with public transport optimisation as well. We certainly need segregated cycle lanes on Union Street, the current & spacious 4-5 lanes situation with only cycle-stop boxes at junctions is shambles. Obviously this only makes sense when it comes with safe/segregated cycling routes TO Union Street as well.