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Further work begins today on temporary city centre pedestrianisation

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Workers will do more to make safe space for pedestrians and cyclists on Aberdeen’s main shopping street today.

Union Street has already been completely closed between Bridge Street and Market Street to make way for physical distancing.

But council staff today will begin installing new signs, hard barriers, and double yellow lines at the top end of the Granite Mile and in surrounding streets, as now irrelevant signs are removed.

Cones will be laid in Chapel Street, Rose Street, Thistle Street, Upperkirkgate, Schoolhill and Union Street to mark the wider pavement.

All these steps are temporary but will last as long as distancing is advised by the government and NHS.

Areas of these roads are to pedestrianised at all times, with service vehicles only allowed access between 6pm and 10am.

This is the latest phase of £1.76miilion work, funded by a Scottish Government grant, to allow people more space to walk and queue in the street.

NHS Grampian director of public health Susan Webb said: “Helping people to maintain physical distancing and avoid overcrowding in indoor areas remain vitally important for the foreseeable future to prevent a second wave of infection, so these changes are a necessity to protect the health of people in the city.”

It is hoped the measures will also help economic recovery of the city as people begin to visit shops, bars and restaurants again as lockdown is eased.

A council spokeswoman said it would encourage more people to walk and cycle, a key driver behind local policy.

But the main reason for the upheaval is to reduce transmission of coronavirus to ease the workload of NHS Grampian’s contact tracing team.

Aberdeen City Council transport spokesperson Councillor Sandra Macdonald said: “It’s great to see the work continuing in the city centre to allow pedestrians to physically distance and encourage people to cycle.

“The temporary measures will allow people to move and queue for shops safely around the city centre away from traffic which in turn will help the social and economic recovery of the city.

“The health and wellbeing of residents is at the forefront of our minds as we make these changes to city centre streets during this public health emergency.”

The program was developed with NHS Grampian, transport organisation Nestrans and business improvement district operator Aberdeen Inspired.

Organisations consulted include city centre businesses, bus companies, taxi firms, police, the disability equity partnership, and other local groups.

But a number of businesses have warned the measures will be the death of city centre retail as they make it almost impossible for some to operate.

An online questionnaire has been launched by the council to get public views on the work, which will b reviewed throughout the duration of the measures.

You can give your views here.

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