Relieved traders have welcomed the removal of a controversial bus gate in Aberdeen – but warned more help is needed to support businesses.
Aberdeen City Council created a bus gate in Rosemount as part of the Spaces for People initiative, designed to give pedestrians and shoppers room to move around freely and safely.
However, traders and residents warned it would hinder shoppers – causing damage to businesses already struggling to recover from lockdown.
Now the city council has removed the bus gate from Esslemont Avenue, allowing all traffic to turn right into, and from, Rosemount Place.
However, buses remain the only vehicle able to turn left at the top of Esslemont Avenue.
Alan Watt, the owner of the Belvidere Gallery and a member of traders group Rosemount Rocks, said local business owners were “delighted” to see the change.
However, he added: “It’s still going to make it, as my customers say, difficult to move around the area.
“It makes small journeys longer because you have to detour around several blocks to move a few hundred yards.
“This is certainly a step in the right direction though, and it’s going to help the traders in the lower part of Rosemount Place because (the Spaces for People alterations) have been pretty devastating to a few of them.”
Nicola Bramley, service co-ordinator at Rosie’s Cafe, which is situated on the junction beside the former bus gate, is also still concerned.
She said: “Definitely all the changes on the road have affected Rosemount businesses.
“This latest change (to the bus gate) helps, but it doesn’t help with parking.
“We have a lot of elderly and disabled people who used to park along this side of the road in front of the cafe.
“They’re no longer able to do that and we’ve noticed quite a marked drop in business.”
Changes made to Rosemount Place in recent months include the introduction of a one-way system from Argyll Place to Mount Street, parking bays in the middle of the road, and a new cycle lane.
Mr Watt added: “My understanding is that these are temporary measures, but it might be with us for a year yet so I suppose we’ve got to accept that until the Covid situation changes.”
Local councillor Bill Cormie said: “Although it’s a relief to see the bus gate coming out, more is needed to get Rosemount back into the buzzing place that it was and should be.
“There’s a lot more needing done before folk are really happy, but that bus gate coming out is a great relief.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “We have agreed, after consultation with local businesses and residents, to change the bus gate on Esslemont Avenue.
“Coming up Esslemont Avenue, it will be for buses only to turn left onto Rosemount Place. All traffic will be able to turn right into Rosemount Place.
“Coming from the other direction, all vehicles can turn right from Rosemount Place onto Esslemont Avenue.
“Council officers have and will continue to engage with community and business groups to make changes where a better solution can be found which achieves the public health benefits while not overly causing inconvenience to businesses and residents.”