Plans have been revealed for two new cycling routes linking Aberdeen’s bus and train stations with Union Street.
City planners were tasked with drawing up a bike lane through the Merchant Quarter as part of the £40 million Aberdeen market project.
But now, they have come back with a pair of routes which might work best in tandem.
Aberdeen cyclists have long campaigned for segregated bike lanes in the city.
And they finally made a breakthrough in their campaign in 2022 when councillors agreed a demarcated route all along the Granite Mile.
And it appears that thinking has spread – with another segregated bike lane proposed to and from the bus and train stations just in case it’s needed.
Here’s one they made earlier: A segregated bike lane on Guild Street and Market Street
Council staff, working with engineering consultancy Fairhurst, have drawn up a cycleway around the Merchant Quarter.
For use to and from the stations, the bike lane takes in the steep Market Street slope and Guild Street. Both have become less busy recently after bus gates were installed.
But the two roads were not part of the area that officials were tasked at looking at.
City masterplan manager Sandy Beattie said: “It was determined that should a route be desired that had fully segregated cycling infrastructure, from the station to Union Street, then Guild Street to Market Street was the only option.”
If eventually approved, it would link in with the planned Union Street segregated bike lane at the top of Market Street, as well as offering access to “the only existing designated cycle infrastructure in the vicinity” at Shiprow.
However, there are concerns that – despite protected cycleways – the bus-dominated space in Guild Street could prove troubling for those on bikes.
One of the key reasons behind the segregated lanes bound for Union Street was cyclists saying they felt unsafe weaving in and out of buses.
Direct ‘back road’ cycle route through Aberdeen’s Merchant Quarter
Meanwhile, for those put off by the presence of traffic, an alternative two-way cycle route could also be installed.
The preferred route to be brought to councillors next week would be signposted through the Merchant Quarter.
It would be the step route put in place, with the segregated bike lane to follow as the Aberdeen market project progresses.
It would take cyclists from Aberdeen’s train and bus stations briefly along Guild Street, before turning onto Carmelite Street.
There would be a new bike lane on the southern stretch of that road, until cyclists would then turn right to the cobbled, northern part Carmelite street.
This strip would be made a pedestrian and cycle zone, with only local access for vehicles.
Planters, installed in memory of lives lost to drugs, could be moved to accommodate the cyclists.
Bikes would then rejoin traffic on the quiet Hadden Street, following Correction Wynd underneath the Granite Mile and St Nicholas Lane onto St Nicholas Square.
Passing the soon-to-close Marks and Spencer building, cyclists would then join the Union Street bike lane there.
“This route is direct and legible, with turns and stages minimised,” Mr Beattie advised councillors in his report.
Best of both worlds?
He added: “This approach allows for the desired segregated route, whilst also facilitating cycling through the Merchant Quarter to allow people to experience this area of the city centre.
“And [it would] encourage under-confident or slower cyclists who may
prefer ‘back road’ cycling and to the avoid the buses and gradient at Market
It would however require a rethink of the route around Wapping Street on to Guild Street.
Presently, traffic travelling between the two is split into four lanes on the stretch of Carmelite Street where the new bike lane is planned.