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Cycle lane could return to Aberdeen’s Beach Esplanade

The cycle lane installed at Aberdeen beach in 2020 proved controversial.
The cycle lane installed at Aberdeen beach in 2020 proved controversial.

Cycle lanes could return to Aberdeen’s Beach Esplanade and a bus lane could be enforced along the “full length of Holburn Street”.

Aberdeen City Council today agreed to move forward with very early plans for improvements on what is called the Ellon Park and Ride to Garthdee Transport Corridor.

A number of options for better public transport by bus, and better active travel options for walkers and cyclists, are now under consideration by the local authority all along the “corridor”.

They include creating a “long distance active travel route” between Ellon and Murcar, and a bus lane all along King Street between Bridge of Don and Castle Street.

A great deal of options are under consideration, but here are the “key measures” being looked at in an interactive map:

The slew of options were prepared following an extensive study of areas between Garthdee and Ellon where transport issues have been identified.

King Street, Aberdeen.
King Street, Aberdeen.

Today, elected members agreed to tell officers to take the many options identified from the study and assess them in an “outline business case”, and report with this case back to councillors in December.

The 54-day Aberdeen Beach cycle route ‘saga’

One of the options considered by council officers as one of the “key measures” identified, which could present a “transformational improvement to the transport experience on the Ellon to Garthdee corridor”, would be bringing back a very controversial feature at Aberdeen Beach.

The report outlines the potential to “implement active travel route via Beach Esplanade”.

It highlights this option under the rationale that it, and similar active travel proposals, would “encourage more people to walk and cycle for trips along the corridor, in conjunction with public transport uptake and patronage.”

The cycle route at the beach was implemented as part of Spaces for People.

But it is not the first time a dedicated active travel route which can be used by cyclists has been proposed at the beach.

In 2020, cycling lanes were installed at the beach as part of the Spaces for People social distancing project.

The move was welcomed by cyclists, who hailed it as providing increased safety for biking at the beachfront.

At the time, concerns were raised that the measures were put in place without full consultation.

However, concerns were raised that the project was rushed through without full consultation.

Hundreds signed a petition calling for a rethink.

And in October 2020, 54 days after it was installed, the local authority agreed to remove the temporary measures on the Beach Esplanade, prompting anger from cyclists. 

The one-way system in front of cafes, restaurants and businesses along to Footdee were not impacted by the decision.

Beach cycle route would be ‘low-hanging fruit’

Neil Innes, cyclist and founder of Ride the North, criticised the council for cutting the cycle route after only a relatively short period of operation in 2020.

Neil Innes, founder of Ride the North.

He said: “The saga on the beach was interesting because it is a road that has no junctions, no residents, no private parking, no roundabouts, no traffic lights, no nothing.

“The esplanade in Aberdeen, for the introduction of a segregated cycle route, is the lowest of the low-hanging fruit.

“It’s a very wide road with a very wide pavement.”

He added: “What they did may have had its critics, but it made the road safer.

“A safer road, with slower traffic and better segregated cycling infrastructure would be good.”


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