Buses and bikes will be the future of Aberdeen’s Broad Street, after councillors rejected a drive to ban all traffic following the thoroughfare’s £3.2million renovation.
Liberal Democrat Steve Delaney brought his motion to yesterday’s full council meeting which sought to fully pedestrianise the street when it opens in the coming months.
He had the backing of the city’s Disability Equity Partnership after many disabled people raised fears they may not see or hear vehicles coming down the street.
But bus companies have warned against any change of plan, pointing to the delays already experienced by commuters with the street closed.
Mr Delaney, who represents Kingswells, Sheddocksley and Summerhill, urged members to “use common sense” and support him.
He won backing from the SNP group, with group infrastructure spokesman Michael Hutchison adding: “We were told with Broad Street closed the city centre would grind to a halt. It hasn’t happened.
“If it is going to be used for events through the year, then will it not be closed to traffic anyway?”
However, council roads spokesman Ross Grant said that this was the sixth time members had debated the fate of Broad Street and First Bus had lost more than £120,000 since the closure last March.
He added that to put in necessary traffic orders and consult with the bus firms would come at “considerable cost” to the taxpayer while rejecting bikes from the streets would put a £1.5million grant from cycling charity Sustrans “at risk”.
He was backed by city centre masterplan spokeswoman Marie Boulton who said: “This is about having money to make sure the city is accessible for everyone.
“It’s in nobody’s interest to cherry-pick changes to parts of the masterplan. It is joined up…and we have to make sure we don’t have a broken jigsaw.”
Councillors voted 23 to 22 to allow buses and bikes, with a safety review to be conducted six months after the scheme has started operating and a general review after a year.
Mr Delaney said following the meeting: “I would argue that the voices of disabled people were drowned out by those of the private bus companies, regardless of the fact their scare stories of major disruption… never materialised.”