Start dates have been set for three temporary neighbourhood spaces for people interventions which were introduced to increase space for pedestrians due to coronavirus 2m physical distancing.

Aberdeen City Council’s city growth and resources committee agreed to the move at a meeting last month (June) for Rosemount, Torry and George Street after recommendations from the director of public health for NHS Grampian to support the removal of the measures due to an improved public health position and significant vaccination coverage.

The timetable for the removal is they would start three weeks after the move to Level 0 which happened on Monday (July 19). They will take approximately 13 weeks to remove which includes the statutory process for the temporary traffic orders required to carry out the works. The removals are also being fitted around already-agreed roadworks and the council’s road maintenance programme.

George Street is to start on Monday August 9 and expected to take three weeks for removal, Rosemount is to start on Monday August 23 and is also expected to take about three weeks, and Torry to start on Monday September 13 and should take about a week.

The Union Street Spaces for People interventions will be reported to city growth and resources committee next month (August) as part to the City Centre Masterplan review along with the BHS and Market Buildings proposals.

The report to CG&R committee last month said data collection has continued to show increased levels of pedestrians and cyclists using recreational routes and recreational destinations. Pedestrian levels are about 150% compared to the same time last year, cyclist levels are about 120%, and car usage is about 80%.

The Spaces for People interventions had continued support from both Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue and the report noted that council officers continue to work with the emergency services to ensure that the interventions do not impact on their service provision.

The temporary Spaces for People works were carried out after a ringfenced £1.76m grant from the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People fund which is being administered by Sustrans. They were designed to protect public health by reducing Covid-19 transmission in the city by allowing pedestrians to do 2m of physical distancing, allow people to continue to use active travel such as walking and cycling, and further help the economic recovery of the city.

The city centre, and Union Street in particular, faced challenges because pavements were not wide enough to accommodate 2m level of physical distancing.

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