Get traffic moving says transport chief

Sir Moir Lockhead, chairman of the Aberdeen-based international transport group First, has called for action to get Aberdeen’s roads unblocked.

He highlights, in particular, the opening of the new Union Square shopping centre as having exacerbated the city’s traffic problems – something that was predicted when the scheme was first proposed. Predictably, that whole area has turned into a mess of seemingly uncoordinated traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. It should have been sorted out long before Union Square opened.

But, right across the city, there are plenty of examples of badly laid out junctions, congested streets and badly phased traffic lights. A lot could be achieved with some sensible planning.

In the report in today’s Evening Express, Sir Moir talks about the need for a total review of Aberdeen’s roads. He is even quoted as saying that bus lanes should be opened to cars with passengers, something that has been regularly urged in recent years – including this blog.

bus lane

It simply cannot make sense to sanitise whole lanes of scarce tarmac for a handful of buses and taxis. That is simply not making good use of publicly-owned resources.

Experience in Leeds, where 2+ or HOV lanes have been in use for some time, is that it:
  • speeds up the traffic flow across all lanes – including the buses
  • is more accepted by the public
  • provides a very real incentive for car sharing
  • reduces lane violations.

So why are we waiting? Let’s open all bus lanes to vehicles with two or more occupants and lets not prevaricate as our councillors are prone to do. Let’s show a new more dynamic city and have the lanes opened up within the next two to three months, not two to three years!

So, since it is so logical, why has it not been done before?

Well there was some sort of garbled suggestion that buses might have to stop at bus stops and cars in the bus lanes might get held up behind them. (Duh! Isn’t that what happens at the moment when there is a bus stop without a bus lane.) So let’s bin that as a crazy excuse.

Apparently there would be problems with detecting the number of people in a car. Oh, and as an add-on to that, everyone would go out and get tailor’s dummies or blow-up dolls to put in the passenger’s seat so they could drive in the 2+ lanes!

It’s a sad day if we start turning down good ideas for such negative and ridiculous reasons.

Come on Aberdeen City councillors, go for it. Let’s get our city moving again.
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