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Campaigners win fight to have gap in Deeside Way caused by Aberdeen's £745m bypass plugged

New road layout meant cyclists on popular route had to ride for 30 metres into oncoming traffic

A new section of shared use path allowing cyclists and pedestrians to safely cross the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road (AWPR) and which fills a gap in the popular Deeside Way off-road commuting and leisure route has now opened.

As we reported last August, a bridge constructed to carry the B979 road from Milltimber to Maryculter over Aberdeen’s new bypass had no safe provision to cross it for people on bike or foot.

> Bridge over new Aberdeen bypass  described as "lethal" for cyclists and walkers

A reconfiguration of the road layout due to construction of the new bridge meant that cyclists had to ride 30 metres into oncoming traffic to rejoin the route – something that reader Carl Gerrard, who lives in nearby Culter, described as “lethal.”

He supplied us with a copy of a drawing used in a public consultation in 2014 that he had annotated, including a red line showing the route of a proposed pavement discussed with engineers at the consultation meeting but which did not appear in the final plans.

Carl said that the drawing was shared widely on social media after’s article in August and had helped the campaign to have the missing link in the Deeside Way reinstated.

This week, after the new path was opened, he told the Press & Journal: “Thanks to everyone who helped get the path replaced, hundreds of walkers and cyclists can now cross safely every day.

“The Deeside Way is one of the most well-used cycling and walking paths in the north of Scotland.”

Member of the Scottish Parliament Lewis Macdonald told the newspaper: “It’s great to see that the pathway has finally been reinstated.

“Credit goes to the local residents who have been campaigning to make this happen.

“Having the pathway will mean that cyclists, walkers, and horse riders who regularly use the Deeside Way will be able to cross the B979 more safely.

“I had concerns that a failure to reinstate the pathway would deter active travel, so it is positive news that it is now ready to use.”

In September, a cycling festival was organised to mark the opening of the AWPR, allowing people to ride their bikes on part of the route – even though once the road was fully operational, cyclists would be banned from it.

One local campaigner, Ben Butler described the festival as a “kick in the teeth for cyclists,” and joined others in boycotting it.

Instead, they staged a protest in Aberdeen city centre to highlight the construction of a road that made no provision for people on bikes, as well as the missing link on the Deeside Way that the AWPR had created.

> Cyclists complain that cycle route has been severed as Aberdeen festival celebrates new bypass

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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dassie | 5 years ago

Said "gap" is symptomatic of a complete lack of joined up thinking when it comes to cycling infrastructure.

richiewormiling | 5 years ago

It's such a shame that getting provision is still considered and the reality, a 'fight'.

burtthebike replied to richiewormiling | 5 years ago
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richiewormiling wrote:

It's such a shame that getting provision is still considered and the reality, a 'fight'.

That's because it still is. 

Despite getting all the policies and strategies on everything from transport to health to pollution changed to prioritise cycling and walking, they are still ignored.  It doesn't matter how many government press releases say that they are investing record amounts into cycling and walking, and all the health plans to get more people doing them and the warnings about climate change, you still have to fight for anything.  Every time.  

After thirty years of "priority" it is an absolute scandal that we are still in the situation where cycling and walking have to be fought for, and how we frequently lose.

burtthebike | 5 years ago

Well done everyone who took part.

But this is just so typical of highway engineering, all the money is spent on building a road, and it doesn't matter what the Highways Agency or Local Authority policies say, cycling and walking is ignored, or actively discouraged by incompetent planners and engineers.  I've lost count of how many road schemes local to me have done the same, and taking it to the council is a waste of time, even when you can quote their own policies which totally disagree with what they are doing.  Ring any bells South Gloucestershire?

I'm just looking at the new Joint Local Transport Plan 4, and they seem to have changed the wording about cycling and walking, possibly because they got so much support in plans 1, 2 and 3.  It now says "Create a comprehensive and safe network, so active travel is the preferred choice for shorter trips and for accessing public transport".  The only reason I can see for such arcane language is that some people will be confused and not realise that means a walking and cycling network.

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