Back in April, we asked people to find one thing – something you’d like to see changed locally. For the Aberdeen Cycle Forum, one of those things is King Street – and they’ve come up with a novel way to try and change it, with a public design competition. The ACF’s Rachel Martin explains more:
The Aberdeen Cycle Forum is running a design competition for a segregated bike path on King Street in Aberdeen. King Street is long, polluted, congested, and a frightening place to be a cyclist. Currently most of the space is given to motor vehicles which makes it unpleasant and unsafe for everyone else.
A new design is needed to solve these problems and to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto bikes. We think our communities are full of creative, innovative, and talented individuals who can create designs that will inspire our politicians and urban planners to make Aberdeen a city of which we can be proud.
We want to be inclusive of all ages and backgrounds and so the competition will have three categories – one for primary school children, one for secondary school children, and one for adults. Often, when provision for bicycles is included in road layouts, designers don’t consider the needs of children and people with disabilities yet a well-designed cycle path can be used by all groups. A well-designed path can also make commuting to work and school pleasant and enjoyable by improving the journey ambience and showcasing the local architecture.
Investment in cycling infrastructure returns more to the community than it costs to build. For every £1 spent on cycling and walking, £13 worth of benefits are returned to the economy. Boosting walking and cycling brings benefits to local retailers, reduces absenteeism, increases job satisfaction, and provides huge benefits to the NHS through improvements to health and well-being. To see these benefits, we need infrastructure— and good infrastructure begins with design.
We chose King Street because it it would be a logical extension of our campaign for a segregated bike path on Union St. The two streets are connected and this could be the beginning of a network of segregated path radiating out from the city centre. A bike path all the way along King Street would connect the University of Aberdeen with the city centre. The University is a large employer in the city and makes a significant contribution to the region but it needs to attract students and staff. If the bike path continued all the way along Union Street then it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from there to Deeside Way and out into Royal Deeside.
Edinburgh Cycle Cooperative have donated vouchers for the winning submissions, which will be judged at the end of February 2019. To enter, go to https://kingstreet.awardsplatform.com and create an account. The competition closes on 15th February 2019, at 5pm UTC time. You can read more on the Aberdeen Cycle Forum site.