Aberdeen Cycle Forum have been running mini POPs almost since POP started and next year they hope to run one of the most ambitious events planned so far during next year’s PoP-Up weekend – but they need your help. Rachel Martin explains why they’re crowd funding to close the roads and reclaim the streets in this guest post
Reclaim the Streets is coming to Aberdeen on 3rd of May 2020. Organised by the Aberdeen Cycle Forum and supported by Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival and Pedal on Parliament, the people of Aberdeen will get to enjoy the central city on car-free streets. We will close Union Street, Broad Street, Upperkirkgate, Schoolhill, Back Wynd, Little Belmont, Belmont – creating a circuit for walking and cycling.
The Aberdeen City Council has long been talking of pedestrianisation of Union Street and this is our chance to truly pedestrianise it even if just for a couple of hours.
The biggest barrier to a person’s decision to ride a bike is the absence of safe spaces to cycle. Reclaim the Streets will provide this safe space by removing motorised traffic and giving the space to people on foot, on bikes, and on rollerblades or scooters.
There will be cycling lessons for absolute beginners and for people who know how to ride but who want to increase their confidence cycling on roads. We’ll also have a Dr Bike where you can take your bike for a health check.
Aberdeen City Council organises a car-free day in Aberdeen once a year but people cannot cycle at this event. There are also many stalls with diesel generators at the council’s event which pollute the air making it unclear whether there’s any air qualify benefit from removing cars. We have asked the council to have a car-free day for people to cycle, rollerblade, or scooter but they will not and so the Aberdeen Cycle Forum is organising it instead.
Closing central city streets will cost us over £2,000. There’s a fee of £850 for a temporary traffic restriction order and £1,471.10 for traffic management making a total of £2,321.10. We have asked the city council to waive this fee in previous years but they will not, so this year we’re raising the funds ourselves. We are fundraising for the event here with our crowdfunder.
We think this event is important for several reasons. The bike lessons will open up cycling to people who have never ridden a bike before or who want to ride but need a bit of encouragement. Removing cars from the city centre will show Aberdonians what their city centre is like without traffic and how pleasant it is to breathe clean air, how calming it is not to have to listen to traffic noise pollution, and how journey ambience for walkers and shoppers can be improved by removing the cars. It will also give the opportunity to cycle in central Aberdeen to groups of people who wouldn’t otherwise do it, like women and children.
The event will be from 11am – 1pm on May 3rd 2020.