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New lit fountain switched on to mark the final part of the £3.2m refurbishment of a city street

A new fountain with feature lights was switched on recently to mark the final part of a major refurbishment to Broad Street in the heart of Aberdeen’s city centre.

Aberdeen City Council transport spokesman, councillor Ross Grant was joined by Andy Mulholland, Sustrans’ head of design and engineering for Scotland, and Steve Turner from Muse Developments for the event on the pedestrian-priority road.

The £3.2million City Centre Masterplan project has transformed and revitalised the street by making it a pedestrian-orientated space, improving the streetscape, and turning it into an area capable of staging events throughout the year. The road re-opened to only permitted traffic – local timetabled buses and cyclists two months ago.

The design for Broad Street includes the illuminated fountains, trees and benches, improved lighting, and a raised grass area offering flexible event space in front of Marischal College, along with a paved roundel - a mini-roundabout – where Upperkirkgate and Gallowgate meet. The cost of the work is being covered by the city council’s City Centre Masterplan budget, Marischal Square developer Muse, and Sustrans Scotland.

Councillor Ross Grant, said: “Overwhelming feedback from the public during the City Centre Masterplan consultation was for more pedestrian-friendly areas.

“As the east end of the city centre continues with its transformation the new shared space on Broad Street, complete with enhanced public realm, is now a more functional, attractive and cleaner place for people, designed to encourage people to linger longer, which is also a fit for purpose event space to accommodate Aberdeen’s growing programme of events and festivals that take place year round.

“The Broad Street layout is the first of its kind in the city and, as a new space for the city centre, we’d ask all users of Broad Street to continue to be considerate and mindful of all other users.”

Sustrans Scotland, community links manager, Dave Keane, said: “Creating safe and attractive spaces to walk and cycle is at the heart of our Community Links programme and we are proud to have supported the changes made to Broad Street as part of the City Centre Masterplan.

“By creating a street that prioritises people on foot and bike, Broad Street becomes a more attractive place for everyone, which will improve health and wellbeing, increase footfall for local businesses and bring communities together.”

Steve Turner, regional director for Scotland at Muse Developments, said: “The redevelopment of Broad Street is the latest phase of a remarkable transformation of this city centre location.

“The new open pedestrian-priority design complements Marischal Square, which is already proving to be a vibrant and popular civic space. I believe this will further enhance the City Centre Masterplan ambitions to bring life back into heart of Aberdeen.”

The only vehicles allowed on Broad Street are local timetabled buses and bicycles - pedestrians will get priority over other road users, and cars/other vehicles will continue to be banned.

The road opened to local timetabled buses at the beginning of August and drivers at both Stagecoach and First Buses received extensive training from their employers about how they should drive on that section. A ‘bus gate’ camera has also been set on Broad Street.

Cars, vans, lorries, and other vehicles will continue to be allowed on Upperkirkgate/Schoolhill although drivers are reminded that Upperkirkgate and Gallowgate is part of a Restricted Zone and they are not permitted to stop, or park there.

Motorists and cyclists should also be aware there will be increased numbers of pedestrians and cyclists on Upperkirkgate/Gallowgate, due to the change to a pedestrian-priority area for Broad Street and they should take extra care in the vicinity.

Familiarisation work for the new road layout was carried out before the road opened with Disability Equity Partnership, and their observations will be carefully examined and considered as part of a planned monitoring review of the project following its opening. Officers will report back to committee after six months. The design and build of the project followed best practice and government guidelines.