The geography of the Dee valley dictates the main road layout and transport links with the dominant North Deeside Road (NDR) along the valley linking the three communities with the city centre. As successive housing developments have moved further from the main road this has encouraged a preference for car use over public transport and pedestrians can be faced with steep side roads. The impact of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), with a major junction at Milltimber, is now evident.
The new Countesswells development, with over 300 homes now occupied, is beginning to have an impact, and this will increase as numbers increase, both on traffic patterns and the requirements for public transport.
The roads in the Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber area still appear to becoming increasingly busy and at times congested despite the opening of the AWPR in 2019 The traffic flow along the NDR in the morning and evening during week days remains high and suspect this is due to people commuting into work from Banchory, Aboyne and other areas along the NDR.
The AWPR therefore does not appear to have made such a huge impact on traffic along the NDR. It would be interesting if Aberdeen Council carried out a survey on current NDR traffic volumes and compared them with the pre-AWPR volumes.
The AWPR however has made a significant impact on traffic in Aberdeen particularly along North Anderson Drive which now has noticeable reduced traffic flow. Other problems however will remain, e.g. the increase in traffic volumes due to the large amount of new housing either planned or currently being built in the area.
A better link road between the NDR and Inchgarth Road/Garthdee is needed. The condition of the roads is also poor and unless the Aberdeen City Council undertakes some major repair work, will continue to deteriorate for the foreseeable future. The poor quality of road reinstatement after utilities works is a particular problem.
Footpaths and Cycleways
The main footpath and cycleway is the Deeside Way (formerly the Deeside railway) which runs East-West and connects the centre of Aberdeen to Ballater. Surveys show that approximately 40-200 cyclist and 100-200 pedestrians use the Deeside Way every day.
The increase in use is causing problems, particularly at commuting times, and the CC is actively in discussions with all interested parties to how the problems can be mitigated.
There are a number of other Core Paths (designated as such by the City Council) and a network of smaller paths, including some along the River Dee and others in the forested areas. The CBMCC has a footpath group to promote walking, improve the condition of some paths and signage and to liaise with the city authorities and other interested groups.
The Public Transport System in the Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber areas into the city centre is excellent along the NDR itself, but is otherwise poor. Older residents in many cases struggle to get to a bus if they live a distance away from the North Deeside Road especially given the steep gradients of many minor roads. In addition, large housing estates are being built a long way from the road, i.e. not within walking distance. In the future, better bus services may be provided, but due to the narrow roads in some of the areas, such services may cause added congestion. Attempts by the bus operators and Aberdeen City Council to provide bus services into the estates to serve the elderly or vulnerable have repeatedly failed due to the high level of subsidy required to support a small number of users; innovative approaches are needed to try and resolve these issues.
The use of private transport is increasing in the area for many reasons. The building of new housing estates all along the Dee Valley means that more people need to commute into Aberdeen or other employment centres, e.g., Dyce, Westhill, Bridge of Don along both the North and South Deeside Roads. The opening of the AWPR has relieved some of this traffic, but long term the trend is upwards but as previously noted traffic volumes on the NDR are still high at certain times of the day. In the CBM area the large volume of house building is beginning to have a significant effect: many of the houses currently being planned or built are large and at least two cars per house can be expected. The lack of Public Transport linking housing estates directly to the main employment centres will lead to lengthy commuting journeys and a greater reliance on private transport.
The Countesswells development is still at an early stage. It now has a shuttle bus service but remains to be seen what the final public transport solution is for this development. There are indications that a direct bus route from Countesswells to the city centre will be establish later in 2020. The link road to the A944 and Westhill is not yet complete.
Current Key Issues
- Roads, access and transport requirements for new housing developments. The CC monitors all new housing developments and road developments and comments on all of them at the planning stage. The CC also lobbies for improved infrastructure to accommodate new developments.
- The requirement for public transport for new housing developments and for older, vulnerable residents and those with particular needs. The CC is continually reviewing Public Transport needs for all new and proposed housing development. In addition, the CC is in discussion with Aberdeen City Council and bus operators regarding the transport requirements for older, vulnerable residents and those with particular needs.
- Road conditions and repairs. The CC works with the local elected Councillors to get Aberdeen City Council officers to address the issues with damaged and dangerous roads.
- Deeside Way. The CC is in discussion with relevant parties to introduce measures to improve safety.
- With the number of houses and estates being built or proposed in an around the CBM area it may impossible to provide suitable and available public transport for everyone. The key we believe is the NDR, this is well serviced by 4 Bus Routes the 19,201,202 & 203. With likely restriction on traffic in Aberdeen in future years, currently the best route to Aberdeen is by using one of these bus services.
For many people the issue is getting to the NDR. One solution to this would be for the Council to provide good size Park and Ride Facilities somewhere between Bieldside and Culter. There should also may be another one towards Banchory.
This would enable commuters to get to a good Transport Facility and be terminals for any Shuttle Buses. There may be objections to such proposals but bold Decisions need to be made if traffic volumes in and around Aberdeen are to be reduced.
Community Council Objectives
To ensure that the views of the community are fully taken into account in all roads, and Public/Private Transport issues in relation to existing roads, new roads, footpaths, new housing developments and other proposals, plans and changes affecting the local community. To promote walking and cycling.
- To continue the current response to the key issues above, including to prioritise and pursue ACC for road surface repairs.
- Continue to address Deeside Way safety. To obtain agreement of all relevant parties to introduce positive measures to improve safety, by means of signage and other measures.
- Make the case and lobby the ACC for a new link road between NDR and Inchgarth Rd. irrespective of the proposed development of the Inchgarth site (between the NDR and Inchgarth Road).
- To obtain agreement of the ACC to routing of the Deeside Way away from Station Rd Milltimber.
- To continue to determine the views of the community – in particular the requirement for access to public transport for vulnerable groups. Also access the demand for a direct bus service to the Robert Gordon University campus and the Bridge of Don.
- To further develop the work of the footpath group, including exploring the ACC and landowners improvements to the riverside path along the Dee.
Views are specifically invited on the following:
- Transport requirements for older groups, vulnerable groups and those with particular needs.
- Public Transport requirements for new housing estates.
- Repair status of roads.
If you would like to comment please add them below or click here to open a response sheet file. This will allow you to complete and send your response by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to CBMCC at: 188 North Deeside Road, Milltimber, AB13 0HL. All comments, however received, will be collated anonymously and acted upon as appropriate. Your identity will not be disclosed.