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DRIVERS FACE 50p CHARGES IN ABERDEEN

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The Scotsman (p10) reports that Aberdeen City Council planners have made radical proposals for a new transportation...
The Scotsman (p10) reports that Aberdeen City Council planners have made radical proposals for a new transportation strategy for the city. Motorists could be charged 50p a time for entering Aberdeen. Planners claim that Aberdeen, the only Scottish city for a major government study on sustainable urban transport, is the ideal location for the introduction of a road-pricing system. By charging the 95,000 drivers who daily enter the city 50p per journey, they could raise£35 million every year to be used for the benefit of the city.

The ambitious proposals, the Scotsman continues, have been made in a 31-page draft strategy document which members of the authority's planning committee are being urged to put out to full public consultation. Director of planning and strategic development Peter Cockhead is quoted in the report as stating: 'Demand for peak-hour traffic to enter the city is estimated to exceed capacity in Aberdeen between 1999 and 2006. Some corridors are already at capacity.' He further states that urgent action is needed to develop a series of initiatives to combat the traffic congestion which is already costing the city an estimated£100m a year in delays.

'It would not be appropriate, efficient or effective to attempt to solve the problems of congestion by building more roads to accommodate the peak demands of car drivers, particularly as recent evidence suggests that more trips may be generated to take up latent demand. Reducing the impacts of congestion may, therefore, be best addressed by increasing awareness of the problems through provision of suitable alternatives and direct action to lessen such impacts.'

The city's aim, Cockhead, goes on to say, should be to increase by 20% the proportion of people walking to work by 2011 through the promotion of pedestiran priorities in the city centre. Priority should also be given to improvements for cyclists and park-and-ride schemes. The issue of parking also comes under scrutiny:

'By declaring a special parking area, decriminalisation of offences to be regarded as civil rather than criminal would enable the council to administer both parking supervisors and traffic wardens, with monies raised through fines being used locally to further the aims of the transportation strategy.'

Members of the council's planning committee are being asked to endorse the draft proposals at a meeting next Thursday before the document is put out to public consultation. Cockhead told The Scotsman: 'Doing nothing is not an option. We have to take some quite significant steps. We believe our proposals and targets, although ambitious, could be achieved.'

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