Jul 062012
 

By David Innes. 

“You’re a boy fa kens fit’s goin on, usually,” said The Mannie Fae Along The Road to me this morning, as his crouching Jack Russell grimaced, strained and squeezed alarmingly on the other end of the lead he was holding,
“Fit’s the story wi the signs up aboot roadworks on Ellon Road for the next fortnicht?”

I’d noticed that myself. As a Bridge of Don resident anxious to avoid the road works on neighbouring stretches of Ellon Road during the past two summers, I bit the bullet and just left earlier. By bike.

It’s only eight miles across the city, and the Nigg Brae isn’t really all that steep. No, really, it isn’t. Aye, right.

The road works themselves are necessary, given that Ellon Road looks like Berlin’s Unter den Linden must have done in late April 1945, although the Soviet tank drivers were apparently a tad more polite and less-susceptible to Wut der Straße , aka road rage, than the 4×4 jockeys of the A956.

This necessary carriageway closure has not in the past, however, stopped the Gypit Tendency, vox-popped in the local press, from complaining about delays to fix the roads they girn about during the rest of the year.

Michty, they only had two weeks’ warning of the works planned via the foot-high electrical digital display boards mounted along the route in 2010 and 2011, and the illuminated message about this year’s scarifying and tarring has already been spearing through the fog for days on end.

The Mannie Fae Along The Road listened attentively as I explained David’s Bridge of Don Traffic Theorem Number Five.

“When the A956 is shut as it was at this very time last year, and the year before, or narrowed as it is likely to be next week, then Brer Commuter, in general, pays little heed to the forewarnings and expects that s/he can leave Bridge of Don, The Great Dunes of Scotland area, Ellon and all points north and west, and still travel to their city destination in the same time. 

“On encountering the inevitable snarl-ups, they bear this for the first journey, raging silently and furiously at the inconvenience. By home time, they are rat-running, using a route they assume will not have been sussed out by others. On encountering the inevitable snarl-ups, they are to be witnessed raging silently and furiously at the inconvenience. I could do this as a flowchart, you know.”

The Mannie Fae Along The Road’s brow knitted, purled and then unknitted slightly.

“Will that cause a redd-up on Jesmond Drive then?” he checked, “It did the last time.”

“I can’t say for certain,” I offered, “but I can’t see that the closure of Ellon Road, the resulting delays and frustration and the redd-up, as you put it, are unconnected”.

“The seener they build that Third Brig ower the Don the better then,” he ventured.

He sensed my disapproval.

“Pffffft” and “Tssssscccchhhh” are the best phonetic transcriptions I can offer of the non-language sounds I emitted, stopping just short of uttering expletives.

“No?” he timidly queried.

“Well, if you think about it, the Third Crossing will be designed to take the weight off The Parkway, the Haudagain roundabout and Ellon Road, but to get to it, vehicles will need to get to The Parkway. How might they do that?”

He ruminated, almost audibly as pennies dropped. I counted 1s. 8d. at least.

Well, aff Ellon Road at the Exhibition Centre roundabout for the traffic comin in fae Peterheid direction, I suppose?”

“So, knowing that they can get to a new Don Crossing from The Parkway, are they all going to queue patiently to turn right at the AECC? Might not some of them, or rather a lot of them, decide that the shortcut from Murcar via Scotstown Road, perhaps via Greenbrae and Dubford, might be an option to save queuing and time?”

“Aye, I suppose there is that til’t”.

“And of course, they’ll all head straight along Scotstown Road to The Parkway and turn right, won’t they?”

“Awa min, of course they winna, they’ll…..

nip…..

along…..

Jesmond…..

Drive…………”

The noise coming from the Penny Falls in his head sounded like someone had turned three melons on the Mains of Scotstown one-armed bandit.

“I never thocht o’t like that”.

“Your grandchildren, two of them are at Middleton Park Primary, aren’t they?” I enquired.

“Aye, deein weel, but there’ll be an affa steer o traffic roon aboot their yokin time”.

“And outside Greenbrae School and Glashieburn. Try getting out of Asda when the traffic is incessant from your left. Watch the residents of the sheltered housing opposite Asda trying to cross the road. Calculate how late the number 2 and 5 buses will be, caught up in it.

“Then the whole farrago’s played out again from four o’clock onwards, but in the opposite direction. Anyone heading along Jesmond Drive from the Ashwood direction is going to be queuing to turn right into Whitestripes Avenue to get to The Parkway as traffic heads towards them.

“Imagine trying to edge your car out of Newburgh Drive or Jesmond Avenue between 7.30 and 9.00, and between 4.00 and 6.30?”

“It’ll be a bit o a steer, by the soonds o it…”

“What else seems to be unknown by drivers from this side of town who just want to get across the river, is that they’ll just be queuing in a different place. The plans for the crossing say that Bedford Road will be closed, and only buses and smartarse cyclists like me will be able to use it.

“St. Machar Drive will be a T-junction at Tillydrone Avenue. With traffic lights! Anybody trying to avoid traffic in King Street or Great Northern Road by crossing into Tillydrone is going to come up against the same congestion, maybe even worse, on St. Machar Drive.

“Then there are the U-turns at King Street / St. Machar Drive, since nobody’s going to be allowed to make a right turn into the university from St. Machar Drive. And there’s the cost of changing the roundabout at the top of St. Machar Drive to deal with the increase in traffic coming up the Drive.”

“Maybe nae sic a good idea efter a’ then?”

“Not thought through, but it’ll give us something else to moan about if it ever gets built”.

http://www.oldaberdeen.org.uk/third_don_crossing.html
http://thirddoncrossing.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/thirddonc-rossingcpo-finalsubmission.pdf

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Sep 232011
 

By Bob Smith. 

Ye maun stan up an be coontit
Abeen the parapet stik yer heid
Mak sure ye’re heard lood an clear
Or democracy micht seen be deid

Noo fin ye stan an protest
Ye’ll be ca’ed a sorts o names
By fowk faa’ve ither  motives
An play devious sorts o games

In Aiberdeen yer a nimby
Fer haen a pint o view
Aboot the route o the AWPR
Tho’ some lifestyles it’ll screw

Dinna think bad o The Donald
Ye’ll be ca’ed a progress stopper
E’en tho a richt gweed SSSI
His o coorse  noo cum a cropper

Raisin the gairdens at Union Terrace
Cwid  lan oor  cooncil in penury
Ach nivver myn we’ll be consoled
Being brocht inti iss new century

The third brig ower the River Don
Noo iss cwid cause some grief
Ti the gweed fowk aroon Tillydrone
Seems they shudna be alloo’d ti “beef”

Folkies dinna wint a deer cull
Ower the wye o Tullos Hill
 The cooncil  says usin tree sleeves
We’ll aa hae ti fit the bill

We’re aye bein telt ower an ower
Protests div oor economy strangle
Nae concrete figures ti back iss up
As mair plans they try ti wangle

Showin  Aiberdeen’s open fer business
Am fair tired o hearin iss spik
As tho we’re a bliddy wee shoppie
Fit’s in danger o closin next wikk

Noo a wird ti aa the gadgies
Faa dinna like fowk ti protest
Awa an bide “ooner the thoom”
O eens faa wid line their nest

Mair names a’ll nae doot be ca’ed
An some flak a micht hae ti tak
Fer askin aa maist ordinary fowk
Ti stan up an jist fecht back 

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011

 

Aug 042011
 

By Bob Smith.

There’s ti be a public inquiry
Aboot a new brig ower the Don
Fit raised a puckle objections
Fae the residents o Tillydrone

Noo its thocht that maybe CPOs
Micht be used ti pinch fowk’s lans
A fair fyow bits o gairdens
Wid be teen oot o their hauns

As weel as kickin up a stink
Aboot the use o thae CPOs
Fowk in Tillydrone an Widdside
Are feart faar the traffic flows

Cars an larries fae aff the brig
Wull roar bye hoose front doors
Nae a thocht  fer folkies wellbein
As the car coont it fair soars

Eence they bigg mair hooses
Oot ower the Brig o Don wye
A fowerth brig crossin the river
Wull nae doot bi the cry

Noo here’s a thocht ma freens
An iss we jist maan speir
If aa iss happened  near Rubislaw Den
Wid plans git oot o first gear?

Support the fowk fae Tillydrone
Tell the planners ti back aff
Eence mair some in iss toon
Are threatened wi plans richt naff

.
.
.
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011

 

Jul 012011
 

Calling all groups in Seaton, Tillydrone, Bucksburn, Danestone, Bridge of Don, Middlefield, Dyce, Woodside, Bucksburn, Muggiemoss, Stoneywood….Aberdeen City Council is offering you a chance to air your views on the Don.

Over July and August the Sustainable Urban Fringes (SURF) Aberdeen project is keen to hear your views on the quality of the environment along the River Don.
Do you use the paths?
What about signage?
What do you like or not like about community woodlands, parks, playing fields or other open spaces?

How could they be better and better used?
What are the barriers to use?
How would you like to be involved in improving your local environment and open spaces?

If you would like Stephen Bly, Community Woodland Ranger, to come to one of your meetings, events or informal get-togethers to have a chat about your views and suggestions, then give him a ring on 07824 626303, or email him, StephenBly@aberdeencity.gov.uk.  Stephen can come along with maps and aerial photos of the area and you can tell him a thing or two.

The Aberdeen SURF project is working to improve the environment and open spaces along the River Don so that they can make a positive contribution to the quality of life of residents, businesses and recreational users. The project recognises that urban fringes – the areas on the edges of towns and cities – need as much attention as urban centres.

SURF Aberdeen is being managed by a partnership Steering Group which brings together officers from the City Council, SEPA, Aberdeen Greenspace, Forestry Commission Scotland and the River Don Trust.

Following on from initial consultation the SURF Aberdeen project will work to deliver a series of improvement projects in the project area.

So, why not take this opportunity to tell us what’s important to you?

For more information on SURF and SURF Aberdeen, visit the website at www.sustainablefringes.eu, or contact Sinclair Laing, email SiLaing@aberdeencity.gov.uk, tel (01224) 522725.

Notes :

•           The Sustainable Urban Fringes (SURF) Project Partners are:-

UK: Aberdeen City Council (lead partner), School of the Built Environment at Leeds Metropolitan University, City of Bradford and Norfolk County Council;

Netherlands: City of Enschede, Saxion University, City of Almelo and City of Hengelo;

Belgium: Province of East Flanders, Province of West Flanders and Province of Antwerp;

Germany: City of Hamburg; and Sweden: Municipality of Harryda.

•           The project is part of the Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme, which promotes trans-national co-operation through four priorities. The SURF project was approved in 2009 under the “Delivers Sustainable and Competitive Communities” category. http://www.northsearegion.eu/ivb/home/.

Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme is part of the European Territorial Co-operation Programme which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). This programme is designed to encourage cross-border, trans-national and interregional co-operation and balanced development of the European territory.

For more information visit: europeanregionaldevelopment

Lament For Aiberdeen

 Aberdeen City, Articles, Creative Writing, Opinion  Comments Off on Lament For Aiberdeen
Mar 032011
 

By Bob Smith.

Greet fer oor eence great city
Fer Aiberdonians hae great pity
A toon run by a bunch o eeseless feels
A cooncil in the pooch o business chiels

Greet fer oor eence bonnie toon
Faar we’ve bin brocht roon
Ti a city run bi them aat’s rich
Faar protest they wid like ti ditch

Greet fer democracy twixt Don an Dee
A toon faar the cooncillors boo the knee
Kowtowin ti aa thon Acsef bunch
Fit for? Maybe the odd free lunch?

Greet fer the greenbelt an hae a groan
A briggie ti be biggit near Tillydrone
A fitba stadium fit glowes reid
The Loch o Loirston’ll seen bi deid

Greet fer the green lungs o the toon
Faar UTG’s trees wull be cut doon
Ti be replaced by a rich chiel’s vision
Time we aa treated iss wi derision

Fit’s happenin noo we shud lament
An banish oor cooncillors ti Tashkent
Bit lit us nae get ower doon in the moo
We micht yet dunce ti a jig fae Iron Broo

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie”2010

 

Oct 222010
 

By George Anderson.

Have we gone a tad too far with Health and Safety?  The question came to me last week following an upsetting visit to my local DIY store.  I asked the store joiner to saw in half a plank of wood I had just bought to make a couple of shelves.  He turned me down flat.

‘Sorry mate,’ he said, ‘more than me job’s worth to wield a saw in ‘ere.  It’s the sawdust, it’s unsafe.’

It turns out that inhaling sawdust isn’t highly recommended if, in future, you want to get your oxygen supply from Mother Nature rather than a pressurised cylinder.  I accept this.

But if joiners are to be prevented from using the tools of their trade on safety grounds, what else might we look forward to?  Our troops issued with rubber bayonets?  No sex without a safety harness?  Will restaurants insist on cardboard forks and knives?  Will it soon be illegal to walk backwards unless your mother is holding your hand?

But before we get carried away with just how bonkers Health and Safety may appear today, we would be wise to remember how non-existent it was in the past.  By way of illustration we need look no further than the double decker bus of the 1960’s.

Bus depot supremo’s, in an early nod to the rights of non-smokers, prohibited the use of coffin nails on the lower deck of these buses.  However, as if by way of compensating for this wanton act of environmental friendliness, smoking upstairs was in effect, compulsory.  On a single journey from terminus to terminus, the collective puffing of nicotine fiends raised carbon monoxide on the upper deck of the last bus to Scatterburn to levels that would have triggered the evacuation of an anthracite mine.  Bronchitis sufferers were safer outside in the smog.

With regard to Safety, the case was a bit more one sided.  These buses had an open platform at the rear — the only access and egress point for passengers.

Of course, knowing exactly when to disembark was a bit of a black art and not everyone got it right

Because the platform was open, a single stainless steel pole, placed at the edge of the platform for the purposes of hanging on for grim death, was the only thing standing between the fare paying passenger and oblivion.  When a bus was doing sixty miles an hour it was like standing on the edge of a cliff in a gale.

Nowadays, party-pooping do-gooders have ensured that you may disembark from a bus only after it has stopped moving.  In the swinging sixties, however, you could disembark at any time you wanted, no matter how fast the bus was travelling.  The older generation were quite happy to wait until the bus stopped, but no whipper-snapper with a half decent Beatles haircut and a second-hand pair of winkle-pickers would have been caught dead waiting until a bus came to a halt before getting off.  A mathematical relationship was in play here – the faster a bus was travelling when you stepped off the rear platform, the more irresistible you were to the opposite sex.

Of course, knowing exactly when to disembark was a bit of a black art and not everyone got it right. I personally witnessed Derek Sangster step off the number 25 to Tillydrone (via Gordon’s Mills Road) while the bus was travelling at forty-five miles per hour.  Those in possession of an ‘O’ grade in Physics will have calculated that if the bus was travelling at forty-five miles an hour, then so was Derek.  Now, only Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble can whirl their legs at that speed.  Anyone else is destined to end up face down on the tarmac using their chin as a brake.

Street credibility always comes at a price.  Certainly, Derek managed to avoid a catastrophe by windmilling his arms fast enough to dislocate both shoulders, but he failed to prevent a disaster, unable as he was to remain upright long enough to avoid plunging headlong through the Cooperative Society’s main display window.  Few of us nowadays would be willing to catapult ourselves through a plate-glass window for the off-chance of a snog.  But the past is another country; they do things differently there.

Sep 032010
 

A few weeks back, we carried a short piece on the proposed and controversial Third Don Crossing.

Voice’s David Innes has been in contact with Tillydrone Community Council’s chairman Ross Grant to gauge opinion on the city side of the river.

It’s been well-reported that Tillydrone Community Council is opposed to a development that many see as being of benefit to commuters on the north side of the city. Community Council Chairman Ross Grant explains:

“We’re vehemently opposed to the Third Don Crossing proposal not just because of the massive detrimental impact it would have on our own community, but because we’re convinced it won’t alleviate traffic congestion, only encourage traffic further into the city causing even greater jams and increased air and noise pollution. It does nothing to increase use of alternative modes of transport.

“These aren’t just our views – they’re shared by the community councils of Old Aberdeen, Rosemount and Mile End, Froghall and George Street. Parent councils, the Aberdeen University Student Council, the Grandholm Village Residents’ Association and an increasing number of Danestone and Bridge of Don residents feel the same way.”

To the accusation that Tillydrone’s opposition is mere NIMBYism, Ross bristles visibly:

“I hate reference to cases like this as NIMBYism. Nobody denies that this proposal would ravage Tillydrone most, but it would have a significant detrimental impact on communities further afield, including Bridge of Don and Danestone.

The City Council hasn’t displayed best judgement on a growing number of issues, so why should we trust their judgement on this proposal?

“Our argument has always remained consistent – dual Persley Bridge, the Parkway and Mugiemoss Road. Most importantly, first address the Haudagain roundabout situation by constructing a flyover. These measures would allow a far smoother traffic flow to, from and through Bridge of Don and from the A96 and A947. Furthermore, if the City Council committed itself more to alternative modes of transport, including reliable, affordable and user-friendly bus services, car-sharing, cycling, rail and walking, these would reduce traffic levels. That’s the right way to address the problem and few people would argue against it. It’s not NIMBY; it’s a sensible and practical response which the City Council seems unable to understand. Put simply, Councillors – address the current problems, don’t add to them by building a Third Don Crossing.”

This is all very well-argued, Voice agrees, but how does Tillydrone Community Council and other supporters spread awareness of this well-founded viewpoint to those who are unsure about the proposal or who have already swallowed the pro-Crossing propaganda?

“Don Crossing Communities Alliance members have never hidden away from engaging in the debate. We recognise that there’s a problem with traffic congestion, and sympathise with the residents north of the Don, but this proposal isn’t the answer, no matter what some people think. We’ve worked hard over the past year to raise awareness of our campaign and have an increasing number of sympathisers. The City Council hasn’t displayed best judgement on a growing number of issues, so why should we trust their judgement on this proposal?

“We’re always happy to hear from people, and welcome correspondence with anyone interested. Our website is www.donsidecommunities.com and we often organise public events to involve people.

“On the bright side, I do think that publicity for our case in Voice has come at a relevant time considering that the Council has called a special public hearing into the proposal and it’s a hot topic of debate as a result”

Sep 032010
 

The Don Crossing Communities Alliance, whose members are opposed to the proposal to build a third bridge over the Don between the Parkway, Danestone and Tillydrone, is holding a Riverside Picnic on Saturday September 4 at Tillydrone Community Centre, Gordon’s Mills Road.

http://www.touchaberdeen.com/business/map

The number 19 bus service passes close by.

Ross Grant, Tillydrone Community Council Chairman has urged all sympathetic citizens, or those who would like to visit an area not often included among the city’s beauty spots, to “feel free to come along and see Tillydrone’s best kept secret in the beautiful Don Valley”. Bring your own food and refreshments and visit anytime between 10am and 2pm. Local experts will be on hand to answer questions and to show picnickers around the area, currently under threat due to the Council’s controversial proposal.

More info re. 3rd Don Crossing – Click here.

Jul 232010
 

By Dave Innes.

It has been an intention, since Voice first elbowed its way out of cyberspace, to run a feature on the Third Don Crossing planned to span the river between Danestone and Tillydrone. This long-mooted construction seems to have been almost forgotten as the higher profile planning issues of Union Terrace Gardens, Menie and the Western Peripheral Route have taken centre stage in recent times. As a Bridge of Don resident, I’m arguably in the minority in being unconvinced of the virtues of this proposal.

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