An overview of transport in Kincardine and Mearns by Nestrans’ Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator Lucy Johnston.
Access to Laurencekirk
What is it?
In December 2013, Nestrans commissioned an ‘Access to Laurencekirk’ study in partnership with Transport Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council and Tactran. The study is being undertaken in the form of the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) assessment, which will consistently explore potential options to address the Laurencekirk transport problems through a detailed consultation process.
What are the issues?
The issues are focused around the 3 Laurencekirk junctions off the A90. The issues surrounding the junctions include road traffic accidents, delays, speeding, poor driver behaviour and large vehicles overhanging the central reserve, causing obstructions. The current junction infrastructure is constraining development in Laurencekirk and is affecting the quality of life for local people. Significant levels of further potential development including housing developments and traffic growth will only worsen existing problems.
What is our aim?
The aim of the study is to develop a preferred solution for access between the A90 Trunk Road and Laurencekirk and Montrose that is cost effective, improves road safety and meets the needs of local businesses and residents while ensuring the efficient operation of Laurencekirk High Street.
What have we done so far?
After analysing all the issues with the Laurencekirk junctions, which have consequently informed the development of potential solutions, the start of 2015 saw the continuation of the ‘Access to Laurencekirk’ consultation process.
On 21 January 2015, a public exhibition was held at the Dickson Memorial Hall, where information was displayed on the work undertaken to date and comments on the potential options were welcomed.
After the event, there was the opportunity to view the same information online and the option to provide comments was also available until the end of February.
What stage are we currently at?
Feedback on the options displayed is now being collated and will be used to complete the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) report.
The client group, comprising Nestrans, Transport Scotland, Aberdeenshire Council and Tactran have viewed and returned comments on initial sections of the report, which is expected to be completed in the next few months.
The report will be used to inform any decision on which improvements will be taken forward to the next stage of assessment.
For more information on the Access to Laurencekirk scheme, please visit: http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/transportation/AccesstoLaurencekirkPresentationBoards.pdf
Increase in rail figures
Significant levels of rail growth at stations in the north-east have been announced as part of statistics from the Office of the Rail Regulator for 2013/ 2014.
Passenger numbers at the eight stations across Aberdeen City & Shire are up by an average of 7.83% on the previous year, seeing 5.8 million entries and exits through the stations.
North east passenger numbers are now over double figures from 2004/05, an increase of 105%, and more than double the all-Scotland increase of 49%.
In the Kincardine & Mearns area during 2013/14, Portlethen Station saw 48,174 entries and exits – an increase of over 72% on the previous year. Laurencekirk Station saw 102,770 passengers through its doors – up 11% from 2012/13 and Stonehaven saw passenger numbers of 528,307 – an increase of over 3.5% on the previous year.
Councillor Ramsey Milne, Chair of Nestrans said:
“As we know, rail passenger numbers are continuing to increase here in the north east, which is fantastic to hear.
We have seen evidence that the small timetable changes that have been made, providing services at times passengers want, is having a very significant impact.”
Nestrans is in discussion with Transport Scotland and Abellio ScotRail to push for improvements at local stations, additional stops where appropriate and to consider the potential for other enhancements to the rail network in the area.