Following a year-long trial on George Street the council has now agreed to move forward with a new design. The trial ran from July 2014 to August 2015 meaning that two festival periods were encompassed in the test.
The project included examination of footfall in the area as well as what worked and what did not. The layout encompassed a two-way cycle lane and some temporary pop up spaces for restaurants in the street to use as overflow. Never intended as the permanent layout, instead it was a useful basis from which discussions flowed. The council used a research company who carried out interviews with stakeholders, all of which fed back into the process.
The stakeholder group held quarterly meetings in the Assembly Rooms. Open to all, the meetings were so over-subscribed it was standing room only for most of them.
The council already has outline design principles in a 2011 report by Jan Gehl Architects called “Edinburgh – Public Space Public Life” and these principles are to be factored in to any future plans.
The New Town and Broughton Community Council, Essential Edinburgh, the Cockburn Association, Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, George Street Association and representatives from the council were all represented on the steering group who approved the design principles brought back to the council’s June Transport Committee meeting unanimously.
A more detailed design will now be drawn up by February 2017 to encompass the ongoing questions of road junctions, parking, statues, the street’s symmetry, buses, bikes and pedestrians and how they can all best use the street in harmony with each other.
The council said they were particularly pleased at the number of people and organisations who had fed back into the discussion about the design and the public realm.
Meantime the street is back to the way it used to be with traffic of all kinds using both sides of the street, which we quite like! There is of course the addition of the new Rook outside Hamilton and Inches taking up a couple of parking spaces but helping them to celebrate their 150th anniversary.