The City of Edinburgh Council now has approval to move ahead with consultation on the bold plans to change how we get about the city centre.
At this morning’s Transport and Environment Committee (made a little more exciting by the ejection of one member of a deputation) the council approved plans to consult residents and businesses beginning on 20 May 2019. The proposals are to alter the way traffic and pedestrians move around and will run in tandem with the Low Emission Zone proposal which may be passed this afternoon.
The city will now prioritise those walking, cycling or using public transport over anyone in a car or goods vehicle. Changes are proposed to public realm – for example in Lothian Road where Festival Square may be more closely linked to the plaza outside the Usher Hall and traffic could be reduced to two lanes.
The idea is to make Edinburgh a better place to live and to reinterpret the historic city. Air pollution is a problem and must be responded to. The council has already engaged with public and stakeholders but will now engage on more fully developed proposals which include exciting things like urban lifts to take you from the New Town to the Old Town.
Waverley Bridge could become a plaza for walking and cycling rather than catching a bus or taxi, and Bank Street would be closed. George Street would be open only to essential traffic such as blue badge holders. The hope is that resulting public realm improvements would provide a ‘world class environment for retail and leisure’.
We spoke to Transport and Environment Convener Lesley Macinnes and Daisy Narayanan Deputy Director of Sustrans who has been at the helm of the City Centre Transformation project. This was recorded outside in the sunshine during the lunch break. The meeting continues this afternoon.
You may read all the papers relevant to this month’s Transport and Environment Committee here on the council website.