A series of changes will be implemented in Edinburgh’s Old Town this summer to ensure safety and accessibility during the busy Festival period.
The package of measures, collectively named ‘Summertime Streets’, has been developed to address concerns around safety and ease of walking in crowded streets and will be put in place from 28 July to 1 September.
Victoria Street, Cockburn Street and parts of the Royal Mile will be vehicle free for part of the day while the High Street between South Gray’s Close and St Mary’s Street and top of Blair Street will be fully closed to vehicles. There will also be restricted access to the Cowgate and Candlemaker Row.
These actions arise from concerns raised in a report to the Council’s Culture and Communities Committee, Managing Our Festival City, which highlight challenges posed by increased crowds and narrow pavements, including a lack of pedestrian amenity and the potential for conflict with cars.
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “We are very fortunate to live in such a popular, vibrant city, boasting an excellent calendar of events and world-famous attractions.
“However, with this comes the pressure of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the many residents and visitors who pass through our streets every day. These temporary adaptations will reduce pressure on busy pavements making it much easier for local residents to carry on with their daily lives, whilst creating a more relaxed, welcoming atmosphere at a time where Edinburgh is at its busiest.
“This ties in with our broader aims to make Edinburgh a more attractive, people-friendly place, prioritising walking and cycling. However, we’re also committed to maintaining transport links for the people who live and work here and have been liaising with residents and businesses to make sure these measures allow them to continue with their usual daily routines.”
Vehicular access for blue badge holders and other people with mobility issues will be available at key locations throughout the Summertime Streets period, while deliveries and amenities for local businesses will take place during the hours that streets are open to vehicles.
A dial-a-taxi service has been arranged for residents affected by the rerouting of the number 35 bus while Summertime Streets are in operation.
Residents and businesses in the area will receive information directly from the Council with details about Summertime Streets being published on the Council website in coming weeks.