Pedestrians 'put first' in Edinburgh city centre plan

Princes Street (Artist impression) The blueprint includes taking away street furniture and having less traffic

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Plans to put pedestrians first in the heart of Edinburgh city centre are set to be approved by councillors.

The blueprint for the next five years includes taking away street furniture, making areas "more people friendly" and having less traffic.

The proposals target Princes Street, George Street and Rose Street.

A report, going before the council's policy and strategy committee, details the results of a review by urban design consultants, Gehl Architects.

The council-commissioned review said temporary projects, such as increasing footway space on the north side of George Street and increasing the opening hours of kiosks, along with longer-term projects, such as creating pedestrian spaces in the centre of George Street, could transform the city centre.

'City dynamic'

There are also proposals to review the city's bus networks and bus provision for the centre.

An Edinburgh City Council spokesman said: "Gehl's approach, which focuses heavily on people and how they use places, was used successfully in New York and Melbourne, where their work has been instrumental to bringing bold changes to public spaces in these cities."

Jenny Dawe, Edinburgh City Council leader, said: "Edinburgh is a world class city and a magnet for visitors but, equally, there is a consensus that the quality of public space in some parts of the city centre lets us down.

"I am determined that this action plan be implemented. The starting point is the delivery of temporary short-term projects, which can be done quickly and cheaply to bring much needed changes to the dynamic of the city centre.

"Gehl's findings reinforce the clear correlation between good public places and good economic performance, as already demonstrated by the success of the recent redevelopments of St Andrew Square and the Grassmarket."

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