Plan to ban cars along Edinburgh's George Street

Image source, Edinburgh City Council
Image caption,
The plans include dedicated cycle routes and widened pavements for an "enhanced pedestrian space"

Cars could be banned from Edinburgh's George Street as part of a proposal to transform the area into a "world class space" for pedestrians.

The draft design for the George Street and New Town (GNT) project was created after consultation with the community and local groups.

The plans also include Hanover Street, Frederick Street and Castle Street.

"Plazas" and cycle routes would be created under the draft proposals which will go out to public consultation.

An online survey runs until 25 January, with final proposals set to be agreed next year.

Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said the scheme aims to create a "world-class space that respects and enhances the World Heritage Site".

Image source, Edinburgh City Council

She said the GNT project was a "crucial catalyst to re-invigorating George Street and a joining New Town to the present day" which seeks to make the area "safer and more vibrant."

The bus network is not in the draft proposals but the future of the cities public transport is expected to be set out in the council's transformation project.

The Conservatives called on the council to stick to any agreed plans for the New Town when city transport proposals are agreed next year.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The plans include dedicated cycle routes and widened pavements for an "enhance pedestrian space"

Proposals include

  • Prioritising blue badge parking on George Street
  • Residents and pay and display parking moved to side streets
  • More trees could be planted along George Street
  • Dedicated delivery and servicing areas for businesses
  • More outdoor seating
  • Dedicated cycle routes
  • Widened pavements

Local voices

Conservative transport spokesman Nick Cook said: "It is essential that residents and business engage with these new plans to ensure they are compatible with business needs and do not impede the lifestyles of local residents who live in our vibrant city centre.

"For its part, the council must be honest with residents that any implemented plans would not need to be torn up in the near future given their constantly evolving moves toward restricting vehicle access in the city centre."

Green councillors also welcomed plans with an emphasis on active travel. Claire Miller, who represents the city centre, said: "I welcome the emphasis on increased access to better quality public space, cleaner air, and more pleasant walking and cycling.

"But I'll be keeping a close eye on implementation to make sure it really delivers what Edinburgh needs," she said.

Transport and environment vice convener Karen Doran, said feedback on the initial design is always welcomed.

She added: "Anyone and everyone is now welcome to attend the drop-in sessions and meet the team.

"We really want to involve as many people as possible in the processes that will help shape this important historic area within our city, " she said.