Edinburgh festivals safety action call


Edinburgh's roads chief is "kept awake" by nightmares festival-goers will be knocked down if nothing is done to tackle its crowded pavements.

Council officers are concerned about a "growing tendency for pedestrians to spill onto roadways".

They said it "increased the potential for conflict with cars and accidents".

The authority's culture and communities committee discussed a report on how the council will manage next year's summer festivals.

Public safety

Conservative councillors demanded the full council debate the issue next week.

Phil Doggart, Conservative councillor for Colinton and Fairmilehead, said: "Obviously Hunter Square gets very full with the street performers. You are forcing people around the other side of the Tron.

"Given it's a very narrow footpath, given it's a very popular location for buses, it wouldn't take very much for someone to inadvertently be pushed onto the road. I think that is another major safety area that we have to look at."

The council's executive director of place, Paul Lawrence, spoke out about his fears that pedestrians are at risk of colliding with a bus on South Bridge.

He said: "I'm constantly talking to officers about the concerns we have around public safety.

"This is an amazing one-off global event but I am kept awake by the potential of people being pushed into busy bus lanes.

"We might have to look at different forms of traffic management to try and address exactly that issue."

The authority will bring forward detailed proposals early next year to extend the festival space around the Royal Mile up to the junction with North Bridge for 2019, including Hunter Square.

However, Liberal Democrat councillor, Hal Osler raised fears that by extending the managed festival area would just "expand the pain even further".

She also called for avenues to be put in place for pedestrians to move about the Royal Mile easier.

She said: "It's virtually impossible to walk down the High Street - there's absolutely no space whatsoever.

"It's a wonderful event but we don't want to prevent people from actually being able to get there.

"It's extremely difficult for people to get in or out of that areas. We need avenues clearly marked for people to get in and out and people not to stand in."

Julia Amour, director of Festivals Edinburgh said: "We are continuously working in partnership with the city council and others to improve the look and feel of our world leading festival city, for both residents and visitors, and welcome proposals that help us achieve that goal."

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