Council Set To Improve The City Centre

Edinburgh City Council has developed a proposal to improve the pedestrian space in the city centre, particularly in the area around Princes Street and George Street. The report focuses, specifically, on improving the pedestrian space and environment in line with the delivery of the tram project, which is due to be completed this Summer.

One of the methods of achieving this is providing an opportunity for dedicated cycle provision in the area, as well as reducing the detrimental impact of vehicles on the City Centre environment. The Council’s ‘Action Travel Action Plan’ sets targets to provide significant improvements in the walking and cycling infrastructure of the city centre by 2020, and the promotion of these means of travel.

The proposal states that by managing the traffic movement of Lothian Buses, it would achieve these objectives. Eastbound buses on Princes Street maybe relocated to George Street effectively halving the number of buses on Princes Street. The proposal also sets to close Princes Street to general traffic in both directions, as well as to allow general traffic on George Street in an eastbound direction only, including taxis. The Council have also announced they are to massively reduce parking availability spots in the City Centre.  Josh Miller,  George Street Association, explained that ”this will just not work.. People will not have to park their cars somewhere else, more inconvenient, and a lot of time will be wasted’. He argued that the ‘Council have not though through a viable alternative’.

Ian Perry, Planning Convener of the Council, said ‘Princes Street has been suffering from the trams, and economic downturn, s we have agreed to increase the pavement space and redress the balance and attract more pedestrians into the town centre and to get more people to shop’.

The results of the consultation will be the subject of a future report and any changes will then be practiced to test how successful they are.

Interview with George Street Association

Interview with Ian Perry, Edinburgh City Council

More tram works, yet the end is in sight

Yet more traffic disruption: Edinburgh trams. Image: geograph.org.uk / cc.

The next set of tram works are due to begin this weekend.

The existing tram works at Shandwick Place and Haymarket are now being extended to cover West Maitland Street.

The works are set to take place from 5’oclock tomorrow morning with other traffic divisions being put in place.

Edinburgh Council has thanked the local businesses, people and commuters for their patience with the ongoing works and all their disruptions.

The City of Edinburgh Council warns of traffic disruptions and journey delays as a result of the ongoing tram works.

The works, which many feel are taking over the city centre, are feared to be a danger to businesses in the area. Apart from the general traffic disruptions the works are feared to bring a negative image to commuters and tourists coming from the nearby Haymarket train station.

The council offers an ‘Open for Business’ budget, in which £175,000 will be invested. The programme was created to encourage visitors to Edinburgh and sustain footfall in the city centre.

Yet many criticise the council for their lack of help with diverted walk ways and in particular, pointing pathways though the maze of road works for customers. The tram works stretch from Haymarket to the West End and Princess Street t oWaverley Bridge but they are due to be completed in June this year.

Preparations under way for another cold winter

By Karen Rafferty

The effects of harsh winter weather

The effects of harsh winter weather

As the hours of daylight have started dropping in the UK, so too, has the temperature. With many people suffering last year as a result of snow blizzards and freezing temperatures, preparations are now under way in Scotland to help deal effectively with any issues that the winter weather may bring.

[Read more…]

South Edinburgh filter arrow concern

Road users and pedestrians in south Edinburgh are becoming increasingly agitated by the lack of filter arrows at several of the major junctions on the A702.  The A702 is one of the primary routes into Edinburgh city centre, leading a large percentage of Edinburgh’s estimated 160,000 daily commuters into town.  Both local traffic and bypass commuters use the A702 daily and visitors from the Borders and England also add to the congestion as the A702 joins the M74, which is the predominant choice for road users when travelling to and from England.

The junctions that are the focus of the fury are – Fairmilehead, Greenbank, Morningside Station and Holy Corner.  Peter Dalby, an engineer for Comet said: “I’m always up against it getting from job to job in this area and I’m appalled that there is only one filter arrow over four major junctions, sometimes I have waited for a ridiculous amount of time for a small gap in the traffic.”  This point is further emphasised by Rachel Moyes, an occupational therapist for the Sick Kids Hospital “I use the A702 to get to and from work and also to visit a lot of clients in the South Edinburgh area, the lack of filter arrows poses a danger to pedestrians as drivers are more likely to take chances.”  South Morningside Primary School is located just 100 yards from the Greenbank junction and many of the pupils that attend live within Greenbank village.  Tamara Finch, whose son attends South Morningside Primary School, said: “As you know, the A702 runs directly passed the school.  We walk to and from school and cross at Greenbank Junction, I have witnessed several drivers taking serious risks in order to slip through the traffic.”

The Department for Transport guideline states: “There is no formal warrant available to determine whether or not a protected right-turn phase is required.  It will depend upon site conditions, traffic volumes and signal timings.  As a general rule, an arrow phase should be considered when two or more vehicles turn right per cycle.”

Tom Cowan, signals manager for the Edinburgh City Council says that the aforementioned junctions “do not meet the criteria” regarding volumes of traffic entering and leaving the city.

Westcrosscauseway set for transformation

By Kaye Nicolson

The traffic island in question, which was temporarily converted into a 'tropical island' at a previous community event. Picture courtesy of thecausey.org

The island during a community event. Courtesy of 'Causey' website.

A local organisation is determined to convert a redundant traffic island into a community space which acknowledges the rich history of the local area.

The West Crosscauseway Association (www.thecausey.org) is encouraging Southside locals to have their say in permanently transforming ‘the Causey’, by Buccleuch Street, into an engaging and eye-catching place for Edinburgh’s people.  Various activities and workshops have been taking place over the past year, with diverse community groups getting involved in the project.

Isobel Leckie, secretary of the West Crosscauseway Association, described the area’s present state as “ridiculous” in the light of the street’s extensive history. It was originally the main causeway running across Buccleuch Street and the Pleasance to the south of the city, and in the early 1900s a horse trough was situated there, emphasising its importance as a ‘node’ or meeting place.  At present, it is nothing more than a busy traffic island.

The ‘Causey’ campaign has so far been successful in securing funding from bodies such as Edinburgh Council, the Big Lottery Fund, and Scottish Community Foundation.  The latest ideas workshop took place on 17 October, inviting attendants to voice suggestions to artists and architects.  Popular ideas so far have included a water feature installation, a “low garden” or a horse trough similar to the original. Leckie commented that the next step after the workshop is to “decide on a model for the Causey… and to start liaising with our architects for its design”. More information can be found at www.thecausey.org.

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