Mapping the Future of Edinburgh’s George Street
A vision for the layout of Edinburgh’s George Street is set to be considered by Councillors next week.
The outcome of a year-long trial to increase pedestrian and cycling provision will be heard by the City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee on the 7th of June.
Members will also discuss a series of design principles for the development of the thoroughfare, drawn up by independent consultant Ironside Farrar. Amongst the consultant’s proposals to improve the local environment and encourage mixed use of the street are a segregated cycle route, widened pavements and outdoor dining opportunities, while retaining parking and public transport capacity. It is intended that these high level guiding principles could be used to inform and support a fuller, more detailed design.
Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “The point of the trial was to create a more accessible, enjoyable atmosphere for all those who use the street. By working closely with residents and stakeholders we were able to assess which changes worked and which didn’t. The lessons learned have enabled Ironside Farrar to create a series of all-inclusive design principles, and I look forward to seeing these developed further.”
The concluding report notes the benefit of using a trial approach to help inform design discussions for the project.
In September 2014 the Council introduced a dedicated two-way cycle lane, additional pedestrian space and a one-way traffic system for cars as part of a one-year-trial. This was used as a starting point for a detailed design discussion, involving regular feedback and suggestions from stakeholders as a means of developing a long-term design for the street. By using an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) to run the trial, it was possible to make changes based on key learning points as it progressed, in collaboration with the public.
Following the trial, Ironside Farrar drew up design principles based on feedback gathered through more than 1200 on-street interviews carried out during the year, as well as two public meetings and the opinions of a dedicated steering group. This comprised representatives from the New Town and Broughton Community Council, Essential Edinburgh, Cockburn Association, Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, George Street Association and the Council’s Planning and Transport divisions. Ironside Farrar’s report builds on lessons learned, recognising the need for George Street’s design to enable seasonal, flexible use while focusing on the needs of retail, hospitality and local residents.
Additional proposals, which prioritise pedestrians and cyclists, include an adaptable streetscape, designed to suit seasonal events and festivals held in the street, and fully accessible facilities to address the varying needs of users. If design principles are approved, a detailed design for the future layout of George Street would be developed.
Read the full report, George Street Experimental Traffic Regulation Order, Concluding Report and Design Principles, on the Council website.