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Opening Up the West End Post Tram Construction

Posted: 21st August 2014

Drivers heading for the West End from the south of the City and Lothian Road could soon find their journey simplified if the City of Edinburgh Council approves changes to current traffic arrangements.

A review of traffic management in the city centre has been completed following the start of tram passenger services.

Among the recommendations in a report to the Transport and Environment Committee on 26 August 2014 is a proposal to allow all traffic to travel westbound from Hope Street to Queensferry Street, rather than buses only as at present.

Traders from the West End called for this in a deputation to the committee on 18 March 2014.

They noted that with the removal of the left turn from Lothian Road into Shandwick Place to facilitate trams, it had become difficult for private vehicles, cycles and taxis in particular to access properties and businesses in the West End.

The report also asks members to give the go-ahead for further investigation into the option of introducing a right turn from Queen Street westbound into Queen Street Gardens East.

Another recommendation, which follows on from the start of the new Experimental Traffic Regulation Order in George Street, is to change the priority of Young Street from an eastbound to a westbound direction.

Residents and businesses here have expressed concerns about a perceived increased volume of traffic and in particular, more vans and heavy good vehicles, since the George Street scheme was first implemented earlier this summer.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener, said: “Now that trams have been running for a couple of months or so, it’s a good time to make any appropriate alterations to surrounding traffic management so that we can make it as straightforward as possible to get from A to B in the city centre.

“We know that West End traders have had concerns about access to their businesses so the proposal to open up Hope Street for all westbound traffic into Queensferry Street should make things much better.

“I was pleased to meet recently with residents and businesses in Young Street to hear how their street has been adversely affected by increased traffic since we started the ETRO in George Street. This narrow cobbled street is simply not fit for the volume and nature of traffic it’s been experiencing of late. Changing the one-way direction will help divert traffic away from Young Street and on to Queen Street, which can accommodate commercial and through-traffic far more comfortably.”

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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