Reshaping Edinburgh’s city centre for future generations
A major public consultation planned to kick off next month will spark discussions all over the city about how people want the heart of Scotland’s Capital to look, feel and function.
If approved by the Transport and Environment Committee tomorrow (9 August), the eight-week consultation commencing in September will bring together three inter-related placemaking projects being led by the City of Edinburgh Council and supported by numerous partner organisations.
Responses and suggestions will be sought on: the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation, the City Mobility Plan (successor to the current Local Transport Strategy) and plans for Low Emission Zones in the Capital.
The consultation, entitled “Edinburgh: connecting our city, transforming our places”, centres on a prospectus which has been developed following extensive engagement with stakeholders between February and May 2018; ideas and proposals contained within it have come directly from public feedback.
The prospectus sets out ideas to create a more active and connected city, a healthier environment, a transformed Edinburgh city centre, and improved neighbourhood streets.
Among the ideas up for consideration are pedestrianised streets, restrictions on ‘through’ traffic, bus and freight ‘hubs’, widened pavements and improved public spaces.
The Transport and Environment Committee report about the planned consultation also seeks members’ approval for regular vehicle-free days in the city centre and town centres across Edinburgh.
It also updates members on the award of £760,000 to the Council from the Scottish Government through Sustrans’ Community Links Programme to help deliver the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation project.
Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “This prospectus is a truly ambitious document which is bound to generate some lively debate right across the city about what kind of place we want Edinburgh to be. It’s a powerful opportunity to make some really transformational changes to our city centre and town centres for the benefit of everyone who lives and works in or visits them.
“Frankly, the status quo is just not an option anymore. As a Council we are serious about tackling poor air quality, reducing congestion and making it as easy as possible to get around Edinburgh, especially by walking, cycling and public transport.”
Transport Vice Convener Councillor Karen Doran said: “The ideas in this hugely significant consultation have come from a series of workshops held in the spring with a huge range of organisations and interest groups, including transport providers (public transport, freight, taxi, private hire and community transport), private sector companies, third sector bodies, Edinburgh Access Panel, community councils, neighbouring local authorities and school pupils.
“We’re very pleased to have been awarded more than three quarters of a million pounds from Sustrans to help us progress what is sure to be one of the most far-reaching revamps of the Capital’s city centre and town centres in many, many years.”
Sustrans Scotland Deputy Director Grace Martin said: “We are very encouraged by the proposals laid out in the Council’s City Centre Transformation report.
“It is fantastic to see our capital city developing solutions to make the city a better place for people to live, work and visit. We are particularly pleased to be able to support a vision of more walking and cycling with funding through our infrastructure and behaviour change programmes.
“By making it easier and safer to travel around on foot and bike, improving air quality and creating more attractive and dynamic public spaces, the proposals set out how Edinburgh can grow and prosper.
“We hope this ambition will inspire other towns and cities within Scotland to promote active, sustainable and healthy lifestyles.”
Richard Hall, Managing Director of Lothian, said: “We are really pleased to have been working in conjunction with the City of Edinburgh Council on this ambitious project so far.
“Buses and other forms of public and active transport are the best solution to move people across and through our city. Their integration into future design and planning is critical to ensure seamless connectivity which in turn drives economic investment and growth. Innovative and brave approaches and solutions need to be taken and delivered collaboratively by the city and all public and active transport organisations.”