NEW pedestrian crossings and roundabouts are to be built around Waverley Station to improve access when there is a reduction in taxi provision later this year.
Network Rail intends to cut down on the number of black cabs allowed into the transport hub as part of a Home Office anti-terror policy.
A complete ban was originally proposed but has been scaled back due to concerns that it would make access difficult for those with disabilities and young children in particular.
New measures – which are still awaiting around £1 million funding from the UK Department for Transport – include extended taxi ranks in the streets around the station and a new crossing on Waverley Bridge, along with improvements to pavements.
A new roundabout beneath North Bridge – at the junction of East Market Street and Jeffrey Street – would be built to manage the flow of traffic to the new pick-up/drop-off bays.
Provision for taxi stacking on Market Street will also be made to allow controlled access into Waverley Station.
Network Rail intends to reduce the number of taxis from around 27 at present to somewhere in the region of 12. Access to the station will be managed by an electronic barrier system.
Security changes are being made as part of a UK-wide programme to prevent vehicular access to all stations, due to concerns that a vehicle could be driven into a train or packed concourse.
Waverley has been granted a reprieve due its geographic position in the Waverley Valley. The taxi ban was originally scheduled for last year and due to the wait in funding is unlikely to come into force until after the summer.
Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “The council has been working very closely with Network Rail and I’m pleased to say we’ve come a long way since last summer when it seemed as though access to Edinburgh’s principal rail hub could be seriously compromised, particularly for less mobile station users.
“The designs the council has produced, coupled with Network Rail’s investment into new lifts and escalators, will make it much easier for everyone to access Waverley Station as well as improving the surrounding area with resurfaced carriageway and footways and a new pedestrian crossing at the junction of Market Street and Waverley Bridge.
“With up to three taxis a minute entering the station at peak times, it’s crucial that we find ways of managing the traffic on Market Street and Waverley Bridge. The proposals up for approval offer a range of measures which will do just this, as well as enhance the amenity of the whole area.”
A report detailing these proposed measures and requesting elected members’ permission to progress the £1m project will be considered by the transport and environment committee on Tuesday.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “Discussions with the council are progressing positively and we remain committed to removing unrestricted vehicle access from Waverley to improve security and enhance the station environment for passengers.”