THERE are a lot of cobbles – or, more accurately, setts – in Edinburgh. There are also many roads in such a woeful condition that the ride is probably similar to that experienced in a horse and cart when it was first laid.
Today, we learn of a new plan to identify the worst areas, carry out proper repairs and, above all, to ensure the streets which are synonymous with Edinburgh across the world survive.
A funding pot of £1 million has been set aside for the work which sounds like a lot but, in actual fact, would not even have paid to renew Brighton Place in Portobello and saved it from being lost to asphalt.
What this means is that the council has to be clever about where it directs resources.
Whole streets will not be tackled, with quality repairs instead carried out on priority stretches. Others, like the aforementioned Brighton Place, may be asphalted over.
This seems like a sensible move from a council facing the twin challenges of a crumbling road network and a diminishing budget.
Equipping roads workers who are often criticised for their repairs on the Capital’s most historic streets with the skills of their predecessors can only be a good move.
Provided we can protect and restore the key tourist streets to their 19th century glory, then the loss of others to a modern surface is a price which we may well have to pay.
The key for the council will be to do this in consultation with local interest groups including the likes of Edinburgh World Heritage.
The Capital’s roads were never designed for 21st century traffic and the maintenance has not kept pace with the pressure they are being put under.
If this new plan works then it should hopefully go some way towards solving a problem which has become a real headache for transport bosses, as well as a threat to the economy of the city.