Edinburgh roads: Key Meadows to George Street active travel project and road closures move a step closer

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A major active travel project in the centre of Edinburgh, including several permanent road closures, has moved a step closer.

The city council’s Meadows to George Street scheme will mean new cycle lanes, more space for pedestrians, bus gates to stop through traffic and a car ban in some streets.

George IV Bridge will see wider pavements, a narrower carriageway and a segregated two-way cycle lane on the east side of the street.George IV Bridge will see wider pavements, a narrower carriageway and a segregated two-way cycle lane on the east side of the street.
George IV Bridge will see wider pavements, a narrower carriageway and a segregated two-way cycle lane on the east side of the street.

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The statutory orders to allow the construction stage to begin have are now being advertised in what the council described as a major milestone in the project. The council says there has been extensive consultation throughout the project and that engagement in 2019 showed 78 per cent overall support for the project.

The scheme aims to improve cycling, walking, accessibility, and public spaces in some of Edinburgh’s busiest and most recognisable streets: from Teviot Place along Forrest Road before crossing George IV Bridge, The Mound, Hanover Street and finishing at George Street.

The council says it will create a welcoming outdoor space with new high-quality cycling and walking facilities. These will include segregated cycleways, wider pavements, and pedestrian priority areas, making it easier for people to safely walk, wheel, and cycle as part of their everyday journeys.

The Mound will see a two-way cycle lane on the east side of the street and a bus gate at North Bank Street stopping cars between 6am and 10pm. On George IV Bridge, the road will be narrowed to allow more space for pedestrians and a two-way segregated cycle lane. Traffic lights with pedestrian crossings will be installed at the junction of George IV Bridge with Chambers Street. Candlemaker Row will be open to buses and cycles only. And the road will be narrowed near the Greyfriars Bobby statue, with an improved pedestrian area.

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Forrest Road will be pedestrianised, with traffic banned in a bid to promote active travel and provide additional space for seating and outdoor cafes. And Bristo Place and Teviot Place will become two-way to allow for the closure of Forrest Road.

The scheme also includes Market Street, where a two-way bus gate close to the junction with Jeffrey Street will stop it being a through route for traffic. Two mini roundabouts either side of the bus gate will allow traffic on the east side to turn into Jeffrey Street and traffic on the west side to access Waverley station.

The project will link with the scheme to pedestrianise George Street and thus connect to the west of the city via the City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL), which officially opened last month.

Transport and environment convener Scott Arthur said: “I’m delighted that we’ve reached this significant stage in the Meadows to George Street project. This is a really important part of our wider plans to transform our city centre into one which enables our residents to enjoy a safe, connected, and sustainable place to live, work and spend time in. 

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“We’re keen to get on and deliver the changes proposed so it’s important that we take the time to re-engage with those along the route and take them along with us on this exciting journey. We understand the impact these projects can have on the local community, in particular businesses, and we will be working closely with them throughout to support them and ensure the benefits are maximised.

“Edinburgh is a city with big ambitions. Through schemes such as this we’re sending a clear signal as to the sort of Capital we’re aspiring to be. From reaching net zero by 2030, to enhancing our already excellent public transport networks and making sure our residents are at the heart of everything we do, I’m really excited to see what the future holds."

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