Edinburgh drivers urged to leave the car at home for World Car Free Day event on Waverley Bridge

Edinburgh is set to celebrate World Car Free Day with a free event encouraging locals to consider alternatives to driving.

The Capital is set to join over 2,000 cities across the globe in marking the worldwide initiative, with an event that will take place on Waverley Bridge from 11am to 7pm on Sunday, October 2022.

Waverley Bridge, which was closed to traffic in 2020 as part of the Council’s Spaces for People programme, will be transformed into a community hub where locals can access information on alternatives to car travel.

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There will be a hosted reception and information point, bike parking, a wellbeing area with health and fitness demonstrations and classes, and a chill out zone. Local singers and bands including Sara Forshaw, Folk Drama, and The Wispz will provide musical entertainment throughout the day.

A Bike Station will sell reliable and affordable up-cycled bikes. A team will be on hand to offer bike safety checks and bikes to try out, and there will also be information on safe cycle routes throughout the city, as well as bike to work and cycle friendly employer schemes.

Among those already signed up to attend are Police Scotland, who will offer advice on security, personal safety, bike marking and general crime prevention.

Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Trams will also attend to chat about their services within the city, including Park and Ride options, and the benefits of using public transport.

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Edinburgh locals will be encouraged to leave the car at home and use alternative transport options during the event. (photo: Adobe)

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener for The City of Edinburgh Council, said: "Choosing more sustainable modes of transport, like bus, tram, bike or walking over the car not only benefits the world around us, but can have a really positive impact on our health and quality of life. Car Free Day gives us the chance to really focus on these benefits, and to help people consider how they might try alternative ways to travel.

“The Council has set some ambitious goals to reduce car kms travelled by 30% in the next decade, as well as delivering on our 20-minute neighbourhood vision to enable a net zero Edinburgh where everyone can live well locally. We need to rethink the way we move around the city to meet these targets. I would encourage people to come along on 2nd October to find out more about the different ways we can travel around the capital.”

Last year, Edinburgh councillors approved a ten-year City Mobility Plan, which aims to reduce emissions, positively impacting public health and tackle congestion. To achieve this goal, several projects have been implemented, such as Trams to Newhaven, 20-Minute Neighbourhoods and the extension of 20mph speed limits.

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Neil Booth, Edinburgh Trams’ Safety Manager (Environment), commented: “Car-free days provide a massive opportunity for cities to raise awareness of how pollution affects our lives, and highlight how congested roads can be used in different ways.

“At Edinburgh Trams we are fully committed to helping to make Edinburgh healthier, safer and more attractive for both residents and visitors by providing a quick, convenient and reliable alternative to driving into the city centre.”