Edinburgh car-free city centre is not something I oppose but I do have some practical questions – Helen Martin

In 2030, Edinburgh’s entire city centre is going to be largely car-free. That’s because of climate change, air quality and congestion, according to Councillor Lesley McInnes and that’s fair enough.

Monday, 8th March 2021, 12:30 pm
An artist's impression of proposals to redesign Edinburgh's George Street (Picture: City of Edinburgh Council/PA Wire)

I know some people think I want cars jammed on every road. Certainly not. But there are several questions I have.

What is the full extent of the city centre? I assume that includes the St James Quarter – yet that has a vast car park! How can people drive there from north, south, east or west? What will happen to other close-to-centre car parks? And how can drivers reach them depending on where they come from?

I can get a bus to the edge of centre, and walk for a restaurant or venue. (In 2030 I’ll be 77, so I can figure out what to do then if I can still walk.)

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But when it comes to city centre shops (not in St James) will retailers have to decide if that’s a good location? If I want to buy curtains, blinds, chairs, a rug, a food mixer… anything for my home or my rental flats, I’ll need a car. The same goes for weekly groceries in three large bags.

The Evening News did have a letter last week from a tourist well out of Edinburgh who wanted to know where they could park their car.

By 2030, cars will be electric. Will they be alright for climate change and air quality or do they emit some pollution too?

I’m not objecting to a car-free centre. I’d just like that practical information.

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