Euan McGrory: Let's talk about car bans and traffic jams

Whatever your view on the temporary closure of streets in the city centre to celebrate Clean Air Day, there is no denying that it has been a success in one crucial way.

Thursday, 21st June 2018, 6:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st June 2018, 6:33 pm
A traffic-free The Mound on Clean Air Day in Edinburgh. Pic: Lisa Ferguson.

Some see shutting the Mound and part of George Street for a few hours as a hollow gesture, especially when just eight miles away cars and buses are stuck in talibacks outside the Royal Highland Showground. It’s doing nothing to tackle the real problem, they say.

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For others, the traffic jams at Ingliston show exactly why we need to be doing more to encourage people to get out of their cars and on to other modes of transport. Shutting streets in the city centre for any length of time, in their view, is a step in the right direction.

Where the most radical ‘car free day’ the city has ever staged has undoubtedly achieved its aim is in sparking a debate about transport. That’s an important conversation for the future of our beautiful city.

No one would suggest the current traffic system in the city centre is ideal - or even close to it. But how would you improve it? Is there space for new pedestrian zones alongside better public transport and the St James Quarter’s long-awaited 1800-space car park?