Euan McGrory: What would happen if we banned traffic from South Bridge?

The pedestrian pinch poin on the corner of South Bridge Pic: Neil Hanna
The pedestrian pinch poin on the corner of South Bridge Pic: Neil Hanna
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Anyone who has tried to cross South Bridge at its junction with the Royal Mile at busy times of the year will know how dangerous it can be.

The pavement is extremely narrow and certainly nowhere near wide enough to cope with the huge crowds that swarm there during the height of the summer and winter festivals. It isn’t the only treacherous city centre pinch point where an accident is easy to imagine at these peak times - but it is certainly one of the worst.

No wonder that junction keeps the man charged with overseeing how we all get about the Capital awake at night. Paul Lawrence, the city council’s Director of Place (ignore the daft title and just listen to what he is saying), is quite right to identify the issue as a key priority.

If the answer was straightforward, the problem would have been sorted long ago. Making better use of Hunter Square, which quickly becomes impassable with stalls and performers, is one good idea.

The elephant in the room is the dramatic step of banning traffic from South Bridge during the festivals. That would certainly solve the problem - but is it workable?

As far as we know, no work has yet been done on the impact this would have on car and bus traffic.