Readers split over Edinburgh’s ‘world class’ masterplan to create care-free George Street

Artist impressions show a pedestria-friendly George Street. Plaza areas, people-friendly spaces and a dedicated cycleway are among potential new features.
Artist impressions show a pedestria-friendly George Street. Plaza areas, people-friendly spaces and a dedicated cycleway are among potential new features.
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Readers have been split over new proposals to transform Edinburgh’s New Town into a “world class space” for pedestrians, which could involve restricting cars from George Street.

The draft plans for George Street, Hanover Street, Frederick Street and Castle Street could see “plazas” and dedicated cycle routes created, as well as a vision for an “enhanced pedestrian space”.

The George Street concept includes a specific proposal to consider “the restriction of vehicle access” to business waste collections and deliveries and restrictions on “access hours to key times of day to reduce vehicle dominance”.

READ MORE: Edinburgh’s ‘world class’ masterplan to create car-free George Street

The council’s ambition is for George Street to be “on par with other great global cities” by giving more focus to pedestrians.

More outdoor seating could be made available, while the central car parking space could disappear and pavements could be widened.

Blue badge parking on George Street would also be prioritised, with residents and pay and display parking moved to side streets. More trees could be planted along George Street while “dedicated delivery and servicing areas” could be created.

And Edinburgh Evening News readers have today been reacting to the plans with mixed opinions.

One Facebook reader, Lynne Claperton, said: “Edinburgh Council is killing Edinburgh!!! Tourist city only soon!

“If they remove parking normal shoppers will desert it! Don’t even mention the 50 chopped trees for extended Christmas market!!

Another, called Ggary Jjames, said: “Somehow the words ‘masterplan’ and ‘Edinburgh Council’ don’t fill me up with the greatest of confidence. Expect going well over budget, extended deadlines and receiving a tiny proportion of what was originally promised.”

Jaqueline Dickson said: “A good idea but where are all the cars going to go Edinburgh? Commuters struggle with parking already.”

Andrew Young also questioned whether a car-free zone was really needed, adding: “You have princess street gardens to enjoy without cars. You then have Rose Street which is basically car free and would easily be made car free so why make the next street up the same?

“Is it to lease expensive plots for pop up cafes? It will just push more people to out of town retail parks.”

Bur Robin Wallace is more supportive of the plans, stating: “Seems I’m in the minority by saying this is a great idea. Walked in pedestrian zones in various cities across Europe and its a far better experience. Well done to The ECC for being bold.”

William Kay said: “Just need to wait and see. Some cities actually do manage to achieve this without all the screaming and wailing there seems to be here. After they’ve done it, people wonder why they hadn’t done it years before.”

The council will hold drop-in sessions at the fifth floor of the City Art Centre, from 2pm to 7pm today, between 11am and 5pm tomorrow and from 10am to 4pm on Saturday.

Following the public consultation, final proposals will be agreed by the council’s transport and environment committee next year.

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