Closing Edinburgh's Waverley Bridge could result in 'Carmageddon', heritage group warns
Key city centre road will close for six hours each Saturday and Sunday until January 5
CLOSING Waverley Bridge to all traffic to ensure public safety during this year’s Christmas Market could create “Carmageddon”, heritage watchdog the Cockburn Association has warned.
City council bosses have decided the bridge will close between 11am and 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays from this weekend until January 5.
Tour buses will be switched to George Street, near the Dome, for the full weekend each time; and the Airlink buses to the airport will operate from the south side of St Andrew Square for the six-hour closure period. Taxis will be moved to Market Street.
But Cockburn director Terry Levinthal said the experience of the council’s “summer streets” pedestrianisation project did not bode well for the success of the plan.
He said: “The pressure already on the transport infrastructure in the city centre during busy times of year is such that Carmageddon that could result from the closure of Waverley Bridge.
“One of the outcomes of summer streets, because it was not well managed, was it caused all sorts of micro issues round about the Old Town.
“We’ve not seen the arguments being made publicly for this closure other than ‘Oh gosh it’s going to really busy, we have to do something’.
"Perhaps the starting point should be the reconsideration of the scale of the Christmas market and the implications that has on public safety and scaling back on that.
And Mr Levinthal pointed out the market still did not have planning permission. "The idea of altering the city centre for something which has not gone through the regulatory process is putting the cart before the horse."
Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said the festive season was extremely busy and safety had to be a priority.
“These six-hour-long daytime Saturday and Sunday closures on Waverley Bridge will ease congestion on the busy pavements and crossings, making it much easier for everyone to move around in a relaxed, welcoming and festive atmosphere.”