Everything you need to know about Edinburgh's 10-year transport transformation
Edinburgh City Council has revealed draft plans for a 10-year strategy to help the Capital become carbon neutral by 2030 by encouraging more people to use public transport.
Included in the vision are plans to extend the tram network to the Granton waterfront in the north of the city, a new line down to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the BioQuarter in the south and west of the airport to Newbridge.
The council unveiled its strategy to transform how people move about the city centre last year and it will play an important role in helping the city become carbon neutral by 2030.
The city centre transformation strategy proposes closing a host of streets including Waverley Bridge, Cockburn Street and Victoria Street. But now, transport bosses aim to also open up George Street to pedestrians by banning all cars and buses from the iconic New Town route.
George Street will be “transformed” into a pedestrian-friendly route by 2025 if the proposal is pushed forward.
The city council is currently extending the original tram route to Newhaven in a £207m project that will be completed in 2022 and open to passengers in the first quarter of 2023.
The city mobility plans includes extending the line further in the north of the city, along to Granton, where a regeneration project including 4,500 new homes is being delivered.
The council already has the required permission from the Scottish Government to extend the tram to Granton – but will need to draw up a costed and funded business case with the approval of councillors in order to take plans forward. No firm plans will be touted until the Newhaven extension is completed.
There are also plans to extend the tram route to the south of Edinburgh to connect the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the BioQuarter with the city centre. No proposed route has been published but the city centre transformation strategy indicates the new line could travel along North Bridge and South Bridge. The city mobility plan also mentions potentially extending the tram past the airport to the west to reach Newbridge.
‘Seamless’ ticketing system
The strategy points to a “seamless” ticketing system for all methods of public transport – where contactless payment can be used to hop on and off buses and trams – as well as used for hiring bicycles.
The city council has stressed that Lothian Buses is key to encouraging people to shift from using cars – and bus routes and stops will be reviewed as part of the overhaul.
By 2030, a “comprehensive new bus route network will be in place”, with “hubs at gateways to the city centre”.
It is thought the council could move to remove or at least reduce the number of buses travelling along Princes Street – while a free hopper bus could be set up in the city centre.
Active travel improvements
The council plans to make streets more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists. The city centre will treat cars “as guests” while “iconic streets will be progressively pedestrianised”.
The council will also up its investment in cycling infrastructure – with an aim by 2030 that “arterial routes will be being used for mass commuting by bike”.
Park and ride
A key element is cutting congestion in the city is to expand the seven park and ride sites around the city.
By 2030, the sites will be upgraded to support “fast and frequent public transport along strategic bus lanes and mass rapid transit routes” into the city centre.
The authority will also develop four new interchanges in the west of the Capital – helping peopel to “travel around the city on a fast, efficient public transport network”.