A final proposal for the Edinburgh City Centre Transformation will be weighed up by members of the authority's transport and environment committee in a move that could set out the long-term future of transport in the city.
The project, initially announced back in May, already featured plans to close several prominent Old Town streets to traffic and extend the tram route over North Bridge to the BioQuarter and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
A city centre tram loop could also be constructed, connecting Haymarket with Morrison Street, Lauriston Place, Potterrow and Edinburgh University in what has been described as “the biggest proposed transport overhaul of the Scottish capital in living memory.”
Under plans set out earlier in the year, the council hopes to reduce city centre traffic by up to 30 per cent by treating cars as “guests” in a “pedestrian priority zone”.
Busy routes in the Old Town would be shut to traffic, including Victoria Street, Cockburn Street and a longer stretch of the Royal Mile. Waverley Bridge could become a vehicle-free plaza, while a “centrepiece” bridge could be built for pedestrians and cyclists, connecting the Old Town and the New Town.
Car parking would be gradually reduced across the city centre, with George Street, Victoria Street and Cockburn Street losing parking space altogether.
There are also plans for remaining parking areas to be subject to a trial of a “parking free day” – where existing spaces are set aside for alternative uses such as street events one day per week. A free hopper bus would take people around the city centre.
Transport chiefs said the plans were designed to “create a city centre that truly puts people first”.