Campaigners back vision for Edinburgh’s George Street

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Campaigners have welcomed draft proposals to overhaul George Street and parts of the New Town - believing the vision will help the Capital fall in line with other European destinations.

The city council unveiled initial designs for remodelling George Street yesterday, which if approved following a public consultation, would put more emphasis on pedestrians - while vehicles could be banned or heavily restricted. A dedicated cycle route could also be installed.

The city's pedestrian-friendly vision for George Street

The city's pedestrian-friendly vision for George Street

Pedestrian campaign group, Living Streets Scotland, has welcomed the initial vision - believing the shake-up would allow the famous street to fulfil its original purpose.

Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, said: “This project has the potential to see Edinburgh compete with Paris, Dublin, Brussels and other cities pushing ahead with streets designed around people – not polluting vehicles.

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

“For too long George Street has been a car park and not the grand avenue it was designed to be. More space for people to walk and spend time will unlock its potential as one of the best streets in Scotland.

“We hope the council will now work closely with the relevant organisations to ensure their vision is delivered and that the radical change in design meets the needs of all users”.

The city council has also confirmed that the proposals, which include Hanover Street, Frederick Street and Castle Street, will not force bus operators to amend their services.

A council spokeswoman said: “Bus routes through the city centre can remain as is under the current concept design - although potential revisions to traffic movements through the Hanover Street / George Street junction are a possibility.

“The current concept design proposes the removal of westbound stops on the south side of the street may and this might bring some changes to a limited number of services.“

She added: “All buses will continue to have access into the First New Town area, although stopping patterns of some services may need to be revised.

“Alternative bus stops are available within the area in the current concept design, as the aim is to limit the impacts on existing stopping patterns. The routing of a limited number of bus services will need to be revised due to potential amendments to traffic movements through the Hanover Street / George Street junction.”

The city council is set to carry out a review of bus stops in order to speed up public transport across the Capital.