Drivers face more disruption as Princes Street access from Waterloo Place restricted to buses, taxis and bikes

Drivers in Edinburgh city centre will face more disruption next week with westbound access from Waterloo Place to Princes Street restricted to buses, taxis and bikes.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd November 2019, 4:57 pm

The latest move is part of Edinburgh City Council's work on the new road layout at Picardy Place, by the new St James Centre development, to improve the junction for walking, cycling and public transport including the tram extension down Leith Walk.

York Place is currently closed westbound between Broughton Street and Elder Street until Sunday, December 1st to allow for the final touches to the new road layout.

Motorists are being forced to drive more than a mile out of their way due to the diversions in place. The diversion goes down Annandale Street, East London Street, Broughton Street, Albany Street, Abercrombie place and Dundas Street before rejoining Queen Street.

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But earlier this week there were reports of head-to-head traffic jams on Waterloo Place, with buses being diverted up Leith Street.

And today (Friday Nov 22nd) the council announced it will be restricting westbound access to Princes Street from Waterloo Place to buses, taxis and cyclists in order to reduce the queues.

The local authority will bring in a 'bus gate' in front of the Balmoral Hotel, which will be operational from Monday November 25th at 6am until Sunday, December 1st. The objective is to encourage general traffic to use the diversion route to improve traffic flow through Leith Street and Waterloo Place.

Transport and Environment Vice Convener Councillor Karen Doran said: "We’ve been working hard with contractors to improve traffic flow while essential work is carried out on the road layout at Picardy Place.

York Place is currently closedwestbound between Broughton Street and Elder Street until Sunday, December 1st to allow for the final touches to the new road layout at Picardy Place.

"As part of these measures westbound access to Prince Street will be restricted to buses, taxis and bikes from Monday, with the aim of encouraging general traffic to follow the intended diversion route, in turn reducing congestion on Leith Street and improving journey times for buses. This restriction will be lifted when the York Place westbound carriageway re-opens."

Transport and Environment convener Lesley Macinnes said previously that the work at Picardy Place, as part of the Edinburgh St James Development, will deliver "major benefits to the people of Edinburgh" in line with broader ambitions for a more accessible and better-connected Capital city. She said the aim is to complete the roadworks with "minimum disruption" to drivers.

Cllr Macinnes said that the redevelopment of Picardy Place will be a "catalyst for change" and encourage active, environmentally-friendly transport options at this key interchange.

Further improvements, to be completed in 2020, will include a dedicated cycle lane between Leith Street and Leith Walk and increased pedestrian space.

A diversion is currently in place for drivers due to the westbound York Place closure.The diversion goes down Annandale Street, East London Street, Broughton Street, Albany Street, Abercrombie place and Dundas Street before rejoining Queen Street.

York Place has been closed westbound between Broughton Street and Elder Street since November 15th and the work is scheduled to last until December 1st.