Edinburgh's Lothian Road to be transformed into a boulevard as £3.5 million funding announced

Newly-announced funding will aim to transform Edinburgh roads and cut traffic in city
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More than £3.5 million has been awarded to help turn Edinburgh's Lothian Road into a boulevard, cut traffic in the Old Town and develop 20-minute neighbourhoods across the Capital. Now the city council is to press ahead with a total of 12 projects to boost active travel, regeneration and promote economic development.The £3.65m funding comes from the Scottish Government through walking and cycling charity Sustrans' Places for Everyone programme.

The Lothian Road plans (£850,000) will see improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at the junction with Princes Street; The widening and decluttering of footways; a segregated north–south safe cycling route and connections to the Meadows to Union Canal cycle scheme; traffic signal changes to improve bus journey times; enhancement of the Usher Hall and Festival Square areas and east-west links across the street; and rationalisation of the Tollcross junction, with the creation of more public space.

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In the Old Town (£650,000), walking and cycling will be given priority in streets in and around the Royal Mile, including Castlehill, Lawnmarket, Johnston Terrace, Castle Terrace, Victoria Street, High Street, Cockburn Street, Hunter Square, Blair Street, Blackfriars Street and Niddry Street. Potentially, that will mean reallocating carriageway and on-street parking to provide safer space for walking and cycling; improving access for public transport and taxis; reducing traffic to essential vehicles only, managing deliveries at agreed times of the day or by use of cargo bikes; and relocating coach parking.

An artist's impression of how Edinburgh's Lothian Road will lookAn artist's impression of how Edinburgh's Lothian Road will look
An artist's impression of how Edinburgh's Lothian Road will look

Transport convener Scott Arthur said: "Since I moved to Edinburgh in the 1990s we've been speaking about reducing the amount of traffic coming into the centre, particularly the Old Town, and the impact that has on the historic city centre. The work we'll do for the Old Town will start that process of working with residents and businesses to think about how we can reduce through traffic coming into that area and try to cut back the damage it does.

"And hopefully that will allow us to boost the economy in the city centre as well. The tourist economy is obviously important to Edinburgh, but removing some of that through traffic will help move the tourist economy upmarket, so hopefully that would mean better jobs, better pay and a better overall experience for the city centre."

More Edinburgh transport projects receiving funding

Charlotte Square (£250,000) – improving active travel measures, including a segregated cycle lane which forms part of the CCWEL network linking George Street to the West End; a major upgrade of public space to enhance its status as a World Heritage Site.

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Barnton junction (£89,165) – walking and cycling improvements through the junction and on Maybury/ Whitehouse Road to link the new housing developments to the National Cycle Network’s NCN1 route to the north of Scotland.

West Shore Road (£86,500) – looking at options to extend active travel infrastructure along a short section of West Shore Road to ensure a direct connection between the Prom and Phase 1 of Granton Waterfront development proposals; prioritising residential streets for people rather than vehicles; and minimising through traffic within new and existing areas with low traffic neighbourhood techniques.

Granton Waterfront (£392,500) – improving the path network in Forthquarter Park; looking at options for primary east-west active travel route linking Marine Drive and West Harbour Road through Waterfront Park and Waterfront Avenue.

Corstorphine low traffic neighbourhood (£631,252) - footway widening and crossing improvements to make it easier for people walking in the area and address issues with narrow and sub-standard footways on key streets.

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Dalry Town centre (£197,050) - consider wider pavements, continuous footpaths, better pedestrian crossings and a segregated cycleway to help encourage a 20-minute neighbourhood.

Portobello town centre (£308,375) - new and improved sustainable travel facilities and integration of the High Street and the promenade to create a thriving Town centre.

Niddrie Mains Road (£92,824) - prioritise walking, cycling and bus transport as part of a 20-minute neighbourhood; creaa safer high street and a vibrant streetscape.

Craigleith green/blue neighbourhood (£90,000) - reducing surface water flooding, adapting to climate heat risks by increasing tree canopy cover and helping nature recover through planting for pollinators.