Edinburgh's Picardy Place roundabout revamp should be ready for opening of tram extension

Redesign will bring an end to ‘20 years of roadworks’

Detailed plans for the redesign of an Edinburgh junction that has plagued the city centre with roadworks “for 20 years” have been unveiled.

The Picardy Place roundabout is set for a major £2.7m overhaul as part of the final stages of the Trams to Newhaven project. Work will start in early 2023 and the aim is to have it finished for when the tram extension, which includes a new stop at Picardy Place, opens in the spring.

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Once complete, it is hoped both pedestrians and motorists will pass through the historically notorious junction connecting Leith Walk, Leith Street, Broughton Street and York Place more smoothly. Improvements to the central island include installing cycle lanes, creating seating areas for the public, landscaping and tree-planting work and cycle parking.

The Arthur Conan Doyle statue will be returned to Picardy Place and there are plans for another plinth which might have a “changing statue” on a similar basis as the “fourth plinth” in London’s Trafalgar Square, where it was decided to have a rolling programme of temporary artworks rather than settle on one permanent statue.

Transport convener Scott Arthur said the redesign would end “20 years of roadworks”. He said: “It does feel like there’s been roadworks at Picardy Place for all the time I’ve lived in Edinburgh and I came here in 1996.

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“It’s looking quite impressive, the roadworks will come to an end and we’ll get a place where people will dwell when they’re waiting on the bus or tram. It looks good, it’s been designed in partnership with the community and it’ll bring an end to disruption in that space, particularly when we get the trams running next year.”

A report to the transport and environment committee on Thursday will seek councillors’ approval of the final designs. The report says: “Discussions are still ongoing regarding the type of street lighting and hostile vehicle mitigation measure that are required for the site. Once agreed, these will be integrated into the design of the scheme. If committee approve progressing with the proposed scheme design, detailed designs and costs will be carried out to ensure the project remains within budget. Construction is due to take place at the beginning of January to ensure that the project is completed at the same time as the Trams to Newhaven project.”

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An aerial view of how the roundabout could look, including the tram stop on Picardy Place.