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Old September 3rd, 2013, 06:02 PM   #1
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Edinburgh Public Realm & Civic Improvements

Building a vision for the city centre

Plans are afoot to make a one-way loop of buses and taxis on Princes and George Streets, which will free up space to extend the northern pavements to improve the environment for pedestrians.








After the inevitable 'fears', 'anger' and 'fury'-type articles from the Evening News (which is normally ridden with pro-motorist agenda), a traffic ban of sorts was trialled on George Street during the Fringe. Thankfully, it seems to have gone well.

Quote:
George Street Festival car ban a success

Evening News - 30 August 2013 12:00



THE car-free Festival zone on George Street has been declared a resounding success – paving the way for new pedestrian-friendly projects in the city centre.

The number of people visiting George Street leapt by a third compared to last August and also halved the amount of traffic. The George Street shake-up – that saw cafes replace vehicles along large stretches of the road – now looks set to continue for at least the next three festivals.

City leaders also believe their controversial bid for a one-way loop in the centre has been vindicated by George Street’s success as a “people space”. The pedestrian-friendly master-plan would see buses and public transport run along the north side of George Street and westbound on carriageways on Princes Street – to allow pavements to be extended for pedestrians.
Planning shackles would also be lifted from Princes Street with a night-time economy of bars and restaurants expected to emerge in a new pedestrianised environment.

It is thought a one-year pilot would be launched when the trams finally hit the Capital’s streets next year.

Environment convener Lesley Hinds said the George Street trial had inspired confidence to expand pedestrian spaces throughout the city centre. She has been inspired by figures, released by Essential Edinburgh, which represents 600 traders, which show the sophisticated George Street Festival – dubbed the “antidote” to the Royal Mile frenzy – has provided a boon across the city.

Shopping areas outwith George Street saw footfall rise by up to 21 per cent compared with last year, while the hub experienced a 30 per cent jump.

Councillor Hinds said: “Most people I have spoken to have said how fantastic George Street was this festival. The weather helped but it had a really nice feel to it with the Book Festival at one end, St Andrew Square at the other and entertainment throughout. “An increase of 30 per cent footfall is massive and shows when the council works with businesses and the community, we can deliver together.” She added: “Pedestrianisation seems to have worked and at the moment I feel reasonably pleased that it appears to have worked but I will wait until we get all the reports back.”

A bid to introduce a sweeping city centre traffic shake-up has been put on ice until October, as the city seeks to allay traders’ concerns over parking provision and introducing bus routes through George Street.

One of the concept’s greatest supporters is Essential Edinburgh, which devised a similar proposal in February and saw its plans tweaked by the city following public consultations. Chief executive Andy Neal said the George Street experiment had “gone better than expected” and backed plans to test it further. He said: “The figures speak for themselves. We have seen the BID [Business Improvement District] area show big increases through the five footfall counters that provide a direct comparison with the figures for the previous year. The BID area has not only seen a big increase, but it has outperformed the rest of the city centre by some distance, showing conclusively that the project has been a terrific success. “Essential Edinburgh is strongly in favour of the partial pedestrianised model that has been running over the festival. I’d like to see it extended throughout the summer months or even for a year to allow it to be fully assessed. However, it’s very important that parking spaces and access on George Street would be maintained which was achieved in the model used during the Festival.”

[More quotes in original article]...
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 10:37 PM   #2
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I think it would be great if the like's of Prince St where made pedestrian friendly, with only trams allowed along the street and maybe buses. I'm sure it would also improve the attractiveness of Prince st as a shopping destination, which is one area Edinburgh could improve on/ does it need to ? .
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 11:40 PM   #3
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I think the council's current plans were inspired by Jan Gehl Architects 2011 study "Edinburgh Revisited - Public Space Public Life".

I'll try to post some extracts when I get a chance, but in the meantime there's a copy of the study on the council's website here.

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Old September 3rd, 2013, 11:52 PM   #4
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A few articles from earlier this year relating to planned improvements for the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile set for majestic revamp

The Scotsman - 22nd February, 2013



Quote:
A radical overhaul of Scotland’s most famous street has been ordered by city council leaders in the capital – following widespread criticism of its condition in recent years.

Traffic bans, widening pavements, clamping down on “tartan tat” shops and bringing neglected closes back into use are all being considered to help revive the Royal Mile.

Council leaders say they want to hand much more space over to pedestrians by extending the parts that are closed to vehicles.

A year after a summit was called to address long-running complaints over the decline of the showpiece thoroughfare, the new blueprint suggests significant change on almost every part of the Royal Mile.

Council leaders say they want to transform the Royal Mile from an under-achieving tourist attraction to the “world’s best cultural living street” under a plan expected to be implemented from the autumn of this year.

Key aims include persuading the droves of tourists who descend on Edinburgh Castle to visit the bottom of the Royal Mile, and doing more to promote the area outwith the peak summer months.

Measures have been devised to tackle overcrowding on the pavements of the Lawnmarket and Castlehill, where traffic restrictions are likely to be introduced. Plans to clamp down on antisocial behaviour and late-night disorder in the middle section of the Royal Mile will address concerns about begging and disruption from nightspots and “party flats”.

Tough rules to tackle rubbish left out on the street and unsightly “clutter” used to promote “tartan tat shops” are also expected to be brought in.

In the bottom half of the Royal Mile, motorists and taxi drivers face restrictions, banning them from the stretch between Niddry Street and St Mary’s Street, while the council is also looking to lower the speed limit.

Traffic calming measures are being explored for the junction where the Scottish Parliament building meets the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Among the more controversial measures are likely to be curbing parking levels on Edinburgh Castle esplanade, which is the responsibility of Historic Scotland, relocating bus tours off the Royal Mile, and trying to turn the lower part of the Royal Mile into a “low emissions zone” to reduce traffic levels.

A new Royal Mile Charter is also expected to be drawn up with businesses over the next year in a bid to reach agreement on how to tackle graffiti, problems with trade waste and display of goods outside shops.

Last year’s Royal Mile summit, held at the Hub building on Castlehill, heard a string of complaints that the Royal Mile was letting down the capital’s tourism industry due to poor-quality road surfaces, unsafe and unwelcoming historic closes, and the quality of its shops.

The event triggered the appointment of a Royal Mile manager to liaise with businesses and a spring clean to tackle long-standing graffiti, shabby signage and unnecessary clutter.

The council has already tackled shops blasting out loud music and flouting rules on the display of goods outside, but it is hoped a voluntary code of conduct will help curb these problems further.

Ian Perry, the city’s planning leader, said: “I remember there was a lot of opposition to the proposals to close part of the Royal Mile in the 1990s, but I don’t think anyone would be in favour of things going back to where they were at that time.

“Our general thinking is to make things much more pedestrian-friendly by giving more space over to people to walk about. It is pedestrians that go to shops and cafes, not cars.

“Only around a third of the people who go to the castle make it to the bottom of the Royal Mile. We want to try to get that figure much higher.”

Proposals

Section 1: Castlehill

Problems: Poor maintenance, traffic congested, conflict between pedestrians and vehicles, poor signage.

Solutions: Give pedestrians priority, restrict vehicle access, relocate coach parking from esplanade to Johnstone Terrace.

Section 2: Lawnmarket

Problems: Pavements narrow and congested with pedestrians, poor maintenance, too many tourist shops cluttering pavements with their wares.

Solutions: Restrict vehicle access to Lawnmarket, widen pavements. Impose new charter on “street clutter” from retailers. New controls on council-leased premises. Clampdown on advertising boards.

Section 3: Civic zone

Problems: Disruption from “night-time economy”, build-up of trade waste, lack of tourists outwith summer.

Solutions: Stricter controls over trade waste, year-round marketing.

Section 4: High Street zone

Problems: Traffic congestion at North Bridge junction. Homeless people and beggars intimidating people. Too many coaches picking up passengers.

Solutions: Create pedestrian, cycle and bus zone between Niddry Street and St Mary’s Street. Relocate traffic lights at main North Bridge junction to improve pedestrian safety. Explore possibility of a low emissions zone.

Section 5: Canongate/Holyrood

Problems: Narrow pavements, poor road surface, too many buses/coaches, poor street lighting, poor variety of shops, shortage of tourists in off-peak months.

Solutions: Traffic-calming measures at Canongate Kirk and neighbouring museums. Explore plans for traffic calming/pedestrian priority measures at junction of Holyroodhouse and Scottish Parliament building. New lighting.

Section 6: Closes and wider hinterland

Problems: Lack of shops and open spaces, poor lighting,

antisocial behaviour and people sleeping rough.

Solutions: Encourage more shops to open. Talks with police and other bodies on strategy for curbing antisocial behaviour.
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Royal Mile revamp: Plan for orange cobbles

Edinburgh Evening News - 25th February, 2013



Quote:
With plans to improve the Royal Mile out for consultation, the future for Edinburgh’s most historic thoroughfare is bright – and in the Canongate it could also be orange.

One idea being discussed as part of the Royal Mile action plan is extending the cobbled road surface, which currently runs from the Castle as far as St Mary’s Street, down to Holyrood.

And there is some evidence that the original cobbles – or setts – in the Canongate stretch of the Mile were a different colour from the grey setts used for the rest of the street.

Historical accounts record “grey and orange granite setts” being brought to Edinburgh from Aberdeenshire. Euan Leitch, assistant director of the Cockburn Association, said he had heard descriptions of “reddish” stones being used in the Canongate.

And he said it would offer “some continuity” if that part of the street were cobbled in its original colour. He said: “Anecdotally, we have heard the Canongate setts had a red tone. I remember talking to a labourer who had worked on digging up cobbles in the Canongate and he spoke of them being a reddish colour, suggesting the Canongate had been treated differently from the rest of the Royal Mile.

“There is also evidence orange setts were imported to Edinburgh, which may imply the Canongate was laid in orange at one time. If it was orange setts originally, it would give some continuity to have them again if they were available.”

Conservation architect James Simpson said he strongly supported the reinstatement of traditional setts in the Canongate. “I would not feel strongly about the need to match the colour to what it had been, but if it was established there were red setts and that could be done, fair enough.”

Malcolm Fraser, the architect behind the Scottish Storytelling Centre in the Royal Mile, said he would not worry about the colour. He said: “What happened in the past is interesting, but we shouldn’t let it reduce our options today.”

And he said he had reservations about cobbles. “They’re not particularly easy to walk over.”

Planning convener Ian Perry said it was the council’s long-term ambition to restore the Royal Mile to its original character. He said: “In the recent past it has been treated as two different streets, the old historic bit at the top and the more modern part down to the palace. We need to redress the balance and treat the Mile as one street. Putting setts down would help in that process.”

Councillor Perry declined to comment on the colour issue, but council sources indicated the question of the colour of the cobbles could be considered as part of the consultation.
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Royal Mile: Traffic ban for parts of famous street

The Scotsman - 2nd August, 2013

Quote:
A blanket ban on cars using key stretches of the Royal Mile is set to be introduced after Christmas in a move to boost the fortunes of Edinburgh’s most iconic thoroughfare.

Building on the success of the semi-pedestrianised section near City Chambers, planning chiefs are set to introduce traffic calming measures outside Canongate Kirk and create a no-car zone between Niddry Street and St Mary’s Street, though access would be allowed between 6.30 and 10.30am.

Pavements at Lawnmarket would be widened encouraging bars and restaurants to spill out onto the cobbled street but traffic would not be prevented from turning onto the section.

The road at Canongate Kirk will be raised – in a “shared space” philosophy – to the height of the kerb in a bid to create a more pedestrian-friendly district.

An action plan appendixed to a report by Mark Turley, director of services for communities, states the ambitious intention to make Royal Mile the “world’s best cultural living street”.

Mr Turley writes: “In 
addition to the strong support for the proposed traffic calming measures at the Canongate Kirk, there was a widely held view that the measures should be extended up as far as the St Mary Street junction. The action has been expanded to assess the potential for a second phase of traffic 
calming.”

He added that there was “universal acknowledgement” that the issue of trade waste – which is collected privately – had to “be tackled” with the imposition of “stricter” controls and new proposals expected to be brought for discussion by the end of the year.

City planning chief, Cllr Ian Perry, said the new traffic blueprints were designed to revitalise Royal Mile and in particular the stretch beyond the old city boundary past the World’s End pub.

He said: “We want to make it a more attractive place to visit and to live. By increasing the pedestrian space you increase footfall and the profitability of the businesses.

“If you look at the bottom of High Street there’s shops empty there and that’s because visitors and locals often stop when they get past South Bridge. We want them to go all the way down.

“At the moment the Royal Mile is seen as two place: one from World’s End where the old boundary wall was, and further down is the new bit and we want it to look the same all the way up and down.”

Around a million people go to Edinburgh Castle each year and about a third make their way down to Holyrood, but there have been concerns that large volumes of traffic at areas such as South Bridge are making the area less attractive for visitors.

It is hoped the changes will make the entire area more inviting and help boost local businesses.

A Royal Mile Charter is to be drawn up with businesses to tackle graffiti, trade waste and the display of goods outside shops. A series of Spring Cleans have been held to clear graffiti and tidy up the 
street.

A Royal Mile manager has also been appointed and helped create a Royal Mile Business Association.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 12:07 AM   #5
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Like the idea of reinstating the cobbles all the way down to Holyrood. Would definitely encourage tourists to venture down further that way.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leki View Post
After the inevitable 'fears', 'anger' and 'fury'-type articles from the Evening News (which is normally ridden with pro-motorist agenda), a traffic ban of sorts was trialled on George Street during the Fringe. Thankfully, it seems to have gone well.
Gone well according to whom? Call me pro-motorist, as I live on Thistle Street and have a car with a 1A city parking permit. Traffic was a mess during the Fringe, due to the George St closure. And worse than the traffic is the lack of parking spaces, made worse by the influx of people flocking to the city from their villages and parking with complete disregard for those who actually live here.

As usual, the city's decisions are being made for the sake of tourists and not its residents.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ken2000ac View Post
Gone well according to whom? Call me pro-motorist, as I live on Thistle Street and have a car with a 1A city parking permit. Traffic was a mess during the Fringe, due to the George St closure. And worse than the traffic is the lack of parking spaces, made worse by the influx of people flocking to the city from their villages and parking with complete disregard for those who actually live here.

As usual, the city's decisions are being made for the sake of tourists and not its residents.
How about you get the bus/cycle/walk? Save the environment, improve the city.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 02:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ken2000ac View Post
Gone well according to whom? Call me pro-motorist, as I live on Thistle Street and have a car with a 1A city parking permit. Traffic was a mess during the Fringe, due to the George St closure. And worse than the traffic is the lack of parking spaces, made worse by the influx of people flocking to the city from their villages and parking with complete disregard for those who actually live here.

As usual, the city's decisions are being made for the sake of tourists and not its residents.
Oh dear... that last line. Ignoring for a second the benefits and money tourists bring which is vital for many sectors in Edinburgh, what has the council/city done ever to support tourists that disadvantages its own residents?

Here's the quotes from the article that I didn't post originally as it was far too long. (Plenty of scepticism towards the original plans, but certainly they felt the Fringe closure went well - at least it's a start).

Quote:
Positive feedback

Billy Lowe, a hotelier and restaurateur in George Street, hailed the success of the trial and said he hoped it was a springboard for greater things.

He said: “There has been lots of positive feedback about the George Street decking and continental-style alfresco dining that was offered and the area as a whole has certainly benefitted as a result.

“The decking and entertainment in St Andrew Square and along George Street has undoubtedly proved to be a huge success in establishing the George Street area as a significant destination for visitors to the Edinburgh Fringe. We look forward to building on the success of this year and making August even better for everyone in 2014.”

Josh Miller, chairman of the George Street Association, was reluctant to draw conclusions from the Festival arrangements until a impact assessment has been carried out on hospitality and retail. He said: “There was a very different atmosphere in the block between Frederick and Hanover Streets which was completely closed and the other blocks where half the street was closed.

“We objected to the previous idea of having buses one-way on George Street and I’m not aware of anyone who liked that idea.

“Hopefully, this will demonstrate there are other possibilities for the area which should be investigated.”

Gordon Henderson, of the Federation of Small Businesses, agreed the Festival experiment had been a success.

He said: “Whenever I was in George Street those outside seating areas were packed. It gave a good impression to visitors to the city that they were able to sit out and enjoy the street.”

He said that did not mean George Street should be part-pedestrianised all year round.

“This has already been discussed and it was pretty clear the traders were not keen. It gets quite frustrating when the council consults and if it doesn’t get the desired response it tries to get what it wants by another route.

“They have done the consultation and they need to listen to what people said. People didn’t want to have buses going one way along Princes Street and the other way along George Street.

“A knee-jerk decision to make it permanent would be unwise.”

Business expert: ‘The system worked well’

A LEADING business expert hailed the boom created by banning traffic from half of George Street.

Graham Birse, of Edinburgh Napier University’s business school, said to introduce it permanently – or extend it – the city would have to appease concerned traders.

He said: “There’s no doubt the system which operated in George Street during the Festival worked well.

“It created a cafe society space where people could relax and enjoy the Festival. The local businesses, Festival-goers and residents all seemed to like it.

“If it were going to be introduced on a more widespread or permanent basis, businesses would want to be reassured the transport arrangements and the opportunities for visitors to park nearby and access the pedestrianised areas were in place. In other words, proceed with caution. So the exercise was worthwhile.

“Of course, you also have to take account of what it will be like on a raw February afternoon with a cold front passing through.”
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Old September 4th, 2013, 04:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Leki View Post
Oh dear... that last line. Ignoring for a second the benefits and money tourists bring which is vital for many sectors in Edinburgh, what has the council/city done ever to support tourists that disadvantages its own residents?

Here's the quotes from the article that I didn't post originally as it was far too long. (Plenty of scepticism towards the original plans, but certainly they felt the Fringe closure went well - at least it's a start).
Fair enough, perhaps that last line of mine is an exaggeration, but I wouldn't retract it entirely. Ask residents of Leith how they feel about an added army of rubbish bins being brought into the city centre for appearance sake whilst they continue to suffer with dirty streets. As a car owner (which I use for my work) I can't help but be annoyed when the precious little parking that we pay for is taken up by a tent and some wanna-be Paris cafes in the middle of George Street - for the tourists. Last year they had the audacity to allow the screaming jets to use their afterburners over the city centre until residents objected loudly enough.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 07:01 PM   #10
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Last year they had the audacity to allow the screaming jets to use their afterburners over the city centre until residents objected loudly enough.
Last year, the year before that, the year before that, the year before that etc etc etc.

Since 2000 I've lived to the west of the Castle directly under the path the jets take after doing the tattoo flypast. The roar of jets coming over at bang on 9 o'clock most days in August is something you get used to. I'm probably biased because I was properly into planes as a teenager but I used to like watching a couple of Tornados or more recently Typhoons heading out over Murrayfield.

A few people complain about something that's been happening for years so they change it. There were still flypasts this August but a lot quieter than before and I'm not sure if they were every day.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 08:52 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ken2000ac View Post
Fair enough, perhaps that last line of mine is an exaggeration, but I wouldn't retract it entirely. Ask residents of Leith how they feel about an added army of rubbish bins being brought into the city centre for appearance sake whilst they continue to suffer with dirty streets. As a car owner (which I use for my work) I can't help but be annoyed when the precious little parking that we pay for is taken up by a tent and some wanna-be Paris cafes in the middle of George Street - for the tourists. Last year they had the audacity to allow the screaming jets to use their afterburners over the city centre until residents objected loudly enough.
We need more Edinburgh posters on here - so welcome! But I'm afraid I don't agree with your stance - especially the cynicism towards the events on George Street (which were not just for tourists). Parking needs are one small part of a range of demands on the city centre - the council can't please everyone.

I own a car too, but I usually get to the city centre by bus and I personally think that George Street functioning as a giant car park is horrendous. For residents, it surely comes with the territory of living in the city centre that a bit of parking compromise is expected.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 10:35 AM   #12
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Good ideas! As a tourist, I was surprised by the beauty of the city. However, I was even more surprised by the embracement of the car-owner, and how much the car is favoured above pedestrians, busses, bikes, (and trams). Some of the most beautiful streets (George street) are completed dominated by cars, just parking on the street! Really ruining the experience of the street in my opinion. But maybe I'm to much influenced by my home-town.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 03:47 PM   #13
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Looks good to me.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 07:28 PM   #14
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I support traffic ban, but orange cobbles? I never seen this type of thing before
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Old September 5th, 2013, 09:30 PM   #15
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I can only imagine that the 'orange' would be far less saturated than that image suggests.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 09:35 PM   #16
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I support traffic ban, but orange cobbles? I never seen this type of thing before
The dayglo orange is just the Evening News amusing themselves on Photoshop - the actual colour was reportedly a 'reddish' tint. Either way, sadly they don't form part of the proposed plans.

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Originally Posted by Grumpey View Post
Good ideas! As a tourist, I was surprised by the beauty of the city. However, I was even more surprised by the embracement of the car-owner, and how much the car is favoured above pedestrians, busses, bikes, (and trams). Some of the most beautiful streets (George street) are completed dominated by cars, just parking on the street! Really ruining the experience of the street in my opinion. But maybe I'm to much influenced by my home-town.
You describe the reality of the situation perfectly - hopefully your visit was good otherwise.

I understand people need and want to drive, and that it's important for the city to be 'accessible'. What I don't agree with is the widespread acceptance of the utter myth that car drivers are under some kind of great oppression from the council, which then influences plans like the ones on this thread.

I don't know the reasons, but already the semi-pedestrianisation of the Lawnmarket has been quietly dropped from the plans (red part below)...



This is the current state of pedestrianisation in the city...

(red line is the Royal Mile, yellow line is Castle Street which is supposed to pedestrianised but the bollards are always down, and the red dots is the Grassmarket where pedestrian space took over parking, but traffic can still get through)
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Old September 6th, 2013, 12:35 AM   #17
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Edinburgh tramworks finally end on York Place

Edinburgh Evening News - 5th September, 2013



Quote:
Traders have predicted customers will flock back to York Place when the key city centre route reopens to all traffic tomorrow for the first time in 14 months.

Businesses were today celebrating as one of the Capital’s busiest arteries prepared to free itself of the shackles of the tram works in a major milestone for the city’s troubled £776 million transport project.

York Place, which is at the end of the eight-mile long tram line, has been shut since July last year while contractors laid tracks, poured concrete and built the final stop at the junction with Broughton Street.

The city council has confirmed the road will now be opened to all traffic via three light-controlled junctions at North St Andrew Street, Elder Street and Broughton Street.

In the clearest sign yet the tram works are coming to an end, buses will also start running along York Place from Sunday, returning to their previous routes.

Access to and from the main bus station will be available from both the east and west via the Elder Street junction.

Motorists will be able to drive into the St James Centre multi-storey car park from York Place via Elder Street in a boon for shoppers heading for John Lewis department store and surrounding businesses.

York Place’s reopening means the West End section from Shandwick Place to Haymarket is the only significant stretch of tram works left.

Harvey Nichols store director Gordon Drummond labelled the reopening “terrific news”.

He said: “It’s another signal that the tram construction phase is nearing completion. One of the biggest effects for us has been that customers haven’t been able to find our car park. Reopening it will just allow people to use the old familiar routes of coming along York Place and up Elder Street. It’ll make a difference.”

Tommy Sheppard, owner of York Place’s Stand Comedy Club, said: “It’ll make a difference. Our numbers are definitely down. I’m looking forward to the street reopening and people seeing where we are again.”

Essential Edinburgh chief executive Andy Neal said the move would be great for business, adding: “We’ve seen footfall steadily increasing over the last few months as the disruptions of the trams has begun to subside. We’re obviously not completely clear yet, but it’s a very clear indication that as we move away from the disruption people will come back and start to spend in the city centre.”

Underground cables will still need to be pulled through already installed ducts under York Place, meaning a series of overnight shifts and work on the tram stop will still continue over for several weeks.

Money is also expected to be spent fixing neighbouring roads – including Broughton Place and Albany Street – that have had their surfaces damaged by diverted traffic over the past year.

A programme of works is being discussed, although it is understood the council intends to take a sensitive approach to avoid further prolonged roadworks misery.

Irene Kivlin, of Charles Kivlin Hair Studio in Albany Street, said traffic had been “horrendous”, with work on potholes and changes to parking welcome.

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds believes the city centre has come “a long way in 12 months” with Princes Street opening and St Andrew Square fully accessible. She said: “Our target remains to have a service up and running by summer next year, but we’ll bring this date forward if we can. However, there is still some construction work to be completed and, following that, a major programme of testing, commissioning and driver training.

“We are now in the final stages of the tram project construction phase and while this is a relief, it’s also an opportunity for our city. We want to develop a new approach where transport options are fully integrated – a system that will benefit residents and visitors while ensuring that Edinburgh is well positioned in the eyes of potential investors who can create jobs for residents.”

Green transport spokesman Councillor Nigel Bagshaw hopes the hoopla around the roadworks ending will not detract from the green debate needed on pollution problems.

Transport Minister Keith Brown lauded the milestone, saying: “We remain committed to ensuring there are no further delays, that any opportunity to increase progress is exploited and that costs are contained.”

Lothian Buses chief executive Ian Craig thanked customers for their “considerable patience”. He said: “The 
reopening will, of course, mean that a number of our most popular routes will now be altered, so I’d advise our customers to check our website.”
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Old September 6th, 2013, 12:43 AM   #18
Pedree
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Are the trams running in places yet?
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Old September 6th, 2013, 12:56 AM   #19
Kenspeckle
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Are the trams running in places yet?
There have been test runs on the Airport to Gogar Depot stretch for months. A council meeting due later this month will apparently reveal the likely start date. At the moment, the aim is still officially to open the route "before summer 2014."
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Old September 6th, 2013, 01:12 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Grumpey View Post
Good ideas! As a tourist, I was surprised by the beauty of the city. However, I was even more surprised by the embracement of the car-owner, and how much the car is favoured above pedestrians, busses, bikes, (and trams). Some of the most beautiful streets (George street) are completed dominated by cars, just parking on the street! Really ruining the experience of the street in my opinion. But maybe I'm to much influenced by my home-town.
That's the UK for you. The motorist rules. After visting Amsterdam a couple of times, I really think you guys have got it right. People here seem to think parking is a right, when it's not.
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