Monthly Archives: December 2015

Briefing: The way forward for George Street

In October 2015 Living streets Edinburgh responded to the local Councils request for comments on the future plans for George Street.

The full response can be found here

The briefing sets out the views of Living Streets Scotland and Living Streets Edinburgh (the local campaign group) on the future of George Street and the scope to restore it to its rightful place as one of the capital’s and Scotland’s finest streets. It summarises 10 principles that we believe will allow Edinburgh to match and compete with other similar north European capital cities, with principal streets that offer a high quality experience to visitors and residents.

Achieving the vision

  • Recognize that George Street is an internationally important asset
  • Redress the chronic lack of high-quality urban space in Edinburgh
  • More people – not more parking – is the key to George Street’s future success
  • Create fully pedestrianised European style spaces
  • George Street is not a transport artery, so prioritise place over movement
  • Quality materials are not enough to deliver a quality street
  • Shared space must protect vulnerable users and restrain vehicle speeds
  • George Street must be at the heart of a lively, sociable walkable New Town
  • Proactively manage and regulate the new street from the outset
  • Edinburgh must not fail again

 

The opportunity must be taken to demonstrate Edinburgh’s streetscape can match its world-class architecture. 

 

 

Princes Street

Princes Street is the heart of Edinburgh and its busiest street for people on foot. But pedestrians get a very raw deal as they proceed along the street.  We have recorded video footage of this junction in September 2015 and found that it can take to FOUR MINUTES 22 SECONDS for people to wait for the green man phase to cross just the Frederick Street junction. This is an unacceptable wait time for people on foot and not only leads to delays for the great number of people on foot but is dangerous as some people will inevitably seek to cross before the ‘green man’ phase comes on, resulting in frequent ‘near misses’.

The problem lies with the timing of the traffic signals. According to council policy, “absolute priority” is given to trams; this has had a knock-on effect of increasing the time that pedestrians have to wait to cross the roads which join Princes Street. However, the Council has responded to our concerns by tweaking the signal timings and we understand that pedestrian wait times have reduced recently. We will make more video recordings in the future, so that the pedestrian experience and actual wait times can be accurately documented and monitored. We also want to ensure that, should trams be extended to Leith or Newhaven in the future, there is no detriment to the pedestrian experience on any other part of the tram route.