Living Streets Edinburgh Group aims to promote walking as a safe, enjoyable and easy way of getting around Edinburgh.
Within this context we appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on the future development of Edinburgh Waverley Station. We look forward to a masterplan that reflects both the outstanding location in a World Heritage Site and this unique opportunity to radically improve the experience for people using the station.
The focus of the station is walking, whether arriving or leaving by train, or simply passing through. The walking experience in and around Waverley is not an easy one, especially for those unfamiliar with the station or the city.
The masterplan process offers an opportunity to address this and should revolve around people walking, both within and through. The statistics show that the overwhelming majority of people arrive and leave on foot, so make it easier and more comfortable for them to do so.
As the masterplan evolves there will be conflicts to resolve, but this should always be within the context of the movement hierarchy set out in Scottish Planning Policy with walking, cycling, public transport and, lastly, private cars in that order of priority.
The focus must be on the station as a travel hub and not as an opportunity for commercial development unless in support of that raison d’être.
In addition to catering for the projected increase in train traffic and improving the walking experience within the station, there are wider opportunities to be taken, so it is important that the masterplan boundary is not tightly focused on the station itself and embraces surrounding streets. It certainly needs to be closely integrated with the City Centre Transformation project being led by the Council.
Some of the associated issues to be taken into account (not an exhaustive list) when preparing the masterplan include:
- No car parking other than for drop off/disabled use, and this must be designed to avoid conflict with those walking.
- Make it easier and more seamless to walk to/from buses and trams without enduring pinch points or having to cross traffic-dominated roads.
- Provision will have to be made for taxis in a location that does not conflict with walking, but not inside the station.
- Reinstate the historical link from the Old Town to Calton Road via a new pedestrian bridge, thereby allowing people to walk over on one level rather than the current convoluted route through the station.
- Close the dangerous Leith Street/Calton Road junction except for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Enhance the Calton Road route to the station to improve the walking experience and make it a more pleasant route at any time of day.
- In addition, the opportunity must also be taken to prioritise pedestrians and enhance the walking experience on Princes Street (including exit/entry via Waverley Steps), on Waverley Bridge, and Market Street/East Market Street.
- The servicing arrangements for the redeveloped station require careful thought in terms of location and future management. Some of the ideas floated in the city centre transformation consultation regarding the size/type of vehicles used may be useful.
We hope that our input helps to inform the masterplan process and we look forward to continuing to work with others to create an outstanding future for Waverley Station and all who use it.