• Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Through-traffic to be banned on Cowgate and North Bridge under new council plans

ByBen Sallybanks

Feb 8, 2024
Traffic in Edinburgh

The City of Edinburgh Council plans to ban through-traffic in the city centre spanning Cowgate, North Bridge, South Bridge, and Canongate as part of its green goals to reduce car emissions.

On 1 February, the council’s Transport and Environment Committee approved the ‘Our Future Streets’ plan, which would create an area bounded by Lauriston Place, Holyrood Park, Queen Street, and Lothian Road, where through-traffic would be prohibited.

The council has set the goal of making Edinburgh a net zero carbon city by 2030, having declared a climate emergency in 2019, and estimates that a 30 per cent reduction in car kilometres could reduce the city’s overall carbon dioxide emissions by 19 per cent.

To achieve this goal, the council hopes to encourage alternative modes of transport, such as buses, cycling, and walking/wheeling by reducing congestion and creating wider pavements and safer cycling conditions.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Convener of the Transport and Environment Committee, told The City of Edinburgh Council that: “We’ve learnt lessons from progressive cities around the world who are adopting strategic approaches to redesigning their streets and networks.

“By making it easier to walk, wheel, cycle and use public transport we can create better, healthier transport links, supporting net zero 2030 goals and helping to drive down car kms travelled.”

The council is yet to decide a timeline for the implementation of these changes, and whether this will occur in phases or all-at-once in what it calls a ‘big bang’ approach.

The city centre plans support the council’s ‘Meadows to George Street’ scheme, which will create segregated cycle paths from the Meadows to George Street, via Forrest Road, George IV Bridge, and Hanover Street.

The Student previously spoke to a local cyclist named Conor about his experience with Edinburgh’s cycling infrastructure, who said: “Edinburgh is a pretty old city, and a lot of roads are narrow and winding, when they were built they weren’t built for SUVs or 4x4s which makes it a lot more dangerous for vulnerable road users.

“Where cycling infrastructure exists [it] is poorly designed, it gets bogged with leaves, and potholes – which all sort of compounds into cyclists going on main roads – roads that are totally unfit for cyclists to be on.”

The closure of Canongate would extend the pedestrianised section of the Royal Mile all the way to the Scottish Parliament.

Prevention of through-traffic over North Bridge and South Bridge complements proposals for a new tram route between Granton and the BioQuarter/Royal Infirmary, a consultation for which was approved during the Transport and Environment Committee meeting.

Edinburgh street as seen from the second deck of bus” by Tatters ✾ is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.