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Traffic-free Sundays return to Edinburgh this autumn

The city made history in May when it became the first UK city to join the Open Streets movement.

Edinburgh: A number of streets will be closed to traffic. <strong>The City of Edinburgh Council</strong>
Edinburgh: A number of streets will be closed to traffic. The City of Edinburgh Council

Car-free Sundays are set to return to Edinburgh this autumn – with a packed programme of activities planned to bring the Old Town to life.

The city made history in May when it became the first in the UK to join the Open Streets movement, which has seen cities around the world temporarily opening streets to people by closing them to vehicles.

On the first Sunday of every month a number of streets – including the Canongate, Cockburn Street and Victoria Street – were closed to motorised traffic to allow the public to enjoy the historic area on foot or bike.

This Sunday, the event will return from a two-month break after the busy summer festival season with a range of attractions including e-bike trials on the Canongate, knitting in Dunbar Close Garden, and the chance to spot men of the Town Guard patrolling the Royal Mile on the lookout for Jacobite spies.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said: “Our vision for Edinburgh is clear – we want to create a people-friendly, sustainable city, where the public feel safe and welcome to stroll, cycle and interact with one another.

“We’ve already seen from the first three events what a difference closing streets to motorised traffic can make, encouraging active travel, play and an appreciation of Edinburgh’s unique historical environment, and I’m delighted that more people will be able to experience this as we welcome Open Streets back for autumn.”

The scheme aims to replicate the success of similar events in cities like New York, Paris and Brussels, where regular car-free days have revolutionised the way people use their streets, encouraging healthy, active travel, inclusivity and cultural appreciation.

Open Streets is also helping to reimagine how spaces can be shared and re-configured in the future, in line with City Centre Transformation, a long-term vision approved in September to create a connected, sustainable and people-friendly centre.

After 12pm on October 6 a series of diversions will be put in place for motorised traffic, though access will be maintained throughout for blue badge holders, with events staff on hand to ensure people with disabilities can enter the closed streets without difficulty.

The following streets will be closed to cars and other vehicles between 12pm and 5pm:

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