Waverley Bridge will be closed to vehicles on weekend days during the festive period.
The City of Edinburgh Council will pedestrianise the area between 11am and 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays, starting this weekend.
It means the bridge’s five-bay taxi rank will be relocated to Market Street until January 5, while the Tour and Airlink buses will operate from George Street and St Andrew Square respectively.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes, the council’s transport convener, said the measures were taken to “ensure the safety and wellbeing” of residents and visitors while the popular Christmas market is on.
She said: “The festive season is extremely busy in the city centre with Edinburgh’s Christmas in full swing in East Princes Street Gardens as well as a significant increase in shoppers and other seasonal activities.
“In a thriving and busy festival city such as ours we must make sure we put in place appropriate plans to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the many residents and visitors who pass through our streets every day.
“These six-hour-long daytime Saturday and Sunday closures on Waverley Bridge will ease congestion on the busy pavements and crossings, making it much easier for everyone to move around in a relaxed, welcoming and festive atmosphere.
“This ties in with our broader aims to make Edinburgh a more attractive, people-friendly place, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport.
“It’s crucial that we also maintain transport links for the people who live and work here and we have been working closely with residents and businesses to make sure these measures allow them to continue with their usual daily routines.”
A spokesperson for Underbelly, organisers of the Christmas market, added: “We welcome the decision to close Waverley Bridge during the busiest periods in the city centre.
“During these busy times, on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 5pm it will allow us to make the primary East End entrance to East Princes Street Gardens on the corner of Market Street and Waverley Bridge, where crowd management controls including queuing systems will be in place to manage entry.”