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Traffic ban and bigger tram network planned for Edinburgh

George Street would be pedestrianised as part of a radical vision for the capital.

Trams: Network could be extended.

One of Edinburgh’s main streets could be pedestrianised while the tram network could be extended, under a radical ten-year vision for the capital.

The city council has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030 by encouraging more people to use public transport in a bid to cut congestion.

George Street would be closed to traffic, including buses, under the ambitious plans, which are yet to be funded or costed.

The city’s main thoroughfare, Princes Street, is already closed to private vehicles.

Meanwhile, the tram network could be extended to the waterfront at Granton – while another line could take it south to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh  – likely passing over North Bridge.

Council leader Councillor Adam McVey, said: “Within the timescale of this plan, we have the permissions that we need to go ahead with the Granton line – even though the counci’s not expressly yet agreed to do that.

“There are things happening in the south of the city that we would want to be better connected into sustainable, high-capacity public transport because the number of people living and working there is going to increase quite substantially.

“It’s something the city is going to have to talk about within this  time-scale.”

Other measures included in the strategy are a review of the city’s bus network, which could involve halting the vehicles from Princes Street by creating hubs at either end of the city centre, while a “seamless” integrated ticketing system could allow passengers to use all modes of public transport, including the bike hire scheme, with contactless payment.

The strategy will be considered by the council’s transport and environment committee next week. If approved, a public consultation will be carried out before being brought back for approval by councillors later this year.

Story by local democracy reporter David Bol

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