Traffic could be banned from city centre routes in car crackdown

The city council’s proposals would see through traffic removed from North and South Bridges, the Canongate and the Cowgate.

Traffic could be cut from key routes in Edinburgh city centre PA Media

Through traffic along several key roads in the centre of Edinburgh could be banned as part of a plan to cut car use.

The city council’s proposals would see through traffic removed from North and South Bridges, the Canongate and the Cowgate.

The preferred route for a new tram line between Granton and the BioQuarter in the south of the city has also been published, along with options for further extensions in the south east.

Later this week, councillors will discuss a plan called Our Future Streets which sets out how space on roads will be allocated.

These include closing the lower part of the Royal Mile – outside the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood – to traffic while allowing local access for residents and businesses.

An artist’s impression released alongside the plan shows a new seating area replacing the roundabout opposite the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

As an experimental measure, the Cowgate is set to be closed to through traffic later in 2024.

Edinburgh’s transport convener councillor Scott Arthur said: “We’re lucky to live in a beautiful, historic city, and Edinburgh’s rapidly increasing population is testament to that.

“But as our city continues to grow, so too do the challenges posed by congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

“We need to be bold and move faster if we are to support the people who live, work and visit here to move around the capital sustainably and safely, while protecting Edinburgh’s unique heritage.

“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 kilometres travelled.

“I know that many people in Edinburgh can’t afford a car or are not able to drive – making it easier for these residents to move around Edinburgh is at the heart of these plans.”

He said the council had learned from “progressive” cities around the world and there is broad support for change.

Mr Arthur added: “The council has been talking about these types of changes since before I moved here in 1996. It is now listening to residents and businesses and will be bolder, think bigger and act faster.”

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