Edinburgh City Council has developed a proposal for improving the city centre, particularly in the area around Princes Street and George Street, with a public consultation underway.
The Gehl study identified Princes Street as a high traffic area and proposed a substantial reduction in the number of buses using the street. The report claims bus operators, especially Lothian Buses, recognise this and are adapting services to provide cross city centre routes which do not use Princes Street.
Proposed changes to vehicle movement include:
- to split bus services so they are running eastbound on George Street and westbound on Princes Street;
- to close Princes Street to general traffic in both directions;
- to allow buses, cycles and taxis on Princes Street in a westbound direction only on the south carriageway;
- to operate trams on Princes Street in both directions;
- to allow general traffic on George Street in an eastbound direction only. This will include taxis;
- to develop George Street as the preferred location for the primary cycle route; and
- to minimise the overall net loss of parking spaces on George Street.
Other proposed changes to the George Street and Princes Street area include the creation of additional pedestrian space, more parking for cars and motorcycles, waiting/loading facilities & taxi stances, cycle provision and additional bus stops. The report said a balance needs to be struck between the current capacity and what is desirable in the context of the reconfigured streets.