Designers signed up for George Street transformation

Design consultants have been appointed to draw up a permanent vision for Edinburgh’s historic George Street, moving the project forward.

Members of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee were updated on plans to improve public realm on the street yesterday (Thursday).

Design consultants WYG Environment Planning Transport Ltd will produce a preliminary design for the future layout, as part of the broader development of the surrounding ‘First New Town’ area.

Proposals to transform the thoroughfare were first discussed in 2014, when a year-long trial was implemented, introducing a dedicated two-way cycle lane, additional pedestrian space and a one-way traffic system for cars. The temporary project enabled the close study of the street’s use alongside regular engagement with stakeholders, with the outcomes helping to inform the creation of detailed design principles to guide its future development.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “This is an important step forward for the George Street project, and will bring us closer to achieving a vision for this part of the city, creating a more accessible, enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.

“We have taken great care to engage closely with the public throughout the process, investigating their needs and ideas for the street, with feedback used to inform the creation of all-inclusive design principles last year.

“I now look forward to working with consultants while continuing to involve public input, to develop the preliminary designs for George Street, helping us to improve the local environment and encourage mixed use by residents and visitors.”

The report acknowledges George Street’s interdependence with intersecting ‘First New Town’ streets Castle Street, Frederick Street and Hanover Street, as well as Charlotte and St Andrew Squares, and recommends that any design solution should take this into account.

This will play a critical part in the Central Edinburgh Transformation project, discussed in a separate report to Transport and Environment Committee. This aims to develop a holistic vision for the evolution of Edinburgh’s city centre, better meeting the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, while recognising its importance as a place to work, socialise and shop.

A revitalised George Street will also provide a key link between the West End and the St James quarter, currently undergoing development, incorporating the proposed City Centre West to East Cycle Link (CCWEL), which will provide safe cycling along the route.

A preliminary design, which will reflect existing design principles, will draw on preparatory studies carried out over the last year, including in-depth public surveys and ground-penetrating investigations to map out existing features.

Read the full report online.

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