Looking forward as George Street trial reaches midpoint

The City of Edinburgh Council is looking to the future of George Street, as a year-long trial to animate and improve the space reaches the halfway point.

Councillors have agreed to consider a report on the outcomes of the trial later this year, as well as design options for the long term layout of the street.

Members of the Transport and Environment Committee today (Tuesday) heard research into the impact of the scheme, based on on-street interviews with pedestrians, shoppers and commuters.

Amongst the findings are an increase in footfall throughout the six month trial period and a rise in the number of people returning to the street as a result of the changes - 90% of those interviewed say they are more likely or at least as likely as before to visit George Street.

People have also tended to linger longer on the street since the beginning of the trial, with most spending an average of three hours, while the majority of interviewees say the area is more attractive now.

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “We have worked hard, in collaboration with stakeholders and partner agencies, to ensure changes take all users of George Street into account, so it is great to hear such positive feedback.

“Throughout the trial we have listened to the public’s opinions, and as such have continued to make adjustments to address any issues or concerns.

“Now we are half way through the project we are beginning to consider a longer term layout for George Street, and I look forward to the forthcoming report.”

In September 2014 the Council introduced a dedicated two-way cycle lane, additional pedestrian space, and a one-way traffic system for cars to the street.

Upon completion of the trial in September 2015, a report will be delivered to the Transport and Environment Committee outlining the views of the street’s users based on interviews with 100 people each month throughout the year.

The report will also take into account two additional pieces of research work on patterns of movement within the city centre, as well as business and bus passenger surveys.

Following this, an independently-led design process will take place, involving residents, businesses and other stakeholders to agree design principles and examine a range of options for the street layout.

Read the full Transport and Environment Committee papers on the Council website.

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