George Street opened up for pedestrians

The first phase of a project to improve George Street for pedestrians and cyclists will begin next week.

Work, which will last approximately four weeks, will begin on 16 June and will make way for an increase in pedestrian space on each of the street’s four blocks.

Changes are set to come into full effect after the Festival, and will also see the introduction of a dedicated two-way cycle lane and a one-way system for general traffic and buses.

Preparations for the scheme will be phased along the length of the street from west to east, and will see the north side of the street closed from Charlotte Square to Frederick Street and the south side closed between Frederick Street and St Andrew Square.

The development of George Street follows on from the success of a similar trial held during the Festival in 2013, and aims to make the street more attractive to shoppers, residents and tourists.

Increased pedestrian space will allow for outdoor dining facilities, exhibitions and public art, supporting an emerging café culture and encouraging footfall to the city centre, while a two-way cycle route will connect the National Cycle network at the east and west end of the City Centre.   

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “Changes to George Street will result in a more relaxing, inviting atmosphere for residents, shoppers and visitors alike, opening one of our key thoroughfares for everyone to enjoy.

“As a major UK capital we want to display a vibrant and appealing city centre, showcasing what local businesses have on offer. But it’s also about creating an accessible space for pedestrians and cyclists and we will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure this works in practise.”

Proposals to develop George Street were first agreed as part of a wider city centre vision at October’s Transport and Environment Committee and final designs were drawn up after a six-week consultation held with stakeholders and the public.

Planners have ensured minimal changes to parking for residents and visitors, with spaces in the centre of the street, separated from new cycle lanes by rubber kerbs and decorative planters, and residents’ parking maintained in the design.

Work on George Street will take place as follows:

June 16-20, Charlotte Square to Castle Street (north side closed)
June 23-27, Castle Street to Frederick Street (north side closed)
June 30-July 4, Frederick Street to Hanover Street (south side closed)
July 7-11, Hanover Street to St Andrew Square (south side closed)

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