George Street will return to its former layout this weekend with the addition of a new cycle lane, following a year-long trial to improve the area for pedestrians and cyclists.
In September 2014 the street was transformed with the introduction of a dedicated two-way cycle lane and a one-way system for general traffic and buses.
Making use of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO), the trial aimed to test out different types of public realm solution and street layout. During this time quarterly meetings have been held, encouraging feedback from more than 1500 interested members of the public and stakeholders, which will be used to inform a long-term design.
Now, both sides of the street will be reopened to traffic on a block-by-block basis, along with the implementation of a new advisory cycle lane as agreed by the Transport and Environment Committee
Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “The George Street trial has been a real experiment for the city, and has allowed us to truly listen and respond to the public throughout.
“Our sole intention has been to improve the space for all users of this key thoroughfare, and to this end we have seen lots of interesting additions, from new cycle lanes to attractive planters sourced from our own Inch Park Nursery.
“Now we are focusing on the future of the street, and a long term solution that will benefit everyone. I look forward to seeing the outcome of our design team’s research.”
Initial designs for the George Street trial aimed to reduce traffic-dominated streets, improving the quality of the pedestrian experience and encouraging a ‘café culture’, and were drawn up following consultation with stakeholders and the public.
Over the period of the trial, regular on-street interviews with passers-by and stakeholder engagement have allowed project leaders to gauge support for changes, which have also included outdoor seating for cafes and restaurants and the introduction of the city’s first ‘parklets’.
Research found that more people than ever have been visiting George Street, returning more often and lingering longer, spending an average of more than three hours at a time on the street.
Now an appointed design team will use information gathered to create design principles for the future of the street, with a report expected by the end of the year.
George Street will begin returning to its former layout from Monday, 7 September, starting with the block between Hanover and Frederick Street. The existing two-way cycle lanes will be closed from this date.
The order of decant will be:
Week 1: Hanover Street to Frederick Street
Week 2: Hanover Street to St. Andrew Square
Week 3: Frederick Street to Castle Street
Week 4: Castle Street to Charlotte Square