Town centre projects


An image of Portobello High Street looking north, with parked cars, traffic and street furniture.

Portobello town centre provides vital local services to communities across the east of Edinburgh and beyond.

We are working with local residents, community groups, organisations and businesses to explore opportunities to improve the streets, public spaces, local facilities and amenities that exist in Portobello.

This project is part of our 20-minute neighbourhood strategy which is looking to develop places where everyone can have better access to essential local services and open spaces, while enjoying excellent transport and active travel links to the rest of the city.

What you have told us so far

Involving communities at an early stage of the design project is a key priority for the City of Edinburgh Council.

Between 13 February and 14 April 2023 we conducted a survey to help us understand your views on Portobello town centre and the local area. We have also organised workshops and engaged with community groups. These activities have aimed to:

  • Understand what you think is important across the streets and public spaces in Portobello town centre and the local area 
  • Identify opportunities to improve access to local facilities and amenities 
  • Identify anything that limits walking, wheeling and cycling to and within the town centre
  • Identify opportunities to improve the look and feel of the area.

We have been listening to your feedback and the main things you have told us that you would like to see changed are:

  • Cycling safety - including better provision of cycling facilities, particularly to encourage alternative options to the Promenade during peak times
  • Traffic volume - including reviewing through traffic and identifying ways to improve the quality and safety of the high street environment
  • Car parking - including the issue of pavement parking and better parking design and traffic management to ensure footways are kept clear
  • Seasonal issues - including reviewing public transport frequency, car parking, traffic congestion, pedestrian / cycle movements and litter collection during the busiest periods
  • Pedestrian safety - including widening some pavements, providing more and safer pedestrian crossings with shorter waiting times, calm traffic speeds and improving walking links over/under the railway line
  • Public transport connectivity - including reviewing frequency and routes
  • Quality of surfaces and public spaces - including more attractive streets and public spaces, renewing carriageway surfaces, more places to rest, better play equipment and lighting.
  • Better public toilet facilities and waste management activity, and refurbishing the library with better signage.

Some of you expressed some concerns, including:

  • Existing traffic filters and traffic calming measures to the east of the town centre, and that these locations should continue to be monitored closely
  • Safe and convenient motor vehicle access needs to be retained for people with mobility issues and for deliveries to local businesses
  • Some of you also raised concerns that this project might limit freedom of movement for local people. This project is about making it easier for you to access facilities and services by walking, wheeling, cycling or using public transport and will not restrict you or anyone else from getting to or from any other part of the city.

If you would like a copy of our online engagement survey summary report, please contact us using the email address below.

Share your views

There will be further opportunities for the community to continue to shape the project as plans for the area are developed over the coming months.

We are always interested in your suggestions on how the area can be improved. You can email us at any time:

The City of Edinburgh Council has been awarded Places for Everyone funding to develop a concept design for an improved Portobello High Street. Places for Everyone is an active travel infrastructure fund backed by the Scottish Government and administered by Sustrans. The Places for Everyone programme provides support and expertise to help deliver walking, wheeling, and cycling improvements across the country.

Related projects

Logos for the Places for Everyone programme, administered by Sustrans

We have been awarded Places for Everyone funding to develop a concept design for an improved Portobello High Street.

Find out more about Places for Everyone

Send us an email