City of Edinburgh Council take more steps to reduce ‘vehicle dominance’

A new circulation plan for Edinburgh, Our Future Streets – which will be debated later this week – proposes closing major roads in the city centre. 

By 2030, the city aims to have reduced car miles travelled by 30% to improve conditions for pedestrians and placemaking.

Big Ben, London

Four options are under consideration. The North and South Bridges corridor and The Mound are both set to be closed to all traffic other than public transport and for local access. The Cowgate and the lower part of the Royal Mile would also be closed to through traffic. Other streets in the Old Town will be made pedestrian priority. Later this year, Cowgate will be closed to some or all through-traffic as a trial.

A route for a new tramline is also being proposed. 

The Council have published these proposals on the day in which the city became the first in Scotland to enforce a ban on pavement parking.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said:’ We’re lucky to live in a beautiful, historic city, and Edinburgh’s rapidly increasing population is testament to that. But as our city continues to grow, so too do the challenges posed by congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

‘We need to be bold and move faster if we are to support the people who live, work and visit here to move around the Capital sustainably and safely, while protecting Edinburgh’s unique heritage. By making it easier to walk, wheel, cycle and use public transport we can create better, healthier transport links, supporting net zero 2030 goals and helping to drive down car kms travelled.

‘I know that many people in Edinburgh can’t afford a car or are not able to drive – making it easier for these residents to move around Edinburgh is at the heart of these plans.

‘We’ve learnt lessons form progressive cities around the world who are adopting strategic approaches to redesigning their streets and networks. Reallocating space, where possible, will support transport options designed for everyone, as well as delivering the most attractive and competitive environments for businesses to operate in.

‘The busy city centre presents a real challenge, and we know the public want to see change too – responses to market research undertaken during the Council’s ‘Actions to Deliver Edinburgh’s City Mobility Plan’ consultation in 2023 showed 64% support for investigating more restrictions to through-traffic here. Our proposals for the city centre build on Edinburgh City Centre Transformation to further reduce traffic whilst improving public transport, with short term trial measures to help test the impacts on the wider city.

‘The council has been talking about these types of changes since before I moved here in 1996. It is now listening to residents and busnesses and will be bolder, think bigger and act faster.’



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