Submitted by Editor on Fri, 03/06/2016 - 09:50

As last reported here on 10 March, new principles for the layout and uses of George Street have reached an advanced stage. They will go before the Transport and Environment Committee for approval on 7 June. 

That report is available as a pdf at the foot of this page. As far as it goes (precise timetabling, materials, designs and budget are not yet available), we think the document is helpful and admirably clear. We therefore don’t see a need to paraphrase it at length. 


These include ambitions to:

  • re-establish George Street’s primacy as an Edinburgh destination
  • transform it into a multi-functional space for locals, businesses and visitors
  • respect its unique built heritage and rebalance its use to favour pedestrians, cyclists ‘and wider street experiences and activity’ in ways that flexibly express and celebrate the seasonal ‘personality’ of the city
  • phase-in funding, design, construction and management over 6 years
  • spend in the region of £26.4 million–£28.6 million (capital costs) to support top-quality delivery.


Salient proposals include:



  • widening pavements to 7.2m (2.5m static zone closest to buildings for access, window shopping, café culture; 4.7m walking zone)
  • one-way cycleways next to pavements, separated from two-way traffic in the centre by parking spaces for private vehicles
  • gradual phasing-out of parking on George Street with some new spaces being made available on cross-streets
  • an end to non-stopping buses using the route
  • potential for temporary pedestrianisation of entire street sections for events.

We urge readers to take a good look at the document below. If you have questions, tell us and we’ll put them directly to the environmental consultants Ironside Farrar Ltd who were pivotal in collating opinion and formulating proposals.

[Street diagram above: courtesy of Ironside Farrar Ltd.]

Got a view or query? 

Tell us at and @theSpurtle and Facebook




 Janice Johnson What about disabled blue badge patking and taxi drop offs for wheelchairs and disabled people?

 Euan MacGuzzi McGlynn Where are they getting 26 million when they are cutting stair lighting, can't cope with rubbish uplifts etc etc etc.

 Steven Manson Or street cleaning or road maintenance!

 Ian Hardwick Does that mean we can get these establishment wonks off the plinths ? Plenty of Scots heroes to replace them.

 Alan Kennedy In principle this seems positive. Is a wonderful street which is somewhat under-utilised and when it is used it's done in a unattractiveand haphazard way.

 Paul Foley What about commercial vehicles??

 David Adam Done well it looks good but what are the chances of them doing it right?

 Marc Robertson Let's just stop cars driving / no parking / no cycling on George Street and pedestrianise the lot. Have blue badge spaces on the cross streets, Thistle and Rose.

 Reg Reid Off limit to public after 10pm at the weekends?

 Alastair Wright How about westbound cars travelling on the south side and eastbound on the north? Should greatly help east <-> west travel through the city, like it was designed to do.

@theSpurtle £28 million could be spent better in Edinburgh i.e not closing public toilets

 Broughton Spurtle ‏@theSpurtle
Share yr queasy. But well-thought-through George St rethink/refurb could make £££ for wider city. 1st impression positive. @edinspotlight

@theSpurtle @edinspotlight And it seems like they are hoping to do it through the City Deal.

Rhona Stewart Cameron why don't they spend the money upgrading the pavements in the New Town and getting rid of the weeds growing out of them before they start making a mess of George Street.


@theSpurtle The centre of the city is no place for cars, eventually they will be banned.

 Broughton Spurtle ‏@theSpurtle 

Agree, esp in small city centre like Embo's. Will take phased CEC courage/principle/money/charm to effect, but inevitable. @DefinitivePic

@DefinitivePic @CyclingEdin @theSpurtle What about Zero Emission ones?

LadyLeith ‏@zoemeg 

@edinspotlight @theSpurtle It's like spending £30 grand on a kitchen when there's rain pishing thru your roof. Priorities all wrong.


Nicole Roberts Just wondering but what is their obsession with George Street?? It's always George Street they're wanting to improve?! Also.. stop trying to make "Cafe Culture" and Al fresco dining in Edinburgh a thing! Sake..

@theSpurtle That photo tells it all: look at the allocation of space. People walking crammed into pavements; empty cars taking up most room.

 Broughton Spurtle ‏@theSpurtle 
Think you're talking about our overhead view. If so, agree. Current omnipresence of cars will be incredible 30 years hence. @PidginPosting
Pidgin Post Pidgin Post ‏@PidginPosting

@alice_lyall @theSpurtle And changes could begin quickly/cheaply. @JSadikKhan talks about the power of paint/bollards.

Rob Earl ‏@Rob_Earl

@theSpurtle @PidginPosting it's incredible now. First time I was shocked to park so close. Used to ped city centres of other UK cities.

@PidginPosting @theSpurtle It's sad - George Street could be an amazing world-class public space with a bit of imagination & gumption.

@theSpurtle Edinburgh destination? Street experiences? Seasonal personality of the City? Oh spare me! It's a street with shops #calmdown

@theSpurtle has possibilities. But cycle lanes too narrow. Too much emphasis on cars & cafes. Feels sad to lose designed symmetry and JCM

@theSpurtle @edinspotlight Groundhog Day thoughts to me :(

@theSpurtle Not bold enough. Benchmarks cited in report: 3 pedestrianised, 1 semi-pedestrianised, 1 with traffic but no on-street parking.