CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » General Edinburgh

"George Street traffic changes: Have your say"

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  1. chdot
    Admin

    Extra reminder

    It's TODAY (4 hrs only!!)

    "

    The George Street ETRO finishes on September 6 when the street’s layout will revert to that of pre-September 2014. This means both sides of carriageway will be open and the cycle lane removed, as will all marquees and decking.

    The open day will be held at the Roxburghe Hotel tomorrow from 3pm to 7pm, with the drop-in session featuring four themes for George Street: A Civic Place, A Place for Living, A Place for Enterprise and A Place for Movement.

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/transport/george-street-traffic-changes-have-your-say-1-3856095

    So is that "four themes" as in 'need to be put in order of priority'?!

    Posted 3 years ago #
  2. wingpig
    Member

    Where's the hour gone from the start? I was going to pop in a bit at lunch then again a bit later as I need to be home by fiveish. Might just have to take pictures of the stuff then email in thoughts/gripes.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  3. Klaxon
    Member

    There were no real proposals on show, but two ways to give feedback - post it notes on a map and via written letter. Very impressed at the way I was treated. The guy, without prompting, took his own note of what I said and put it in the consultation box. During any equivalent Leith Walk event we have been left to write our own notes. Everyone was being listened to.

    My response could be summed up as 'pedestrianise the lot' (with cycle lanes).

    There was a slideshow of the street from when it was built to the current day. The thing that stood out to me was that there has been no reallocation of space on George St since 1959 when the layout of two vehicle lanes each way and centre parking was established. Incredible.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  4. ih
    Member

    I went and ended up a bit confused as to the purpose of the event. Most of the display boards implied, to some extent anyway, that this was an opportunity to establish "principles" for the future, but when I spoke to one of the team at some length, he said very clearly that the objective of this consultation was to get feedback on the ETRO which has been in place for a year!?

    So I didn't leave any comments but will try very hard over the next few days to email them some considered thoughts on the ETRO, and separately some "principles" for a new look George St.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  5. wingpig
    Member

    There was some quality ironic trolling from an early-arriving Post-It-eschewing attendee:

    Posted 3 years ago #
  6. gembo
    Member

    Was there 5-6.15, spotted Utrecht cyclist, gave him the wink, he looked blank. Spoke to arellcat and PS

    Spoke to bus driver transport consultant. Spoke to Julian in charge from ironside Farrar.

    Left questionnaire stating pedestrianisation as the way forward. Julian confirmed principles is the thing they want. Indeed they want city of Edinburgh to decide what they want to do with the street (pedestrianise it I say)

    Posted 3 years ago #
  7. wingpig
    Member

    There was also a man doing this hilarious routine where he pretended to be an old guy from a residents' association who wanted more balance amongst the statuary, perhaps with an additional statue of "a man of science, or perhaps a man of words" (his gender specification, my emphases) at the Charlotte Square end.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  8. gembo
    Member

    Took quite a strong line with Julian that there are no residents on George St. The consultants had a map which was colour coded and mostly shops, then restaurants and banks. A few public buildings (obviously including masons). But no code for houses. Julian said maybe above the ground floor but then provided his own counter argument as floors above shops are storage as insurance prevents living above shop chains

    Point is, plenty residents turned up, e.g. Guy from Albany street who has a small axe to grind about traffic belonging to other people on Albany St.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  9. chdot
    Admin

    "traffic belonging to other people"

    Nice idea...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  10. UtrechtCyclist
    Member

    @Gembo, sorry for blanking you! I didn't have my glasses and was tired and my lunch consisted entirely of bananas. The third point wasn't entirely relevant there but I had a friend who once did some speechwriting and she told me that it's always good to list things in threes.

    I pretty much agree with Klaxon, it was a really interesting experience and my response was along the lines of pedestrianise the lot. But chatting to people from Essential Edinburgh and the consultants from Farrow was interesting.

    Edinburgh has had as many pedestrianisation schemes that have been seen as failures (Festival Square / South St Andrews Street) as have been successes (Royal Mile, Cowgate). If you want to make a nice space for pedestrians you need to do more than ban the cars (although that may very well be an improvement), you need to bring life to the space. Or at least bring enough people there. Pedestrianising George street would be wonderful for at least four months a year, but we need to make and win the argument that it can be good in the winter months too. 'Build it and they will come' often works, sometimes it doesn't.

    The points were also made that Edinburgh needs to get this right, it has neither the money nor the political capital / patience of shopkeepers for another grand scheme which is perceived as not working and is reversed.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  11. Arellcat
    Moderator

    I spent quite a lot of time reading people's Post-It notes. The comments were very polarised: lots of people saying "Bring back trees!", "Pedestrianise!", "Make the pavements wider!", and lots of other people saying "Bring back the car parking!" and "Get rid of the cycle lanes!" and "No trees, becuse CEC won't clear the leaves!"

    I'm not sure that helps form a useful consensus unless there really is a clear bias in views – which itself quite reasonably will relate to the types of people who made the effort to voice their opinions in the first place.

    Gembo and I noted the slideshow of George Street through the ages, and the insidious domination of the horseless carriage almost as soon as it was invented.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  12. dougal
    Member

    @wingpig What does your first photo say? I'm terrible at reading most handwriting, I would never survive as a pharmacist.

    The danger of pedestrianising George Street are the same problems of the cycle lane as it stands.

    * It's isolated. You can't easily get there and you can't get out again without going through dead zones like South Charlotte Street and St Andrews Square.

    * It's on a ridge. From Leith or the Bridges you reach Princes Street and it's more or less level to get to the West End. It is an imposition to cross Princes Street from the south to get to George Street, or climb up from York Place if coming from the north.

    Maybe all will change when the swirly orange jobby transforms the landscape.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  13. chdot
    Admin

    "If you want to make a nice space for pedestrians you need to do more than ban the cars (although that may very well be an improvement), you need to bring life to the space. Or at least bring enough people there."

    That may be 'true' - or part of the problem of judging success.

    Obviously 'we' might be something of a minority wanting all/most cars banned - certainty removing the centre parking at least, but "life"?

    Recent arrangements in George Street have increased "footfall". Presumably people in Essential Edinburgh know if that's people visiting shops or the tents that are supposed to now be removed permanently.

    Are they expecting tumbleweed or marauding gangs of cutpurses?

    "Edinburgh has had as many pedestrianisation schemes that have been seen as failures (Festival Square / South St Andrews Street) as have been successes (Royal Mile, Cowgate)."

    Well

    So the uniqueness of the RM is a pedestrianised success - that's good. Medieval charm is hard to replicate.

    Festival Square - bland and soulless, quite often cold and windy too - looks a bit too much like the patio of a posh hotel.

    Might have been better if the sculpture/fountain thing had been in the centre.

    Cowgate's part-time pedestrianisation was done for the safety of the punters. No doubt the pubs have benefited, but an exciting public space?? Perhaps...

    (Or maybe they meant the Grassmarket?)

    S St A St - really??

    Perhaps they meant Castle Street. Who thought marble was a good seating material in Edinburgh?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  14. UtrechtCyclist
    Member

    Sorry yes - that was meant to be Grassmarket and Castle Street, my mistake not theirs.

    I wasn't here before these schemes, but I think it's probably fair to say that pedestrianising Royal mile was a big success, Grassmarket worked, Castle Street and Festival Square not so much.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  15. Castle Street doesn't really work because it's not 'really' pedestrianized. It's only the bottom half, and all they did was stick some lumps to the side for people to sit on. Note, 'to the side'. While the surface of the road was changed, it was still clearly kept clear and free. When they do truly pedestrianize it it's for big tents to go up for markets or food stalls, and then everyone starts walking about when it feels more separated.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  16. dougal
    Member

    Is Festival Square a public space? I always assumed it was privately owned by someone around there (the hotel?). Certainly totally soulless.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  17. chdot
    Admin

    "Is Festival Square a public space?"

    Yes

    "I always assumed it was privately owned by someone around there (the hotel?)."

    As probably do most people.

    There have been many 'plans' to pedestrianise right across to the Usher Hall...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  18. wingpig
    Member

    @dougal Can't see Flickr at work and my phone's not connecting, but one was "bring back free car parking to attract high net worth visitors" and the other had a wee dotted line to note a "pedestrian underpass", presumably to stop pesky low net worth pedestrians impeding the high net worth drivers' searches for parking spaces.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  19. PS
    Member

    * It's isolated. You can't easily get there and you can't get out again without going through dead zones like South Charlotte Street and St Andrews Square.

    Really? I've always found George Street very accessible whether on bike, on foot or on public transport. Does a 2 min walk render somewhere isolated?

    Make it an attractive space and people will use it. And this can only be improved by the proximity of the St James, St Andrews Sq/Register St redevelopments.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  20. dougal
    Member

    Thanks wingpig, it was the "high net worth" I was really struggling with!

    Posted 3 years ago #
  21. gembo
    Member

    George Street remains my street of choice for West East travel on days I am coming in from Blackhall, also from Drylaw. Take NEPN up to Wester Coates, then birl along to haymarket. Skirt the Piskie Cathedral, along to Queensferry St, cut through the Registrar's House, round Charlotte Swq and on to George St. Wait a minute who put that pub there. Ah, it is gone, onwards to St Andrews Sq and the good route pover the tram tracks and down to the station.

    Works well going west too, though often I scoot down hill to Tesco at Canonmills and join NEPN there.

    I know the routes so theybpose little problem. THere are some bad speed bumps for the vehicles in front if they are not bikes. The mad diagonal across the roundablut I only use when not rush hour and no traffic to speak of. I also watch the traffic light heading east as you can be stuck in the south side of the street in the bike lane a lot longer dependent on sequence.

    There is no doubt it is an omni-shambles but one I am used to. See also the roundabout at Picardy Place, any street in Ccentral Edinburgh at the moment.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  22. chdot
    Admin

    "There is no doubt it is an omni-shambles but one I am used to. See also the roundabout at Picardy Place, any street in Ccentral Edinburgh at the moment."

    So -

    more or less -

    you accept the way things are in the shambolic this-IS-Edinburgh way where policies are agreed by elected politicians (after years of some serious campaigning/pressure) and, to one degree or another, ignored by too many paid 'servants of the city'

    The city that talks about doing stuff to encourage cycling (as long as it's not the expense of traffic flow).

    Except of course in August.

    Actually it would be nice if the spirit of the Festival lasted all year and more people realised that trying to drive in/through the city centre isn't smart.

    The city - Old Town, New Town, and plenty more - was build before the automobile age.

    Just because (some) people can afford cars and want to use them is not a reason to allow/encourage.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  23. chdot
    Admin

    "

    Some choice exchanges and overheard conversation included snobby opinions on how all the traffic should be moved onto Princes Street because the shops there are very tatty (!). Another grim comment went along the lines of how George Street needs loadsa parking, as posh people will only shop in posh shops if they can have their cars parked outside.

    ...

    I’m a bit fed up feeling belittled because I choose to cycle in my city.

    "

    https://clairecycles.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/my-woeful-george-street-design-consultation-experience

    Posted 3 years ago #
  24. PS
    Member

    The consultant fellow I spoke to (looked and dressed like the boss) seemed very receptive to my talk of pedestrianisation of the central two blocks, making proper use of Assembly Rooms as a proper Georgian set piece, maybe even some flexibility of space that accepted that open urban space is less frequented by folk in the dark days of winter, but which could be subjected to a creeping pedestrianisation over time as the "must park at the door" arguments were exposed as the complete Horlicks that they clearly are... He even buttered me up with a "you've clearly put a lot of thought into this."

    Depends whom you speak to, of course.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  25. gembo
    Member

    Should have posted earlier - George street closed to traffic for two blocks from west end last night. First block cars parked on south side none on north side. Next block no cars either side.

    It was a blast cycling along there.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  26. gembo
    Member

    Went along george street tonight. It is very clear with all the clutter gone. The last section to the west still all coned off to stop parking

    Posted 3 years ago #
  27. chdot
    Admin

    "

    Proposals for the design, lay-out and traffic flows on George Street are still being finalised following a controversial year-long trial which involved a dedicated two-way cycle lane and a one-way system for general traffic, as well as marquees for al fresco dining.

    Does George Street need improved cycling facilities? Picture: Toby Williams

    The public are being invited to give their views at an open day in the Assembly Rooms on Friday.

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/transport/city-divided-over-future-of-george-street-1-3901407

    Posted 3 years ago #
  28. PS
    Member

    Today.

    I'll be going along to stick my oar in again as a New Town resident who works on George Street. Not in a suit today, but we'll see how much respect the tweed jacket elicits from the consultants. ;-)

    Posted 3 years ago #
  29. chdot
    Admin

    Can you go back later without the jacket?...

    Posted 3 years ago #
  30. fimm
    Member

    Oh piffle. I'd got it into my head it was next Friday. I cannot go today. I will have to track down some other way of commenting.

    We went along George Street yesterday evening. Door zone cycle lanes. Lovely....

    Posted 3 years ago #

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