Final proposals for Meadows to George Street project unveiled
The final designs for the flagship Meadows to George Street scheme which forms part of Edinburgh’s City Centre Transformation have now been published.
The Meadows to George Street (MGS) project will overhaul conditions for walking, wheeling and cycling on some of Edinburgh’s busiest and most iconic streets, as well as enhancing public spaces. Changes along the route via Teviot Place, Forrest Road, George IV Bridge, the Mound and Hanover Street will be made in a way which respects and enriches the World Heritage Site.
Plans include segregated cycleways, wider pavements and pedestrian priority areas and have drawn on feedback received through various stages of public and stakeholder engagement since 2018. Construction work is scheduled to begin in early 2024 and once complete, MGS will integrate with the forthcoming George Street and First New Town (GNT) scheme at Hanover Street, which is scheduled for a construction start later in 2024.
Following the last public consultation carried out in 2019, some amendments have been made to designs. Amongst these, the two-way cycle track at Hanover Street is changing to one-way cycle lanes on either side of the road to better tie in with the proposed George Street junction under GNT. A bus gate is also being introduced on Market Street to reduce through-traffic in the area, while footways along the route have been widened further and a new safe cycle crossing over Princes Street tram tracks has been added.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener, said: “The transformation of Edinburgh’s city centre will lead to a truly connected, people-friendly place to live, work and spend time in. The Meadows to George Street project is one of the first steps to achieving this, as well as supporting our net zero goals by promoting sustainable travel, so it’s really exciting to see the final designs.
“We’ve worked hard over recent years to develop proposals which balance the needs of all those who use the street while prioritising safe and accessible travel by foot, wheel or bike. These plans provide a snapshot of how the route will look and operate in the near future, as part of our broader ambitions for the city.”
Councillor Karen Doran, transport and environment vice convener, said: “Our plans for Meadows to George Street are key to creating a Capital fit for the future, where healthy, active and sustainable travel is supported, and public spaces are opened up for socialising and relaxation.
“This is one of many projects to transform the way we use our city centre and I look forward to seeing it progress in the coming years.”
The MGS project is principally funded through Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme, via Transport Scotland. This links in with other major Places for Everyone projects in Edinburgh, including the GNT project and City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL) which is already under construction.
Simon Strain, head of programme, Places for Everyone, at Sustrans, said: “Sustrans have been working closely with The City of Edinburgh Council over the last few years to ensure designs for the MGS project meet the wants and needs of the people of Edinburgh. It’s great to see the final designs for the MGS project now shared.
“Once complete, the MGS project will make walking, wheeling, and cycling across Edinburgh city centre a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, connecting the Old Town to the New Town like never before.”
By transforming walking, wheeling and cycling through the busy heart of Edinburgh, MGS will make it easier and more attractive for people to choose travel by foot or bike as part of their everyday journeys. Improvements to the streetscape will create a safe, vibrant place for people to live in and for all to enjoy.
MGS will be central to the broader transformation of the city centre, which will reshape Edinburgh by significantly improving public spaces and prioritising movement on foot, by bike and by public transport. It will connect to several other major schemes already underway or in development, such as CCWEL, Meadows to Union Canal and, with cleaner air and a more a more pleasant and attractive city centre to spend time in, the Low Emission Zone.