Cars banned from four city streets (but only for a day)

A children's entertainer performs on the car free day staged in George Street in 2003. Picture: Gareth Easton
A children's entertainer performs on the car free day staged in George Street in 2003. Picture: Gareth Easton
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Plans unveiled by the council will see vehicles banished from a residential road in each of the city’s four “localities” on September 25 – taking in the north west, south west, south central and east.

Plans unveiled by the council will see vehicles banished from a residential road in each of the city’s four “localities” on September 25 – taking in the north west, south west, south central and east.

In their place will be a series of community events, markets and “play streets” aimed at creating safer spaces for children.

Similar events have been held in the past – such as on George Street in 2003 and at part of the Shore in 2009 – but council bosses felt a “more organised”, city-wide approach was needed.

In recent years, Edinburgh residents have also been able to temporarily close streets on an ad hoc basis to encourage children to play outside on the street, with a pilot in Clermiston in 2014 hailed a success.

But the scheme came under fire earlier this year after it was revealed attempts to repeat the exercise saw organisers told they would be slapped with bills of up to £1500 to erect barriers and advertise the closure.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “What we want to do is link [the new plan] into play streets, which have previously been arranged in different neighbourhoods and proved a great success amongst local children. We’re hoping to encourage motorists to give up their cars for the day, spending time outside in their communities rather than driving elsewhere.

“As a council we are committed to reducing the number of vehicles on our roads, promoting sustainable and active travel as an alternative.

“Car-Free Sunday will allow us to demonstrate the environmental, social and health benefits this could bring.”

The proposals will see traffic banned from four participating streets between 10am and 5pm – but the roads taking part have yet to be decided.

A report compiled by council officials said Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders would be required to allow the closures to go ahead, with any costs met by the planning and transport budget.

It read: “Some events organised for the closed streets, such as markets, are likely to require the council’s licensing team to consider applications for the appropriate types of licence.

“Advance publicity will be provided, to advise road users and bus passengers of the finalised road closures and any temporary changes to bus routes required to accommodate the event.

“At a weekend, residents and visitors of Edinburgh will have more time to enjoy the benefits of the activities to be arranged as part of event.”

Car-Free Days – encouraging motorists to give up use of their cars for the day – have been held since 1973, becoming more organised in recent decades. Since 2000, European Car-Free Day has been celebrated on September 22.

The latest plans will go before councillors next Tuesday.