By 11am on Saturday, Edinburgh’s Royal Mile between Holyrood westwards to St Mary’s Street was blocked by cars, buses, lorries and vans.
This is not unusual and provides an argument for the City of Edinburgh Council to adopt systems used in older parts of Rome – where the city fathers appreciate the fragility of old streets and buildings when faced with modern traffic – and ban all except local residential traffic at times of predictably high traffic density, summer weekends and festive periods.
Tourist pedestrians, cyclists, and through vehicles in the narrow streets and ancient buildings are simply not a happy mix, and the sooner that traffic is restricted on the Mile, west Holyrood Road, Cowgate and East Calton the better.
The only light relief on Saturday was a swivel-eyed loon – a born again cyclist – ascending the Mile on the wrong side of the road in the face of oncoming traffic. He wore a black Lycra top overprinted with a skeleton’s rib cage: a self-fulfilling prediction of his immediate future, I fear … and in case you’re wondering, I was walking on the pavement; when the cyclists allowed me to, of course.
Calton Road, Edinburgh