IT IS hard to recall now what the heart of the Royal Mile was like before it was handed over to pedestrians a decade ago.
Outwith the Fringe, it was as thronged with buses, taxis and cars as the rest of Edinburgh’s flagship thoroughfare is now.
Even during August, a traffic ban is a relatively new concept. The first trial, over three days in 1996, was reluctantly agreed by councillors at the time after being suggested by Hogmanay organisers Unique Events. But the undoubted success of the full High Street closure, which takes effect after 10:30am to allow businesses to load and unload, is being touted as a key reason to expand the venture elsewhere on the Royal Mile.
With the tram project still causing widespread disruption, some may view an overhaul of the Royal Mile as a step too far. The council, pilloried for its stewardship of the Royal Mile, faces challenges winning support for its plans – not least from tour companies and the city’s taxi drivers.
But extensive consultation over the summer and pledging to implement most measures on a trial basis may be enough to see them go ahead.