Leader: ‘Princes Street must adapt to survive’

IT was Jan Gehl’s paper on the centre of Edinburgh that branded Princes Street a “big bus station”. Few people who live in the Capital would fail to recognise that description.

Princes Street – a dual carriageway of traffic running through the heart of our city – needs change.

And now we have the blueprint from the council which advocates change to coincide with the introduction of trams in summer 2014.

The overarching idea is to make both Princes Street and George Street much more attractive places for pedestrians and shoppers and to therefore attract a more diverse range of businesses to the area.

By banning traffic from the north side of both streets, there is an opportunity for pavements to be widened; for bars and restaurants to spill onto the sunnnier side of the street; and for new businesses to open.

And, of course, pollution will be cut.

On George Street there are similar benefits on the north side, although the south side will see an increase in bus numbers and possibly greater congestion.

Those who complain should 
perhaps remember that the heart of a city is for living in, not for driving through.

Sensibly, recognising previous disasters, the current administration will look to trial the scheme for one year.

Barring major problems, only them will pavements be permanently extended and new street furniture brought in.

The city centre needs to change. For years it has lagged begins other cities in what it can offer residents and visitors. And now, as the internet changes the way we shop and forces the high street to consider a new model, we must adapt to survive.

This is a positive step on that long journey.

Football has the city at fever pitch

the Edinburgh Street Football Festival sounds like a sure-fire winner.

Offering a helping hand to young people who have had some tough breaks while indulging our greatest sporting passion is a great idea.

The Homeless World Cup – a 
global success story with its roots firmly in Edinburgh – has shown what is possible when you combine the two.

And what better venue for a summer festival of football than Princes Street Gardens.

They are one of our greatest treasures, but we just don’t make the most of them.

Anything that brings more people into the Gardens to enjoy themselves has got to be a good thing.