The proposals, developed by LDA Design and WYG on behalf of the council and sustainable not-for-profit Sustrans, will aim to improve accessibility, prioritise active travel and create “a place to belong”.
The new plans will create wider, clutter-free pavements, car-free areas and a dedicated two-direction cycleway, making George Street safer and more enjoyable for all users.
New plazas and public realm with additional public seating aims to encourage shoppers and visitors to spend more time on the street, boosting trade for the retailers, cafés and restaurants lining the boulevard. This vision of a more sociable George Street has been dubbed ‘Las Ramblas of the north’.
LDA Design director and project lead, Kirstin Taylor, said: “As a ‘Capital Street for a Capital City’, George Street is a significant part of Edinburgh’s history – it is vital that it continues to be at the heart of the city’s growth. We want to create an all-year-round destination, an inclusive place where people choose to spend more time.
“We also want to celebrate George Street’s fine Georgian architecture and make it a more positive environmental experience for people of all ages and abilities.”
The plans have been shaped by extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. Following a series of drop-in sessions, an online survey is now open to test the public’s appetite for change.
Lesley Macinnes, transport and environment convener at The City of Edinburgh Council added: “The concept design aims to create a world-class space that respects and enhances the World Heritage Site. It seeks to make the First New Town a safer and more vibrant area by opening up central places to more people and enhancing the current setting and position of the street’s statues to make greater feature points of them.”