This month the council is set to adopt new measures to encourage traders to become more responsible about disposing of their waste, which will hopefully lead to our city centre streets becoming cleaner and less cluttered with waste containers.
The CEO of Essential Edinburgh which runs the City Centre Business Improvement District will be making a presentation to the committee on behalf of city centre business owners. This is in relation to item 7.1 on the agenda which is the proposal by the council to make George Street a one-way street in parts for a trial period. This follows the pilot during the Festival when sections of the street were closed off to allow cafes and restaurants to spill over onto the pavements, which has been declared a success. The new pilot project will also include a two way cycle lane probably down the centre of the street. All measures in the city centre flow from a report commissioned by the previous administration by Gehl Architects which identified the challenges to deal with traffic and pedestrians in the city centre, and which proposed the trialling of schemes to see what works and what doesn’t.
The council is keen to make the city centre a more pleasant place for pedestrians, and less dominated by cars and other motor traffic, partly by introducing a one-way system on George Street and party by ensuring that Lothian Buses make changes to their bus routes so that not every bus comes through the city centre. The proposal is to continue with two way traffic on Princes Street for the trial period of 12 months to assess the impact of the tram line which will commence no later than May 2014. In common with other consultations in the city the consultation carried out earlier this year only attracted around 100 letters and emails from the public.
The committee will also hear that three non-executive directors will be recruited to the board of Transport for Edinburgh (TFE) following the initial appointments of four councillors and four directors from Lothian Buses as reported from the full council meeting last week.
The committee will also hear that there will be a workshop held on 11 November 2013 in Almond Ward to work out options for bus services which will feed into the tram network. The residents of Kirkliston and South Queensferry had complained about the cost of using local buses which is higher than other areas within the City of Edinburgh Council area. Lothian Buses do not serve these areas which have buses provided by First Group.
Other matters to be discussed include the introduction of Alive after Five which is the initiative to bring shoppers to the city centre at Christmas. Part of this will include arrangements to reduce the parking charges to zero after 5:00pm a move which will cost the council just under £50,000 in lost parking revenue. Other streets such as Leith Walk, streets at the West End including Melville Street and the area around Broughton Street will be included in the scheme as well as Albany Street. The latter is a residential street which was badly affected by the rerouting of traffic during the York Place tramworks, and the road surface there is now, in The Reporter’s view (from a bicycle!), badly damaged.
All papers for the meeting are here on the council website and there will be a further report here later.