Traffic Reduction Trial For Edinburgh Castle

Submitted by edg on Wed, 27 May '09 10.50am

Historic Scotland is to run a 3-week pilot scheme in July to assess new traffic reduction measures for the approaches to Edinburgh Castle. The organisation is keen to make the esplanade and surrounding area more attractive and less-congested by halving coach traffic.

Under the trial, passengers are to be dropped off on the esplanade, and collected at the top of Johnston Terrace.

Other traffic which is not essential to the running or safety of the castle would also be restricted.

Chris Watkins, Historic Scotland head of major projects, said: "We are taking a cautious and consultative approach to developing our plans to reduce congestion and improve the environment on Castle Hill and the esplanade."

"The castle and its approaches through the Medieval old town, which are part of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, are among the most beautiful and historic parts of Scotland and we want to make sure they can be enjoyed to the full.

"A short pilot scheme will run for three weeks in July when coaches will drop off visitors on the esplanade and pick them up again at the top of Johnston Terrace rather than negotiating the increasingly-congested esplanade.

"We originally planned for a two month pilot scheme but agreed to reduce this after listening to various stakeholders' concerns about the current economic situation and the number of roadworks in the capital.

"After the pilot is complete we will evaluate the results and hold further discussions with our partners about the best approach to future traffic reduction and management."

The trial is scheduled to take place from Monday 6 July to Sunday 26 July inclusive, once the council has completed minor preparatory works on Johnston Terrace.

This period has been chosen because preparations for the concerts on the esplanade and for The Gathering, the centrepiece event of Homecoming Scotland 2009, mean the area would already have to be closed to vehicles for part of the time.

Historic Scotland said it would be working with coach operators to trial a scheme where guides pick up their tickets at the bottom of the esplanade, saving an estimated 10-15 minutes and meaning their parties can go straight into the castle with no delays.

Historic Scotland said is unlikely that any permanent measures will be introduced during the current season.