Active travel charity Sustrans have released an “ideas” document outlining their vision for the future of Picardy Place.
The designs show an extended tram line running down Leith Walk with a stop at Picardy Place.
Instead of a huge round-about, traffic arriving at the top of Leith Walk must navigate a cross-roads at the top of Broughton Street.
In these plans Leith Street would be restricted entirely to buses, cyclists and pedestrians, save for vehicle access to the St James Quarter via Calton Road.
The plans provide space for excellent quality public transport interchange facilities on Picardy Place, and seem to elaborate on earlier proposals from the charity that sought to cut the number of buses that use Princes Street. The idea being that good quality integrated public transport interchanges make it far easier to cut the number of “through routes.”
To some these plans may seem radical, but Sustrans do hold some sway at the council.
There are already proposals to do away with the roundabout in its current form, and some form of hotel on the site looks inevitable to accommodate the King James Thistle Hotel whilst the St James Centre is rebuilt, even if locals have reservations about the size of it.
Additionally, the council is to commission investigative work as part of a £300,000 study (half-funded by Sustrans) into how the new dedicated cycle lanes on George Street can be linked with the Sustrans funded lanes which are to be built between Pilrig Street and Picardy Place on Leith, with a view to seeking further match funding from, yes, Sustrans to help pay for any final design proposal.
And of course the council has also been given the green light to borrow £61m from the “not a penny more for the Edinburgh tram” Scottish Government, in order to fund public realm improvements in the area.
Given all this, it would seem that some of the ideas in this Sustrans discussion document might actually fly. What do you think of them?