Traffic-free days begin in Edinburgh city centre

A number of Edinburgh’s city centre streets are being closed to traffic under plans to reduce air pollution.
The city will make history when it becomes the first in the UK to join the Open Streets movement.Streets in the Old Town, including the Canongate, Cockburn Street and Victoria Street, will close from midday until 17:00 on Sunday.The initiative will take place on the first Sunday of every month as part of an 18-month trial.

The initiative has seen cities around the world temporarily close some streets to all but pedestrians and non motorised vehicles on a regular basis.A series of events have been organised to celebrate the launch, including jazz performances in Dunbar Close Garden, Tai Chi on the High Street, electronic bike trials on Victoria Street and the free use of Just Eat hire bikes.

Lesley Macinnes, City of Edinburgh Councils’s transport and environment convener, said: “We’ve seen how successful similar schemes internationally have proved by encouraging active travel, improving air quality and creating a safer, more relaxed atmosphere so I can’t wait to see this take shape in the capital.”Climate change is a real threat to society, it’s clear that we have to act, and Open Streets is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.”

The following streets will be closed to cars and other vehicles between 12pm and 5pm on 5 May:

  1. Blackfriars Street (between High Street and New Skinner’s Close)
  2. Canongate (between St Mary/Jeffrey Street and the west side of Reid’s Close)
  3. Cockburn Street
  4. Cranston Street
  5. Grassmarket (pedestrian zone between West Bow and King’s Stables Road)
  6. High Street
  7. Lawnmarket
  8. New Street
  9. Niddry Street
  10. Old Tolbooth Wynd
  11. St Giles’ Street
  12. Victoria Street
  13. West Bow