The scheme was introduced in 2005
Some Decisions Reversed
The text in green below has been added,
following an Edinburgh council meeting held on 17 November 2005 which
reversed some of the changes introduced under this scheme.
- The main proposal restricting eastbound traffic
on Princes Street during the day to buses, taxis and cycles, remains in
- However some of the restrictions and road
closures in George Street and other parts of the New Town have now been
The current arrangements (including the temporary
changes made a year ago in response to opposition to the original plan)
are to be made permanent. This decision follows a year-long review.
Edinburgh Evening News: November 22, 2006, p.9
What was Planned?
Following several years of planning ending with a public inquiry in 2003, the Central Edinburgh Traffic
Management (CETM) scheme was recently implemented. It was
implemented in between May and October 2005 at a cost of £3.2m
purpose of this scheme is to control the flow of traffic in the centre of
click on the aerial view below to see the area most affected by these
Edinburgh New Town
Major elements of this scheme are:
- to separate buses and cars travelling
east and west, the buses using Princes Street and cars using Queen Street
- to make George Street, St Andrew
Square and Charlotte Square more pedestrian-friendly by reducing the
amount of traffic in these areas.
- to close several streets to through
traffic, and restricting others to buses and taxis only; particularly the
streets between Hanover Street and Broughton Street to reduce the amount
of traffic in these residential streets in the New Town.
The scheme was criticised as
being confusing, with poor signposting.
Most confusing were:
- Restrictions on eastbound traffic in Princes Street.
More signposting was added and this part of the plan
now seems to be operating smoothly.
- Restrictions on traffic in Queensferry Street
More signposting has now been added.
- New traffic lights around the statue at the George Street
/ Hanover Street junction.
UPDATE: These lights at George Street are to be removed.
The Police said that there
were certain aspects of the scheme that they did not intend to enforce
until signposting improved. (It has now improved.)
Income from parking on the
streets in the centre of Edinburgh has fallen in recent months
(2005) and this has been attributed to many
motorists staying away from the centre of the City since the new traffic
arrangements came into force.
The real problems arose when
the final stage of the scheme was introduced in mid-October. These
changes restricted traffic in many of the roads in the New Town residents,
shoppers, businesses, taxi drivers and the AA and opposition councillors
have all raised objections.
Aspects of the final phase causing particular concern were:
- Bollards operating part-time at the Frederick Street/ George
UPDATE: Restrictions at Frederick Street are to be removed, and
the bollards will not operate in future, except perhaps on special
occasions when the road needs to be closed.
- Restrictions on exits from St Andrew Square.
UPDATE: Exit from St Andrew Square by North St David Street into
Queen Street is to be allowed again for all vehicles.
- Restrictions on many of the streets between Dundas Street
Street / Rodney Street, particularly at the London Street Drummond
UPDATE: The London Street / Drummond Place junction is to be
opened again to all traffic. So none of the signs or road markings
below will be needed.
However, other road closures in the New Town between Dundas Street and
Broughton Street / Rodney Street will have to be left in place for a
further 18 months because the legislation will not permit their removal
earlier unless the junctions are classified as 'legally unsafe'.
These closures were criticised for cutting off natural routes,
e.g. Broughton to Stockbridge. Many motorists have been disregarding
the 'no entry' signs at this junction.
The road signs in the New Town, many of them temporary,
have been criticised as being unattractive and inappropriate for the New
Town, a World Heritage Site. More than 1,000 new signs have been
erected in the city centre to explain the changes!
UPDATE: As a result of the changes announced in November 2005,
many of these temporary signs can now be removed.
The council has promised a
full review of how the scheme is working, but not until March 2006!
This review was in fact brought forward
and held 0n 17 November 2005, resulting in the changes shown in green on
Evening News Campaign
The Edinburgh Evening News, on 4 November 2005, invited readers
to register their objections to the recently introduced changes to traffic
flow in the New Town by joining its 'Get It Sorted' campaign.
The paper said that it would forward all objections received to the
The Edinburgh Evening News reported that almost 1,000 readers had
supported their campaign in the first three days.
'U turn' by the Council
Five days after launching its campaign, Edinburgh Evening News had the
headline on 9 November:
"Victory as News forces council to reverse city centre traffic plan
so how much has this shambles cost?"
The News reported that the council had agreed to bring proposals
to the next council meeting to reverse several of the changes that have
recently been introduced.
The council leader, Donald Anderson admitted:
"My view is that a lot of the technical advice we were given
about the proposed changes and the impact they would have has proved to be
Things are worse now than they were 12 months ago and it has been
It is expected that within a week:
- Retractable bollards at the Frederick Street / George
Street junction will be lowered
- Several roads between Dundas Street and Broughton Street /Rodney
Street will be re-opened, unless there is significant opposition from
- The North St David Street junction will be re-opened to provide
an exit for cars from the north-west corner of St Andrew Square.
- The traffic lights at the George Street / Hanover Street
junction will be removed.
- A left turn from Randolph Crescent into Queensferry Street will
The other changes predicted above were agreed at the City of Edinburgh
Council Meeting held on 17 November 2005. In particular:
1) Restrictions on vehicles leaving George Street and entering St
Andrew Square and Charlotte Square.
2) Routes through the New Town between Dundas Street and
Broughton Street / Rodney Street will be re-opened, but possibly not for
another 18 months.
UPDATE - DECEMBER 2006
In fact one route through the New Town is to remained closed. The
closure of Cornwallis Street/Summerbank (exit from N New Town to
Rodney Street) will continue. The residents' associations, and the
community council, objected to the proposals to re-open it. This
closure was confirmed by the Council in Dec 2006.
Sources for the details above include my
own observations and the following newspaper articles:
Herald & Post: 3 November 2005, p.12.
Edinburgh Evening News: 3 November 2005,
4 November 2005, p.10.
5 November 2005, p.5
7 November 2005, pp.6-7, 14-15, 21
8 November 2005, pp.4-5
9 November 2005. pp.1, 6-7, 12, 14-15
Edinburgh Evening News: 18 November 2005,
19 November 2005, p.7