Oh come on Edinburgh, we can do much better than this. Here’s a series of pictures taken on my mobile on a wet, unwelcoming Saturday in the middle of the world’s biggest arts jamboree. Elsewhere the festival goes on but in the middle of what is supposed to be the city’s first pedestrian space, the car takes centre stage.
Missing a trick: Edinburgh’s first ‘pedestrian street’ was chosen at least partly for the fantastic view. So why are all these cars allowed to get in the way? And why not use the bollards to stop them?
Poor Castle Street, the city’s first attempt at a pedestrian precinct – Rose Street doesn’t really count – seems a world away from the warm welcome of Perth’s car free town centre (see Streetwise Perth).
In a critical report in the Evening News (where else?), Edinburgh World Heritage recently claimed that the street is unwelcoming because it’s covered with the wrong paving material. If only Edinburgh City Centre Management ( see Capital Streets) had gone for warm sandstone instead of chilly Caithness stone, this space would have been much more welcoming. The argument seems to miss the point about public space. It’s people not stone that bring streets to life. But first you have to stop cars invading the space.
With great irony, an environmental campaign seeks public pledges to change the world. How about: get those cars off the (pedestrian) street.
The space is managed by City of Edinburgh Council which now has power to prevent cars parking in Castle Street. Parking restrictions came into force on August 8. These pictures were taken on August 11.