Sustrans have welcomed the opportunity to examine the latest developments to the designs for Picardy Place, Edinburgh.
We understand that the City of Edinburgh Council is bound by Growth Accelerator Model (GAM) to create a gyratory junction for Picardy Place, and that departing from this concept would constitute a breach of the GAM, and risk loss of a significant amount of funding.
On 20th November, CEC invited Sustrans to a stakeholder engagement session at City Chambers to give feedback on the latest iterations of the design. The meeting was well attended and facilitated and allowed a number of concerns to be aired from people representing a wide range of stakeholders, and people who spoke on behalf of the local community.
Sustrans appreciates the complex challenge of developing a design that is successful at many competing demands. However we remain unsupportive of the gyratory concept because we feel it does not adequately balance the pressure of traffic, with the opportunity to create a successful, quality public space and transport interchange.
Edinburgh is seeing an exciting trend towards more cycling, underpinned by excellent investment and commitment to active travel. The city has also undertaken many ambitious cycling projects including the East to West cycle route that will link up with the Leith Walk cycle infrastructure.
Currently, and under the proposed designs, Picardy Place would be a weak link between these projects, and cycle infrastructure along Leith Street. Given the context of the GAM, Sustrans thinks that any potential development for the junction-centre should not be delivered until the gyratory is removed, either leading to, or in response to a reduction in through traffic.
In 2014, we developed an outline concept design that pulled together many aspects: placemaking; simple, direct crossings for people on foot; intuitive cycling infrastructure; and a quality public transport interchange between buses, trams and taxis. In essence, we would like to see Picardy Place become a destination in its own right, in addition to being a through route.
This would work as a part of a wider strategic approach in City of Edinburgh Council to encourage modal shift towards more active forms of travel.
To this end, Sustrans would support any initiative by City of Edinburgh Council that supports Edinburgh in joining global cities reducing dependency on the private car and putting people at the heart of placemaking.