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Campaigners urge rethink of planned overhaul of Edinburgh’s Picardy Place

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January 24 2018

Campaigners urge rethink of planned overhaul of Edinburgh’s Picardy Place
 Picardy Residents Association, backed by Zone Architects, Edinburgh World Heritage and the Cockburn Association, have penned an open letter to the City of Edinburgh Council urging a re-think of the latest public realm proposals for Picardy Place.

While welcoming efforts to enhance public space outside St Mary’s Cathedral Playhouse Theatre and Omni Centre, together with provision for segregated cycle lanes, the group voice concern at the continued use of a gyratory traffic management system.

In their letter the group wrote: “Consequently, the proposal does not address sufficiently opportunities to: improve the character of this Gateway to the New Town in line with the best practice requirements of a World Heritage site; create a high quality public place designed around the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, parishioners, visitors and for those for whom this area is part of their local neighbourhood; and reduce traffic pollution in the area.”

As such the group are requesting that the council alternative designs to the planned gyratory before deciding whether to proceed with the current plans.

Councillors believe that the latest iteration of the proposals offer the best hope for meeting the competing needs of citizens with transport convener Lesley MacInnes stating: “What we’re seeking to achieve – and which I believe we’ve managed to do successfully here – is to make the area much more pedestrian and cycling friendly while also ensuring this key junction operates efficiently for our public transport network.”

Approval will be sought for the project next week.

2 Comments

Picardy-wrong place
#1 Posted by Picardy-wrong place on 24 Jan 2018 at 13:11 PM
The revised scheme should be rejected. It's a dogs breakfast of a layout - some of the crossing solutions particularly at the Leith St and Broughton St junctions are terrible, no clarity on the cycle lane widths, no real comfort for the church which continues to have it's lovely front elevation and steps undermined by poor public space planning to the front and a terrible, truly awful triangle of leftover space in the middle of the gyratory which nobody will use unless they want to be choked with fumes.
The scheme should, as everyone knows but which the developer doesn't like, revert to something that loses the traffic connection between Broughton St / Leith St, and instead connects Leith Walk with Leith St and Leith Walk with York Place. A building in the middle triangle would be fine then as a) it has historical merit, b) can help provide some nice cash for the council, with a great potential as a focal point to the top of the walk and c) mean a nice pedestrianised connection between the church and the triangle.
Unfortunately the traffic engineers and developers are working hand in glove to deliver more underwhelming 'public space' as a fait accompli, rewarding the car lobby as they go
Sven
#2 Posted by Sven on 24 Jan 2018 at 20:32 PM
I used to live local to that area and there are issues.

Picardy Place has decent architecture but damaged with some poor facade changes and the screen of trees outside of it to the road. Removing the large trees, planting a Yew or Beech hedge and change the shop fronts have more of a traditional look would really make the area better and more classic.

As a pedestrian, the pavement at the Omni centre gets too wide then too narrow and going down the same area goes from walking up stairs to the Omni to down them. It is also a wind tunnel and has lots of wasted space, even if the pavement type is high quality. The pavement going up towards princes Street quickly shrinks and drops in quality. The road down towards the old town and back end of Waverly feels like a dead end that you are not really meant to go down.

Cross the road over to the Cathedral at Picardy Place and the market was always a welcome treat and made the city feel more like a town, so keep space for that. The area outside is flat and green (and trees have grown too high) but there are no paths or benches to draw people away from the pavement next to the Cathedral so it becomes a bottleneck at times when we could use the whole space better.

The roundabout is just a circle in the ground - a nice sculpture or planting would be better than trying to use the roundabout for pedestrians to walk on 9frnakly who would).

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