Summertime Streets – please comment by Friday 8th November.

The Royal Mile, Cowgate, George IV Bridge, Victoria Street and Grassmarket are busy streets.

Until August, when the Festivals fill them to overflowing !

August 2019 was definitely the busiest in Old Town so far.

This is backed-up with figures from the Fringe – their ticket-sales grew again to another all-time high.

The Fringe started as small group that Edinburgh’s original International Festival didn’t want to have anything to do with. Now they are the World’s third largest ticketed event – after the Olympics and the World Cup.

But that’s where the similarities end. While the two sporting events are almost always shared by a number of Cities at the same time, the Fringe does things differently. They shove almost all their venues into just two square miles of Old Town.

The Olympics and World Cup spend £billions on infrastructure. Wouldn’t it be great if the Edinburgh Festivals spent 0.1% of that on Old Town’s infrastructure …. even our home wifi services struggle in August !

Here are OTCC, we thought our City Parents (elected Councillors) had not noticed.

Same old, same old …

But …

… it turns out some of them, were listening after all !

To make life that little bit easier, they introduced Summertime Streets from 28th July to 1st September. Our summary of photos is here

Some things about Summertime Streets went well.

There was more space to walk on pedestrianised streets. Street performers (without amplifiers) helped make some streets more enjoyable. 

There were problems too – buskers with amplifiers and huge groups of observers, claimed large sections of the pedestrianised streets. This left the local shops so much quieter, compared to the Augusts of yesteryear. Some buskers played to midnight, even though the rules say they should all pack up and go home by 9pm.

The Cowgate should have been car-free.

But thanks to Mike, there is so much evidence that lots of cars driving there. Big thanks to Mike for gathering and tweeting lots of information everyday throughout Summertime Streets.

But, no one seemed to be listening.

It wasn’t even clear who we should have been reporting our concerns to in the first place.

Then, a Police Officer was hit by a car.

Still, no-one seemed to be listening. 

There was the re-routed 35 bus. Its usual route was blocked (by the Council?). Then the Council’s transport director waited two and a half months (16th October) to blame the bus company.

Was the bus company at fault?

Or was it the Council?

There were other pressures too.

These were not caused by Summertime Streets .

But Summertime Streets had to deal with the onslaught.

It was the last weekend of the Fringe and the Tattoo. Edinburgh Castle and 2 square miles of Old Town were …. heaving …..

Easter Road and Murrayfield were buzzing

  • Hibernians played St Johnstone
  • Scotland played  France

Lets not forget the nine concerts that descended on West Princes Street Gardens.

Silent Disco, remember them !

Book Festival.

International Festival.

And ScotRail was told the pandemonium at Waverley and Haymarket was all their fault !

People complained.

We were hoping some or all of this would be noted.

But it felt like not much was going to happen.

And how wrong could we have been !

Things started to look up.

We heard the The City of Edinburgh Council was thinking …. of evaluating …. Summertime Streets.

And the good news is the evaluation was confirmed today.

We’ve received an email confirming the evaluation is going ahead. Thank you everyone who made this possible.

So, here are 7 things we want you to do !

The City of Edinburgh Council wants to hear from residents, groups, businesses and other organisations. The want more feedback.

  1. Please respond by Friday 8 November 2019. The number of responses is as important as what the responses say.
  2. Think of what you liked about Summertime Streets
  3. What didn’t you like ?
  4. And how could the things you didn’t like, have been done better ?
  5. Feel free to copy and plagiarise any information from this website or our twitter account
  6. Condense your answers to 2, 3 and 4 above, into about 100 words (more than this is a bonus, but definitely not essential!).
  7. Then email or post them. or Paul Lawrence, Executive Director of Place, City of Edinburgh Council, Business Centre 2.6, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG

The evaluation and recommendations will be included in a report on Festival City Operations.

This will be presented to the Transport and Environment Committee on 5 December. 

The report will be available here from Friday 29 November 2019.

Thank you for sending your views to or Paul Lawrence, Executive Director of Place, City of Edinburgh Council, Business Centre 2.6, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG

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