December 2009

Plans for Exchange 2 [Dewar Place etc]

A masterplan is being drawn up for the area between Dewar Place, and the Conference Centre square.

This will be a massive development, incorporating shops, housing, offices, etc, and will include new open space on top of the existing West Approach Road.

Spokes has only been notified of the consultation very belatedly.   It is now officially closed, but in view of the lack of notification they are accepting comments for the next few days.   There will be another opportunity to comment once the masterplan itself comes out and when planning applications are submitted.

If you use this area and wish to comment, please send your points by first thing Monday 14th to

If you comment, it’s particularly valuable to say why your suggestions would be useful for the type of journeys that you personally make in this area.

The document for comment is at

The main points made by Spokes are…

a. Development Principle DP1 in the consultation document states that “the development will … create new pedestrian and cycle links through the site.”   However, the actual proposals include only pedestrian links.   This is oh so frequent in such masterplans!

b. There is currently a severe lack of north-south links in this area.  Lothian Road is fast and useful for many, but also quite frightening for many.  The official offroad route from the canal through the new developments and to Rutland Square (which should be fully signed next year) is badly designed for shared use in parts, and at Rutland Square entails cobbles, one-ways and poor entry/exit.   Therefore the new development should include a cycle connection from Morrison St/ Conference Square to Canning Street.   We appreciate this is tricky because of levels and restricted space, and might have to involve a ramp – if so, the ramp should be as direct as possible and well designed for shared use.

c.  Similarly west to east between Haymarket and Conference area could be greatly improved, with a connection through the new site (ideally with eventual 2-way cycling in Torphichen St, though that would be up to the council).  Again, we appreciate this is tricky because of levels and restricted space, and might have to involve a ramp as above.

d. An option they show is to re-route Dewar Place through the vacant sites at the west edge of Dewar Place.   We pointed out that would give useful scope to reduce the gradient, to allow 2-way cycling, and to give a better connection to Gardners Crescent.

e. We also commented on bike parking, the possibility of a European style ‘fietspoint’ or ‘bike hub’ with staffed parking, bike hire, repair, etc.

Comments are closed.