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Vicki Butler-Henderson: Are car-free cities the way forward?

Victoria Street, Edinburgh.
Victoria Street, Edinburgh.

Like many parents with children of school age, I am pretty much held to ransom when we can get away as a family.

We’re currently enjoying the Easter holidays and that means we can go – now!

I wasn’t quite brave enough to book abroad, and I’m actually so glad I felt that way because my cautious approach led us to be wowed by a city I haven’t been to since I was at school – Edinburgh.

Vicki’s view of Edinburgh.

It welcomed us on our first morning with a rainbow straddling the older houses of Leith Walk.

Staying close to the Playhouse (which, incidentally, hosts one of my teenage pin-ups, Marti Pellow, on Easter Sunday), we ventured out to explore the capital city.

And, using my name as an initial guide, we headed to Victoria Street and joined the throng of sightseers snapping pics of all the creative colours and curves there.

With my driver’s hat on I know how wonderfully convenient it is to park right outside a shop door, rather than in a multi-storey

It’s so lovely! And we topped things off buying tartan from the other bits of my name, Butler and Henderson.

We saw so much of this vibrant city and we did it all on two feet rather than on four wheels, which is what many cities are hoping for in their future.

The Henderson tartan is something to be proud of.

Edinburgh too, is looking at ways to reduce emissions.

With my pedestrian hat on, that’s good news for everyone – especially young children whose lungs are closer to cars’ exhausts.

With my driver’s hat on though, I know how wonderfully convenient it is to park right outside a shop door, rather than in a multi-storey which inevitably means a more time-consuming trip.

All these different points of view highlight, perfectly, how tricky it is to please every one with a single council-made traffic plan

And with a shop owner’s hat on, the easier it is for people to come in, the more the tills will ring.

And then there are people who live in the centre and need constant access, as well as vehicles required to re-stock shelves, move large equipment, and build structures.

All these different points of view highlight, perfectly, how tricky it is to please every one with a single council-made traffic plan.

The future is four-legged

Are horses and carts the way forward for city centres?

And that’s before you consider the issue of noise – or lack of it, when near-silent electric vehicles are added to the mix.

So I’ve come up with a proposal that should suit everyone, and make many smile along the way. Its power is still measured by horses – it’s a pony and trap!

A whopping great big clip-clopping fleet of them.

And of course, the seats will all be trimmed in my Edinburgh-bought tartan.

You Tube: The CAR Girl Vicki Butler-Henderson
Twitter: @vb_h
Instagram: vickibutlerhenderson

Vicki Butler-Henderson: Exploring the joys of Highland driving

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