Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 27 August 2020

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting (Construction Phase) via Google Meet on Thursday 27 August 2020 at 5:30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic. ‘TT’ means ‘Trams Team’.

1 Attendance

Robert Armstrong TT Andrew Mackenzie CCTT /LLCC
Mike Birch CCTT/NTBCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC
Angus Hardie CCTT/LL CC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Steve Jackson TT Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Rob Leech TT

2 Apologies

Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Chris Wilson Trams Team

3 Introductions

3.a CCTT

H Tobermann précised CCTT’s position: cautious welcome of this tram project, so long as construction and outcome are to a very high standard and on schedule, with minimal disruption to residents, businesses and visitors, unlike the original project.

CCTT attendees introduced themselves and their concerns about/interests in the project.

3.b Robert Armstrong

R Armstrong noted he has been in post since 17 August. His role is interfacing with other parts of CEC – he has taken on Mike Trotter’s former role. This is his first project of this scale: he has previously worked on the Galashiels flood-prevention scheme, the Borders railway, development quality-control for CEC, roadworks registration in Edinburgh’s north-east locality’s design team. Hence he knows many relevant CEC staff. His qualifications and background are in civil engineering. He wants the trams project to leave a ‘great legacy’. He welcomes queries about the project.

4 Update/queries from CCTT

4.a Unresolved issues arising from diversions, ‘alternative routes’ and (temp) signage in NTBCC area

  • M Birch noted that the signage issue has been resolved, but not others mentioned in the last CCTT/TT meeting and detailed in MB’s subsequent email to TT. He asked whether CEC’s decision against traffic-monitoring prevented TT from undertaking monitoring, despite TT’s sympathy in the previous meeting towards monitoring.
  • R Leech: TT does not have expertise or resources to monitor, so on sight of a motion by Cllr Mowat in favour of monitoring, RL contacted CEC staff who do monitoring. Signage is currently mounted on concrete blocks.
  • It was noted that Cllr M’s motion and the CEC discussion covered the whole new tram-route.
  • C Nimmo noted the increase in traffic as schools have re-opened and people have returned to work, exacerbated by the closure of York Place. She suggested that people will continue to use the routes they find now, rather than using the ‘official’ diversion.
  • Action: RL to delve into what was discussed at CEC. RL and MB to keep this issue live in subsequent meetings.

4.b Feedback from Lothian Buses regarding punctuality and passengers in area

  • Neither TT nor CCTT has received any formal feedback so far.
  • H Tobermann has observed low patronage of buses.
  • R Leech has observed that car-use has increased, compounding the problems mentioned it item 4.a.
  • H Tobermann noted that CCTT wishes the end-result of the programme to be less car-use.

4.c ‘embargo’ area doesn’t seem to inform TMRP decisions

  • H Tobermann noted that there was supposed to be a large area in which roadworks needed TT’s prior approval, but that this is apparently not happening.
  • R Armstrong noted that over the last few months, CEC has realigned itself, leading to some problems contacting appropriate staff about roadworks registration. Hence he has directly contacted the Scottish Road Works Registration team (SRWR) within CEC. SRWR has advised that proposed roadworks in the TT area should come to RA and his colleagues.
    • There should be 3 months’ notice for major works, 1 to 2 weeks’ notice for ‘standard’ work. However, there are many ‘emergency’ works by utility providers which need 24 hours’ notice. It is hard to CEC to reject such works.
    • Action: R Armstrong to supply map of embargo area to CCTT.
  • H Tobermann: how does the Leith St closure fit into this topic?
  • R Armstrong/R Leech: this was done by the St James Centre (SJC) project.The closure was short. There would be no exception from the protocols for SJC.
  • H Tobermann: what about the York Place works?
  • R Leech: this closure will last around 5 weeks. TT knew about this ‘essential closure’ needed for the SJC, CCWEL (cycle-lane) This work is being done now because TT is not currently working in this area.

4.d Some progress on Leith Walk, but not on side streets: ‘wild-west’ parking (double parking, ambiguous disused bus bus bays, missing double red lines): enforcement and additional TTROs needed

  • H Tobermann: who has decided these are ‘historical issues’?
  • R Leech: I observed these issues around 2 years ago, so double-parking isn’t caused by the tram-works. The question is how to deal with it. If it’s occurring consistently, TT needs to know. Hence R Armstrong will soon meet with police.
  • H Tobermann: I understand that this issue isn’t a priority for police, except in emergencies. Traffic wardens need the relevant bays to be controlled in order to ticket double-parkers. Is this being considered?
  • R Armstrong: where are these issues occurring – in side-streets of Leith Walk?
  • H Tobermann: there are reduced parking places in Easter Road, none in Leith Walk, so parking is only available in side streets, leading to lazy double-parking. So can parking controls be introduced via TTROs?
  • R Leech: this might introduce alternative problems.
  • R Armstrong: TTROs cannot introduce new parking-places, only suspend existing ones. TT could introduce double yellow lines, but such removal of parking places is not an easy fix. A review of controlled parking zones is due.
  • Action: R Armstrong to feed back to CCTT from his meeting with police about this issue.

4.e Signalling enclosures still take too much pedestrian space

  • H Tobermann outlined CCTT’s concern: signalling enclosures taking up unwarranted space on pavements, apparently without consideration of pedestrian needs. He has observed instances of this issue with Chris Cameron of TT, leading to slight improvements.
  • S Jackson: signalling kit will be moved as work progresses. Action: SJ to ask contractors to investigate alternatives.
  • H Tobermann: Class One is putting bollards on pavements some distance from kerbs. Can they be nearer to kerbs?
  • S Jackson: these bollards are to prevent driving on pavement. Action: SJ to investigate alternatives.

4.f Progress re queries regarding Lindsay Road, North East Sands, Melrose Drive, Sandpiper Drive and most of NE Ocean Drive

  • J Marlborough: there is still much parking on Lindsay Road, etc, narrowing the road and encouraging pavement-cycling.
  • S Jackson: TT does not plan to implement a cycle-route here. (There was no existing one.) Hence TT will install some Spaces for People signage, while trying to avoid ‘death by signage’.
    • J Marlborough gave details of relevant dangers.
  • Actions: TT to install signs and monitor behaviour. SJ to investigate options/alternatives

4.g Status planning applications for tram stop terminal and Ocean Terminal

  • H Tobermann: how can people engage with the two recent planning applications for these termini?
  • J Marlborough: I received these applications on the closing-date for commenting on them. The Ocean Terminal documentation has now disappeared from CEC ‘s panning portal.
  • S Jackson: the prior approval process (a statutory requirement) involves TT submitting applications for prior approval by the planning authority (PA). The PA then decides whether to consult publicly. TT has only submitted three such applications (for these termini and for South Leith Parish Church wall). An application for the Shore terminal is due.
  • S Jackson: The PA has bounds for deciding whether to accept or reject applications. It ensures that TT works within these bounds, which stem from the Trams Act.
    • J Marlborough: but the Tram Act states that Lindsay Rd terminal works need approval. I am concerned that landscaping and trees do not need approval. (R Leech confirmed this.)

4.h Progress regarding (temp and final) issues outside [redacted building-number] Leith Walk

  • H Tobermann: there has been much correspondence with the owner. TT had said this issue would be solved in August.
  • R Leech: this has been difficult. TT is now writing a comprehensive letter stating its final position, then will meet owner.

4.i More pro-active role for logistics hub staff: deep puddles in logistics area Dalmeny Street; unfinished Scottish Power connection for 2 months

  • H Tobermann: I have escalated the puddle issue 3 times. I was promised it would be resolved but this has not happened. Should the logistics hub not report such issues, and TT then resolve them?
  • Action: TT to take this on. R Armstrong will inspect the issue tomorrow.
  • H Tobermann: the Scottish Power issue has existed for at least two months. This impacts on TT logistics staff.
  • Action: TT to take this on. R Armstrong will inspect the issue tomorrow.
  • H Tobermann: Many pedestrian drop-kerbs have puddles. Can TT at least count these?
  • Action: R Armstrong and H Tobermann to engage separately about this and about empowerment of logistics staff.

4.j Designated loading bays needed in Mcdonald Road and Pilrig Street (or outside Scotmid)

  • H Tobermann: delivery drivers coming from the west are parking haphazardly, so 2 or 3 loading-places are needed. Can these be created under a TTRO?
  • S Jackson/R Leech: TT is educating deliverers and businesses about this, by continually reminding businesses of logistics hubs.Two logistics-hub ‘customer liaison officers’ are walking the ‘beat’ and engaging with errant deliverers and businesses. They report to Chris Wilson of TT.

4.k Poor drainage at pedestrian crossing (by Dalmeny Street) – flagged repeatedly

  • See item 4.i

4.l Triage and follow through of issues reported to helpdesk

H Tobermann: when I have reported issues, it takes a while to even to get reference numbers. I have not heard always received confirmation that issues have been noted or notification that issues have been resolved. It is difficult to send photos of problems to CEC.

4.m Barrow street cleaning and bin emptying seem to have declined

  • H Tobermann: there is much from bins and litter in LCCC’s area, including face-masks.
  • Action: R Armstrong to supply CCTT with statistics on barrow-deployment.
  • J Marlborough: bins on the east of Ocean drive are out of use but people still dump rubbish there.
  • Action: R Armstrong to liaise with CEC waste services about this.
  • H Tobermann: I praise CEC’s former ‘bin-boss’; I am trying to meet with his successor. CEC is introducing a new bin-scheme (smaller, fewer bins, emptied more often).
  • A Hardie: can someone speak with CCTT about these plans?
  • Action: R Armstrong to arrange this, or at least present information

4.n Litter inside heras fencing – flagged repeatedly

  • H Tobermann: litter is making TT work-sites untidy, spoiling TT’s image. There are recent issues about dropped spoil.
  • Action: TT to investigate

5 Update from TT

5.a Progress made and issues encountered since last CCTT/TT meeting

  • S Jackson: Work on Leith Walk, Constitution St, Ocean Terminal and at Newhaven is on schedule. Much of the site is still being worked on by Morrisons (utility contractor), but some has been handed over SFN (infrastructure contractor).
  • No changes to the original schedule are envisaged. TT is confident that the tram project will deliver on time.
  • H Tobermann: what is the status of the TROs for the final design? When can CCTT see them?
  • S Jackson:statutory consultation is due to end very soon. Then comments will be reviewed, then the plans will go to public consultation in September. This consultation will probably last 28 days.
    • M Birch: can CCTT have its own consultation session about these TROs?
    • R Leech: I have no problem a general discussion rather than focusing on minutiae.
    • M Birch: would it help if CCTT outlines its key concerns?
    • R Leech: based on experience, a CCTT/TT meeting about TROs should work well. (S Jackson concurs.)
    • Action: CCTT to add this to September agenda or (ideally) set up a separate meeting.
    • Action: TT to advise CCTT when public consultation will start.

5.b Dashboard (parking enforcement stats: parking attendant hours and tickets?)

  • H Tobermann: the supplied dashboard files do not print well, and there are some unexplained abbreviations. Who creates these files? Can the dashboard files be supplied as PDFs, to minimise issues with visual presentation?
  • R Leech: many people pull data, which then feeds into the dashboard creation IT system. Please ask us about terms.
  • M Birch: the dashboard files should have dates.
  • Action: R Leech/TT to implement this.

5.c Plans for next 30 days: construction, TM measures and TROs

No discussion

5.d Plans beyond (and latest projected completion dates for key phases and overall project)

No discussion

6 Pedestrian space/two-way cycle path on Leith Walk (and ‘quiet’ cycle route Dryden to Balfour)

6.a Update on meeting with Spokes earlier this week

R Armstrong: I and Kris Cameron met with Spokes about this. TT intends to bring out the fence-line for 2 weeks starting 1 September, to enable some excavation. The cycle-lane will become shared-use. Signs will be installed this weekend. The darker blue line on the map shows the planned fence.

6.b Drainage issues (pavement rain water doesn’t discharge over kerb due to raised bike line) – winter freezing

  • H Tobermann: the raised lines between pedestrian and cycle-lanes hold rain-water. Can they be broken so they drain?
  • Action: S Jackson to investigate options.

6.c Plan for next summer – pavement cafes

  • H Tobermann: CCTT is keen to engage with TT in advance of next summer’s use of pavements by cafés.
  • A Hardie: can there be engagement with local businesses around this?
  • R Leech: TT has encouraged engagement with a coalition of Constitution St businesses – this has worked well.
  • Action: CCTT and TT’s Chris Wilson to cover this in the September meeting.

6.d Bike usage count

  • H Tobermann: Can TT gather data on use of buses, bikes and cars? Cf earlier discussion of monitoring.
  • R Leech: TT does not have this data, and will not collect it.


7.a Pedestrian crossings (PXs)

  • A Hardie: PXs on Leith Walk seem quite high-risk both for pedestrians and drivers. Can there be more explicit signage?
  • R Leech: TT has been trying to perfect this via traffic slowing and other measures but there is room for improvement. TT wishes not to install too much signage.
  • M Birch: do PXs stop cyclists where cycle-paths cross PXs?
    • Many attendees: no
    • S Jackson: there are give-way signs on the cycle-path, so cyclists should give way to pedestrians.
    • M Birch: my experience is that cyclists don’t stop, so some improvement is needed.
  • Action: TT to investigate options

7.b Crossing points on Leith Walk

  • H Tobermann: I expected there to be crossing points around every 200m. Can this be done?
  • S Jackson: the number of crossing points is as shown on the traffic-management drawings. Work-sites need to be around 150m long for efficient track-installation. As works finish, the route will be opened.

7.c Discovery Gardens at Ocean Terminal

  • J Marlborough: I reiterate concern from the previous meeting about this garden. I received relevant contact details yesterday, and have emailed to ask (CCing S Jackson) what legal agreement enables changes to these gardens. The police have confirmed there have been no incidents of antisocial behaviour in the gardens.
  • S Jackson: the agreement is that Ocean Terminal decides what happens on its land, then TT delivers this. CCTT/LHNCC can engage with OT about the gardens
  • Action: S Jackson to check his email he has not yet received JM’s email.
  • Action: J Marlborough to resend her email

7.d Trams newsletters

  • M Birch: the TT website says that newsletters will be weekly, but they are fortnightly. Can the website be changed?
  • R Leech: fortnightly is probably better, so TT will update the website

8 Next meeting: 24 September 2020 (then: last THUs of month including NOV)

  • Some TT staff will be away on 24 September, so the date needs to be changed.
  • Action: CCTT and TT to liaise around alternative dates