Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 27 September 2018

(NTBCC apologises for slightly delayed publication of these minutes. This was caused by waiting for a response from the trams teams to some queries about the content. If you have any queries about these minutes, please contact NTBCC, preferably via our contact-us page.)

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, held in Leith Community Education Centre on Thursday 27 September at 6:00pm

Actions and decisions are red italic.


CCTT = Community Councils Together on Trams TfE = transport for Edinburgh
CEC = City of Edinburgh Council TN = Trams to Newhaven project
CPZ = controlled parking zone TRO = traffic regulation order
SPC = swept-path contract, TT = trams team
TAPOG = CEC’s tram all-party oversight group

1 Welcome and introductions

1.a Attendance

Charlotte Encombe CCTT/Leith Central CC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT/Leith Links CC
Angus Hardie CCTT/Leith Links CC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Rob Leech TT/TN project director (Anturas Consulting) Harald Tobermann CCTT/Leith Central CC
Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/Leith Harbour & Newhaven CC Darren Wraight TT/CEC

1.b Apologies


2 Update from CCTT

2.a Constitution Street: feedback from CCTT meeting of 24 September

  • It was noted that there was no formal representative of Constitution St (CS) residents at the current meeting, but that A Mackenzie lives there and is able to represent CS residents’ views.
  • HT noted
    • That CS residents had requested the meeting of 24 September. There were 6 or 7 residents from south CS, plus D Wraight, Steve Jackson and H Tobermann (on behalf of CCTT).
    • CS residents have some individual concerns/positions on TN.
    • One of these concerns is that about 200m of CS should have a single-track line. H Tobermann added that this will still necessitate 2 lanes: one for trams, one for other traffic. HT is concerned that the pros and cons of various layouts have not been fully considered.
    • Action: D Wraight to send A Mackenzie a detailed response/explanation about interlaced tracks, including road widths.[1]
    • Action: CS residents to comment individually or collectively once this detail is available.
  • R Leech explained the difference between interlaced tracks and single-track.[2]
    • RL stated that the main issue here is not single-track v interlacing but that both of these cause perturbations because trams travelling in opposite directions on either layout will need to be controlled so that there is only 1 tram on the single or interlaced section.
    • A Mackenzie added that CS residents generally believe that CS is the wrong route for the track: CS is too narrow to accommodate trams, buses, pedestrians and general traffic. They are concerned over safety, accessibility, functionality and habitability if trams are introduced to CS. Hence some CS residents are considering moving away.
    • H Tobermann noted that despite his keen interest [that TN must be done optimally], he had not understood what interlacing means. Hence TT should supply drawings explaining interlacing and its implications to concerned groups.
      • D Wraight reiterated his commitment to the action noted above, including drawing ‘tracks’ on the street, if desired.
    • H Tobermann recalled his experience of a German town in which trams ran through narrow streets. In this case, the trams were along one of the main shopping streets[3], and level pedestrianised frontage to frontage like Rose Street. Hence trams in this section go about walking speed. Elsewhere in the same town, there were single tracks but these were one-way only. That is, for example, the north-bound route would be on one street while the south-bound route would be on a parallel street.
      • R Leech responded that Dublin’s tram-route uses this layout. He could not comment on cost implications of such a layout. However, he stated that there are major safety concerns with both interlaced and single tracks: other road-users may not understand which way trams are going, especially if mixed with general traffic.
    • H Tobermann suggested that residents’ needs and wishes should have some priority.

2.b Feedback from other areas

2.b.1 Stevedore Place

J Marlborough reported that changes had been agreed to allow people to turn right out of Stevedore Place’s westerly access. (This was confirmed by D Wraight.)

JM also stated that the Tram Act requires single-track across the Victoria bridge, but that plans show double tracks here.

Action: R Leech/TT to check whether there is a legal requirement for single-track

3 Update from Tram Team

3.a ISC tenders

R Leech stated that evaluation of tenders is under way. He is evaluating quality of tenders, and so has no involvement in prices due to EU directives. The preliminary outcome will be discussed with TN board next week. A further update will be available within the next 2 weeks.

3.b Business Support Package (BSP) consultation: preliminary response rate/feedback

D Wraight noted that BSP had received very positive feedback from, e.g. the federation of small businesses. TT re-leafleted a week after consultation launch, giving a leaflet to every business, to try to get more responses. As of the end of week, there had been only 21 responses. On Wednesday, TAPOG asked for a 14 day extension to the consultation because there are 460 businesses that may be affected. The response rate for small businesses is currently 11%. TT anticipates that response rates will improve closer to the consultation close.

DW stated that the consultation is to ascertain how individual businesses feel about the BSP for themselves, and about how it would also support the wider community. The top 3 wishes for businesses themselves so far are

  1. local guides
  2. business continuity fund
  3. business development champion.

The top 3 for the wider community are

  1. local guides
  2. business continuity fund
  3. rates reduction.

H Tobermann asked whether CCTT could submit a response to this consultation.

  • D Wraight asked that CCTT’s response is emailed to him and R Leech, rather than submitted via the consultation hub.

There was discussion of whether responses had only been received via the hub, or also by email, and whether the link to the consultation is visible enough.

It was suggested that business owners may not have responded to the consultation because they do not live in the area, may not make the effort to keep informed, and may be affected by ‘roadwork fatigue’ causing lack of interest.

D Wraight stated that TT has tried to understand businesses, e.g. leaflets were sent out about logistics hubs, TT staff went from door to door during the first consultation.

  • In response to a question about the languages used in consultation and other TN outputs, D Wraight stated that CEC policy is for leaflets to have a section stating ‘for further information [including other languages], contact …’ and that TN/TT would comply with CEC policy on translation
  • It was strongly suggested that all TT/TN communications should be fully, immediately available in relevant languages.
  • D Wraight emphasised that the BSP is to support businesses that struggle [during tram construction] and to help with continuity, not to compensate or subsidise businesses in general. He agreed that this needed to be clear.
    • DW added that TT has received many supportive emails, some from businesses unexpected to favour TN.
  • C Encombe emphasised that TT needs to explain fully and clearly to businesses what will happen during construction, e.g. changes to road layout, positioning of bins and parking, so that businesses can take informed positions.
    • R Leech responded that TT had done much engagement, including full explanations of what would happen during construction, and thoroughly-advertised business-only events, which were unfortunately not well attended.

R Leech stated that there had been little support so far for community arts and markets in the business consultation. This may be because art is not seen as directly contributing to businesses. It may also be due to misunderstanding – TT does not intend to replicate Stockbridge market in Leith Walk, but to enable Leith Walk traders to trade at markets away from their shops. It may be that TT needs to clarify this. It was noted that such markets may not suit all Leith Walk businesses.

Actions: D Wraight to email link to this consultation to B Ryan; B Ryan to advertise this on LCCC, NTBCC and LHNCC websites.

Action: when working towards greater response rates, TT will give businesses refreshers of what is likely to happen.

3.c Indicators for business mix and health prior to construction

H Tobermann requested evidence that TT fully understands businesses in the TN area, e.g. exact numbers of businesses, paths, numbers of each type of business, numbers of ‘ethnic businesses’. He also stated that there should be evidence that TT work would maintain the current mix of independent businesses.

3.d sketch plans of logistics hubs and parking/loading areas during construction

D Wraight stated that

  • 14 hubs are planned. They would vary (e.g. some may have refrigerated containers) according to needs relevant to each hub. However, most will consist of a container and a ‘welfare unit’. They will be permanently staffed, and there will be other staff managing parking at each hub. Hubs will be sited on Leith Walk and Constitution St as far as Ocean Drive.
  • They are separate to parking and loading bays, but hubs will be associated with parking, including disabled parking.
  • There will be three temporary car-parks that will move up and down Leith Walk [10]as work progresses.
  • Loading from businesses will take place at hubs. TT will ensure that there are appropriate staff, facilities, insurance etc.
  • TT are already gathering relevant requirements from all businesses. They have had a ~25% response-rate so far for this.
  • Home deliveries can be done by shop staff walking from their shops to their delivery vehicles parked in the car-parks.
  • If people wish to deliver things, e.g. parcels to post-office, they can take them to the hub, which will then deliver them.

Action: DW to circulate to CCTT in confidence drawing of logistics hubs

4 Preview of consultation 2 (‘final design’): ‘you said, we did and why’

See also the updated maps on the consultation hub. Please note that blue text is about items that have not changed since the original consultation.

It was noted that the plans discussed in this section are working (i.e. potentially slightly incorrect) drafts, and that final (corrected) versions will be put into the second public consultation, which starts on Monday 1 October.

R Leech and D Wraight reported

  • On the first sheet (Newhaven terminus), the east bound bus stop has been moved directly next to the tram stop to enable an interchange.
  • The shared use (pedestrian/cyclist) lane will continue onto Melrose Drive.
  • Hawthornvale path will have a new connection added taking cyclists and pedestrians directly to the Lindsay Road Toucan Crossing
    • J Marlborough raised concern about how to access housing between Commercial St and Victoria Quay.
    • Currently residents utilise the roundabout south of Ocean Terminal to turn due to a banned right hand turn heading north bound on Ocean Drive.
    • Action: D Wraight to check further into details, residents to raise concerns via consultation
  • There is a change to allow access into Stevedore Place.
  • There will be a further signalised junction to enable access into the Cala and S1 Skyliner development.
  • There was discussion over where the Tram Act mandates single track.
  • As a principle junction corner radii will be reduced where possible with the installation of a raised table or continuous footway to comply with the Edinburgh Street Design Guidance There was concern over narrow footpaths, and increase in population due to the new housing developments.
  • Tram stops are now fixed.
    • There was little feedback on tram-stop positions in consultation 1.
    • The cost of extra stops would mostly lie in their effects on timetables, rather than in their construction.
    • There was discussion of whether Edinburgh’s needs and the issues trams are supposed to address (e.g. development in NW Edinburgh) have changed since the Tram Act 2006, and the complexity of the demand model.
    • H Tobermann stated that he had received a heat-map of access to public transport (distance to bus/tram stop) in Edinburgh.
    • R Leech stated that if more stops are introduced, trams run slower and hence lose passengers. Experience suggests that 400m – 500m between stops is optimal.
    • Action: R Leech to check whether population heat-maps can be published to explain tram-stop positions.
  • The Bernard St and Baltic St junctions will change to match the desire line. They will be signalised junctions
  • There was concern over bus stop numbers and positions on Constitution St.
    • Action: R Leech to check asap with Lothian Buses – there may be mistakes on the current draft plans.
  • The options for Constitution St are, following advice from TAPOG and concerns about ‘rat-runs’:
    • Option A is the original design plus a general traffic restriction through peak hours.
    • Option B is to realign the tram tracks to the west side of the street, this will reduce the west footway to a hard standing of approximately 900mm on the east side it will allow for a shared use footway / loading bay . In peak hours this will provide a footway in the region of 4m and in the off peak hours it will provide a footway of a minimum 1.8m and a loading provision. This option will also have a general traffic restriction during peak hours
    • Concerns were raised by CCTT members over e.g. access, number of people parking on Sundays to attend church, and there was discussion of ownership of various significant properties and of listed buildings in the area.
    • H Tobermann suggested that these options need to be properly publicised.
  • Concerning Leith Walk:
    • In the original plans, Leith Walk would have had two lanes in both directions.
    • However consultation showed that this would have lost ‘active travel’, and in general 2 lanes was not suitable here.
    • Two detailed workshops as part of the initial consultation led to 1 lane in each direction, shared by tram, bus and general traffic, with segregated cycle provision all along both sides of Leith Walk.
    • There was much concern about lack of permeability of Leith Walk, i.e. difficulty in crossing the road. Hence the central reservation will now be wider (1·8m), so it can be split to provide refuges and uncontrolled junctions.
    • Bus-stops must now be off the single tram/traffic lanes, in laybies, causing some pinches.
    • The Manderston St, Balfour Street and Albert Street crossing/junction will be signalised. Some other crossings will be uncontrolled.
  • Balfour St tram stop has been moved in the new plans 60m south to allow access to/from Balfour Street via a signalised junction.
    • Turning right into and out of side-streets will only be allowed at signalised junctions.
  • To deal with major incidents (and road-works, which should be much reduced due to utilities being moved before track installation), there will be strategic diversions, using electronic signs. (The diversions are not yet fully agreed with CEC.)
    • Emergency services have stated that they will be able to get through under any circumstances.
    • Diversions may well include crossover points in the central reservation, to allow vehicles to escape.
    • Emergency services, CEC etc have agreed this in principle; detail is yet to be worked up.
  • 1 lane in either direction goes up as far as Gt Junction St In southern parts of Leith Walk that have two lanes, there will be tram-only sections of the central lane, to allow tram-stops, with outer traffic moving around the stop areas.
    • The intelligent traffic system (i.e. signals) will allow traffic to move while trams are stopped in any area. Some time before trams move from stops, traffic will be stopped. The system will also control pedestrian crossings.
    • It will enable clear runs for trams, which the tram operator favours. There was discussion of where utilities would end up: some under footpaths, some under traffic lanes, very few under tram tracks.
    • There is will two permit systems for road/utility works: one for work in traffic lanes, another for work in tram lanes. Unless there is a very good reason, work will only be done at night.
  • There were concerns that building at Stead’s Place would be simultaneous with tram-installation.
    • TT is in touch with such potential issues via the planning forum. Developers are aware of tram timetables.
    • This enables future-proofing, e.g. installation of extra ducts. Such extras are part of the current plans.
    • TT is aiming to minimise road-works after tram-installation.
  • In the two-lane section just north of Pilrig St, the only changes since the original plans are that Albert St will have a signalised junction, and some bus-stops have moved.
  • The plans for Elm Row have changed greatly as a result of a dedicated workshop.
    • Montgomery St is now blocked off, to block a rat-run.
    • There will be a 1-way loop to access shops, facilitated by parking bays.
    • There will be a larger public realm, maintaining the current café culture, and a 1-way cycle-way to save most original trees. (Some need to be removed so others can grow properly.)
    • The crossing-point will be crossing further up, to open up Gayfield Square’s green area.
    • It was suggested that there should not be on-pavement ‘down-hill’ cycle lanes, to prevent dangers to pedestrians.
      • The cycle-lane will extend onto Union St, to facilitate cycle-safety.
  • There was a request for ‘proper’ large trees, not tiny ‘lollypops’.
  • There was discussion of developments in the Leith Harbour area.
  • Where there will be 1 lane in each direction, bins will be in side-streets. Otherwise, bins will be on pavements, thus reducing numbers of parking places.
    • There was a request for numbers of such reductions.
  • H Tobermann and others requested a log of changes between the original plans and the current plans.
    • D Wraight responded that this is available, but not yet as a single complete list.

4.a Proposed changes that have not been implemented

  • H Tobermann stated that TT should say why some suggestions from consultations are not on the new plans.
    • D Wraight responded that this will be in the consultation, as will both the old and new plans so people can see the changes. These cannot be highlighted using colour-changes.

5 Review/complete ‘supplementary programmes’ suggested to date

D Wraight stated that the big update is that all of Leith Walk will have segregated cycling provision. There will be no cycling provision from the entrance to Constitution St onwards. He and R Leech also reported/stated:

  • TT has been awarded Sustrans funds to research cycle connectivity between Foot of the Walk and Ocean Terminal.
    • The current route idea is via New Kirkgate, Tolbooth Wynd, via the bridge to Victoria Quay.
  • The capital roads team will fund the Easter Road/Duke St roundabout becoming a signalised junction.
  • Duncan Place is in discussion because it’s not clearly part of a single CEC service.
  • TT is trying to liaise with CEC’s parking officer, but CEC has just set priorities for controlled parking.
    • H Tobermann stated that there would be strong opposition to TN if it causes parking issues.
    • R Leech suggested that CCs should lobby the relevant CEC staff now.
    • Action: D Wraight to report these concerns to CEC’s transport convenor and other relevant CEC officials.
  • Integrated ticketing is not within TT’s gift, so CCTT should lobby Transport for Edinburgh over this.
    • The Roads Renewal programme has been much discussed with Sean Gilchrist[27] IThe capital roads programme has to take into account major diversion during TN construction.Hence there has been 2 weeks of assessments. The worst roads are Easter Road and East London St, which may be indirectly affected by TN construction. Such things affect road-safety, so a crossing here may need to be signalised. Hence TN has been a catalyst for other improvements.
  • TT had hoped for a defined supplementary project list. The current possibilities do not yet match CCTT’s desires.
    • D Wraight stated that TN’s governance has been designed to facilitate supplementary benefits. Hence TN will deliver the cycling link and London Road improvements; TT nominated Duncan Place and CPZ improvements.
    • It was strongly suggested that CCTT works with localities officials such as D Ryan and E Kilmurray over CPZs etc.

6 Review and update of tram pre/construction programme

R Leech stated that a Board meeting is due to evaluate TN’s progress/status. Then programme dates will be published.

  • The second consultation will be soft-launched on Monday 1 October.
  • There will be other events. See LHNCC blog post (for example) for details.

7 Next meeting and main areas of discussion

The next CCTT/TT meeting will be on 1 November. It is likely to cover:

  • Main area of CCTT outstanding: environmental benefits
  • TTROs and TROs processes
  • supplementary programmes


[1] See examples of Leidsestraat (Amsterdam) at Austin Rail Now website. Interlacing eliminates need for points and hence higher maintenance costs due to points’ moving parts, but still needs signalised control of traffic.

[2] Examples of the single-track can be found in some highland railway lines. They work by using a single token per piece of single track. Only the train in possession of the token can go onto the single-track section, to eliminate possibility of trains crashing.

[3] The street (Kaiserstrasse, Würzburg) measures 14.5m frontage to frontage, compared to Constitution Street’s 12m and Rose Street’s 8.5m.