Light rail and trams

09.03.18

Consultation launched into potential Edinburgh tram extension

A consultation is to be launched to help shape the plans to extend Edinburgh’s tram line to Newhaven and Leith.

The consultation, which will start later this month, will seek feedback on traffic management and business support plans for the construction period of the tramway, and the outline road layout for Leith Walk and the rest of the route.

The news comes as the results of an independent survey carried out in Leith are published, showing that most respondents believe that the area would benefit from the introduction of a tram.

In November 2017 a survey was carried out to establish local attitudes towards a tram line to Newhaven, revealing that 50% of respondents felt that the line would benefit Leith.

Over half (58%) felt that it would make it easier to get around, and 42% expressed the opinion that it would be good for local businesses.

When asked what would improve the public transport provision in Leith, the most popular response was to introduce a tram service, with 38% of respondents holding this view - 56% of respondents said that they would be likely to use the new line.

The main concerns expressed by those who did not think that Leith would benefit from the introduction of a tram focused on disruption, delays and congestion as a result of construction works.

A six-week consultation will begin on 19 March, and it is hoped that it will provide the public, businesses wider stakeholders with general information on the project with details around traffic management during construction, support for business proposals and the outline road layout, ahead of the final plans being drawn up.

During the consultation views will be sought on traffic management and phasing, including proposals for the closure of some sections of roads for around 18 months.

Transport convener Cllr Lesley Macinnes explained that the council pledged to dedicate the following year to establishing mutually beneficial relationships with local residents and businesses most likely to be affected by construction works.

“We've been working very closely with the local community and our partners ever since to model traffic management plans and look at options for supporting businesses as much as possible if the project goes ahead,” she said.

Macinnes said that plans have been developed taking on board lessons from the first phase of frameworks and the current traffic management in operation around Leith Street.

“The recent Leith survey showed that a majority of residents think trams will make a positive difference to Leith.

“However, there are clearly some very real concerns about disruption and congestion during construction.

“This consultation gives people the chance to help shape how we manage things if and when work gets under way.

“We hope as many people as possible will have their say, either at one of our four information events or via the Consultation Hub, which will host the consultation from 19 March,” she concluded. 

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