Tag Archives: trams

Tram disruption to be discussed at council meeting

By Marion Guichaoua

A motion will be discussed by the Council this week about the traffic issues created by the tram’s installation and the new traffic lights in the city center.

The council have said: “The council notes with concern that, six months after the start of tram operations, the combination of traffic lights between Leith Street and Waverley Bridge are still causing considerable delays to traffic.

“Further notes that this effect has greatest impact on buses and cyclists but also affects general traffic and, occasionally, trams.

“Considering that long waits for west bound traffic, even for an east bound tram which will not cross the same path, are frustrating for travelers. “

The tram of Edinburgh is a 14-kilometre line between York Place in New town and Edinburgh Airport, with 15 stops.

The line opened on 31 May 2014.

The final cost of the tram is expected to top £1 billion.

Chris Hill, from the City Cycling Edinburgh Forum said: “There are all sorts of issues related to trams – not least people falling off on the tracks, particularly when wet.

“Most concerns about trams and traffic signals have been to do with the long delays caused by the timings. “

Councilor Whyte calls for a report to the Transport & Environment Committee within the two cycles setting out a full solution to this issue.

The council have refused to comment on the issue at this time.

 

 

 

Tram Advertising Slammed By Public

by Alicia Simpson and Melissa Steel

The Edinburgh Trams may be able to recoup part of the estimated £1 billion it has cost to get them up and running. Our reporters, Alicia Simpson and Melissa Steel, went to find out more.

 

The trams, currently being tested throughout the city, could have wrap-around advertising and even be named by companies.

This scheme could earn Edinburgh Trams an extra £1.5 million a year, on top of an expected £15 million in fares.

Andrews Burns, Edinburgh Council leader, told STV news: “I would like to think the vast majority of the Edinburgh population would be supportive of this.”

However, when Edinburgh Napier News went down to Haymarket Railway Station, a main thoroughfare affected by the tram works, we found the public were less than sympathetic – and even had a few colourful suggestions for tram names.

Tram outside Haymarket Station.
Tram outside Haymarket Station.

 

 

Anger as Council Bosses Approve George Street Changes

23George_Street,_Edinburgh

By Fraser Ryan

Edinburgh City Council bosses have been criticised over plans to implement a twelve month trial to turn George Street into a one way street.

The Edinburgh City Council’s Transport and Environment Committee have angered fellow councillors and members of the public by deciding to approve a trial one way system in George Street. The plan will see the pavements in George Street extended to accommodate street events, as well as introduce a two-way cycle route.

Plans to implement the same plans on Princes Street were rejected, meaning the street will remain two-way during the initial twelve month trail period. It is unlikely any alterations will be made to Princes Street until the Trams are operational by May 2014.

Joanna Mowat, a city centre councillor and Conservative transport spokeswoman, said it would be “foolish” to introduce the system, and called it one of the worst schemes she had “ever seen in local ­government. We are flying in the face of what the architects of the city wanted, what businesses want, what pedestrians want and what cyclists want,” she said.

Gordon Henderson, spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland, said that its members felt they had been “comprehensively ignored”.

According to a poll conducted by the Federation, only 35% of people supported the move, while 27% were in favour of splitting the bus services between the two streets.

David Porteous, a senior council official who authored the report, defended the council’s decision, saying “Respondents were sceptical about the benefits of introducing a one-way system to the city centre, arguing that traffic would be displaced if no ­developments in alternative transport provision or better linkages between other parts of the city were provided.”

More tram works, yet the end is in sight

Yet more traffic disruption: Edinburgh trams. Image: geograph.org.uk / cc.

The next set of tram works are due to begin this weekend.

The existing tram works at Shandwick Place and Haymarket are now being extended to cover West Maitland Street.

The works are set to take place from 5’oclock tomorrow morning with other traffic divisions being put in place.

Edinburgh Council has thanked the local businesses, people and commuters for their patience with the ongoing works and all their disruptions.

The City of Edinburgh Council warns of traffic disruptions and journey delays as a result of the ongoing tram works.

The works, which many feel are taking over the city centre, are feared to be a danger to businesses in the area. Apart from the general traffic disruptions the works are feared to bring a negative image to commuters and tourists coming from the nearby Haymarket train station.

The council offers an ‘Open for Business’ budget, in which £175,000 will be invested. The programme was created to encourage visitors to Edinburgh and sustain footfall in the city centre.

Yet many criticise the council for their lack of help with diverted walk ways and in particular, pointing pathways though the maze of road works for customers. The tram works stretch from Haymarket to the West End and Princess Street t oWaverley Bridge but they are due to be completed in June this year.

Tram project set to move on after setback

by Sean McLennan and Oliver Hughes

The chairman of Transport Edinburgh, Lothian buses and TIE ltd, David Mackay, this morning made an executive decision to step down from his position at the three organisations. His resignation will come into immediate effect after his growing frustration over the progress of the controversial tram system.

Press officer, Lynn McMath of Transport Initiative Edinburgh (TIE) stated, “We are sad to lose him, but we understand the reason he had to leave. Edinburgh tram project will continue with the strategy that David implemented. The board fully endorsed his strategy.” Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Jenny Daw told the press “Urgent steps will be taken to ensure that we build upon the very substantial foundation that he has built.”

David McKay came under particular pressure with regard to TIE’s relationship to German contractor ‘Bilfinger Berger’, who he referred to in a recent interview with the Scotsman as delinquent contractor’. A statement with a notably different tone to his speech given in today’s press release.

“This project has been an enormously absorbing one and as such there was never going to be an entirely ideal time to step aside. In the past few months I have been keen to see a number of milestones set in place and this I have now done. I believe that for every Chair there comes an important juncture when the most powerful action you can take is to pass the controls to a successor and to then watch that organisation develop further under a new champion.

“The last few years have been stimulating and challenging and I believe that considerable progress has been made across many fronts and particularly, on Trams, where our imperative to protect the public purse has been notably successful.

“The time has now come when it is appropriate for me to move on which should allow me to refocus my energies on to a better, and probably much overdue, calmer work/life balance.

“I would particularly like to pay tribute to the many colleagues and peers I have worked with and those at Edinburgh Trams in particular who have shown remarkable resilience and energy in the face of what has been at times, a very difficult and complex situation”.

The German contractor is placed at the centre of many problems surrounding the project ranging from overflowing budget that has risen from 545mil to an estimated 600mil and the projects lack of  progress. McMath commented: “The dispute is centered around Bilfinger Berger but the negotiation team are currently looking for a solution to the problem.”

The advancement of the project now suspected to rest in the hands of chief executives Richard Jeffrey or Iain Craig though no single predecessor has been officially announced.

Trams in chaos as chairman resigns

The ill-fated Edinburgh Trams project has been thrown into further chaos with the resignation of the chairman David MacKay yesterday, leaving the multi-million pound project’s future in jeopardy.

After his resignation, 67-year old MacKay, who was also Chairman of Lothian Buses, criticised the German company in charge of the project and believes that a Scottish company may have done a better job had they been awarded the original contract, and went on to launch a scathing attack on Bilfinger Berger.

MacKay said: “we found crazy things like wires under Princes Street and cables were not where they should be. It was hell on wheels.”

MacKay, a transport expert, who spent nearly 40 years at distributor John Menzies, as well as working for the Scottish Rugby Union prior to his appointment as also described Bilfinger Berger as “delinquent contractor who scented a victim.”

The £545 million project has currently stalled due to a dispute over money with the German contractors, but Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney has said that the project will receive no further government funding, which puts the future of the project in doubt.

At the moment, it is hoped that the project will be finished late next year, but this now seems highly optimistic, with the likelihood that the saga will end in the courtrooms.

Even the deadline set earlier this year of June 2013 now seems to be at serious risk, as the project threatens to spiral out of control.

Upon hearing of MacKay’s resignation, leader of Edinburgh Council Jenny Dawe voiced her thanks for his work, and confirmed the search for MacKay’s successor is already underway.

She said: “We are disappointed to be losing the drive, commercial expertise and commitment which David brought to his Chairmanship of Transport Edinburgh.”

MacKay has now retired, and confirmed he would not be staying on to serve any period of notice following his resignation.

His claims are expected to be refuted by Bilinger Berger, and it remains to be seen if these comments will cause any further damage to an already fragmented relationship between the two parties.

Leith Traders get Christmas break from tram works

Embattled traders in Leith walk won their plea to suspend  the tram works for more than a month over Christmas this week.

The decision comes after an announcement by tram firm TIE that Constitution Street is to be reopened over the festive period having been closed for over a year.

The street will now remain free of all tram work until January, although some road barriers will still remain in place, with traffic being controlled.

Susan Clark, deputy project director said: “Having consulted with the local community and taken into consideration the current stage of the works in the area, we are pleased to advice that apart from one or two sections of minor cabling work Leith walk will be clear of tram works over the festive period between the end of November and 4 January, 2010”

This has been warmly welcomed by traders in the area and Gordon Burgess of the Leith Business Association, who felt they were being unfairly treated.

He said: “We may not have a Harvey Nichols, a Frasers or a Marks and Spencer, but were still important to the city. Princes Street have had constant advertisement letting shoppers know they are still open for trade, while we have quite frankly been forgotten.”

Earlier today Edinburgh Napier News spoke with Leith florist Carolyn Design Florist, owner Sara Morgan estimates her shop has lost almost half its trade since the tram project began. She looks forward to the road opening  and hopefully a Christmas boost for her sales.