Plans to be submitted for reconstruction of Douglas Promenade

The Douglas Horse Tramway could be set for a major change if plans due to be submitted to Douglas Council next month are approved. These plans are part of a major reconstruction of the promenade in Douglas which would see the tramway become single track with passing loops rather than the current double track.

The tram tracks would be moved from the middle of the road, which has been considered to be both a nuisance to other traffic but also a safety issue, to the seaward side. As mentioned above the double track of the tramway would also disappear as it is planned that it will become just single track with passing loops at strategic points.

It is expected that the complete reconstruction of the Promenade, which would also include redoing the roads and footpaths, would cost £17.5 million. Once Douglas Council approve the project it then has to go to Tynwald to get further approval – this is likely to happen early in 2013. If approved the work will be done in phases and would be completed within nine years although officials are hopeful it wouldn’t take quite this long.

Richard Pearson, Department of Infrastructure Director of Highways, said: “The double tracks take up quite a lot of space, which can be used for other things. At the moment passengers for the horse trams get on and off in the middle of the road which is not ideal in modern health and safety terms.”

Mr Pearson also suggested that the movement of the tracks to the side of the road could also enable the Manx Electric Railway to run as far as Villa Marina although this would likely be a long term aspiration rather than something which could happen overnight.

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2 Responses to Plans to be submitted for reconstruction of Douglas Promenade

  1. Patrick O'Sullivan says:

    I think that it will be a great shame if the tram tracks are singled with passing loops as it takes away what is a long term historical tramway layout. Having said that it is of course a concern that passengers alight out onto the middle of the road. The new proposals are much better from a health and safety point of view. I would be very concerned about the change as it may be the beginning of the end of the horse tram cars. For with most councils when they start messing around with things, usually finish up with them being abandoned in the so called name of progress. The trams and tramway are unique in the world and therefore should have a world heritage rating.

    Anyway that is my point of view on it.

    I remain yours

    Patrick O’Sullivan

  2. Robert Hendry says:

    I entirely agree that the Douglas Horse Trams deserve the same sort of protected status as the San Francisco cable cars as they are the oldest continuously operating tramway in the British Isles. The argument that they are inconvenient applies with equal force to Castle Rushen which means that the roads in Castletown are dreadful! Why not move that to a convenient location as well? Dozens of historic features throughout the British Isles are most inconveniently located, so lets move all of them. The Tower of London is on prime building land and has no adequate car parking for visitors. Why not move that to an areas that has fewer tourist amenities as London has more than enough? Such ideas would rightly be seen as lunacy, and the Douglas Horse Trams merit the same protection.

    Congestion is levelled at the horse trams! No, the congestion was caused when angled parking was introduced on the southbound side of the road from Greensills Corner to the Jubilee Clock. If there is a long car or a vehicle not touching the kerb you cannot pass the tram because of the the parked cars. It is not the motorists’ fault. It is an absurd parking system. Lorries and buses cannot pass a tram at all over much of this section. Don’t blame the tram, blame the planners who hit on this dumb idea.

    Safety is another red herring. In 1963 soon after Glasgow abandoned its last trams a councillor was bewailing the increase in more serious road traffic accidents because traffic was moving too fast! In Douglas traffic moves at a safe speed on the prom, except where the angled parking exists where it is badly hampered. In the evening it moves much faster, often above the 30 mph limit. A pedestrian who is hit by a car at 15-20mph has a good chance of surviving, but the chances diminish drastically as the speed reaches and exceeds 30 mph. As Douglas prom is heavily parked day or night, crossing the road is much safer in the day than in the tram-free evening. What if a child runs out behind a parked car? At present it is no great risk. The new safe system will kill children. It is a lose lose plan so we may be confident it will be adopted.
    Robert Hendry

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