The 6 week consultation into plans to extend Edinburgh Trams along Leith Walk to Newhaven has closed with more than 3,000 people having either attended one of the information events, sent their comments in by email or completed the consultation online. The Trams to Newhaven project team will now consider the feedback received and re-examine the plans before publishing them for more consultation at the end of the summer.
The idea of extending the tram system is always going to be an emotive subject with local residents in Edinburgh following the problems experienced with the original project which saw only a fraction of the planned system being constructed for a much increased amount. During this consultation a number of respondents were concerned that the project would divert resources from other Council services. However, the Council are very keen to point out that this would not be the case and instead all borrowing costs will be met by an extraordinary dividend from Lothian Buses as well as future tram revenues.
Other key themes in the consultation responses include:
* Support for businesses. The Council say that businesses are at the heart of the plans and the team is in close dialogue with those affected with a financial support scheme now in development. Traffic management is being developed carefully to mitigate disruption to businesses.
* The need to achieve the best possible balance for all road users particularly at the north end of Leith Walk. The responses here were mixed with some saying the current plans gave inadequate provision for pedestrians and cyclist and others reiterating the importance of loading and parking. The project team are now actively addressing these comments as part of their re-examination of the plans.
* The location of Balfour Street tramstop
* The need to consider more pedestrian crossing points and signal controlled junctions on Leith Walk
* Parking and loading on Constitution Street
Cllr Lesley Macinnes, City of Edinburgh Council Transport Convener, said: “A huge thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to give us their feedback during the consultation process. The comments submitted will help us make changes to the plans before we consult again towards the end of the summer. Of course, no final decision on taking trams to Newhaven, or not, will be made until much later in the year, when we’ll consider a Final Business Case based on the tenders submitted and the outcome of the consultation.”
The project team will now go away and reconsider the plans as a result of this consultation before the next stage of consultation in the summer.