Consultation and workshops help to shape Newhaven extension

Back in March and April a consultation exercise took place as part of the project to extended the Edinburgh Trams line from York Place to Newhaven via Leith Walk. A number of themes came out of this consultation and now as the project team continues to include interested parties a series of workshops are being held to further refine the plans before a final decision is made on whether to press ahead with the planned extension – likely this autumn.

Since the consultation there have already been some changes to the plans as the project team are keen to listen to what the local community has to say to ensure that as little disruption as possible is caused not only during construction but also if the line gets up and running.

These changes have included:

* Moving the location of the stop at Balfour Street and signalising the location to maintain access/egress to and from Balfour Street and Cambridge Gardens

* Introduction of three new signalised pedestrian crossings between Pilrig Street and Foot of the Walk, with potential for additional uncontrolled crossings

* Amending the alignment at the south end of Constitution Street to accommodate loading

* Signalising junctions at Albert Street and Manderston Street

And now as the plans continue to progress a series of workshops are taking place, the first of which happened on 14th June. This session – attended by 24 people including elected members, community councillors, local businesses, partner organisations (Lothian Buses) and interest groups (Sustrans Scotland and Living Street) – focused on the section of the proposed line between Pilrig Street and Foot of the Walk.

Four viable alternative layouts were presented for this section of the line with one – option 3b – being preferred by the attendees. This would see two running lanes for all traffic (one northbound, one southbound), a segregated cycleway and maximised footway on both sides of the street plus a 1.8m central verge which can be used as a safe crossing point/refuge. It also accommodates parking and loading on both sides where space is adequate. This may have been the preferred option but was not unanimously accepted as there remain concerns about loading for commercial premises.

These issues raised will now be examined by the project team ahead of a second workshop on this area, due to be held on 27th June. A preferred option will then be chosen and will go forward to the council to make a decision on whether to go-ahead later this year. There will also be a third workshop on 25th June which will focus on the public realm at Elm Row.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Transport Convener on the Council, said: “Thursday’s workshop was enormously useful and we’re very grateful to everyone who’s given their time and energy to help us refine the plans for taking trams to Newhaven. We’re working incredibly hard to shape the proposals using the invaluable feedback submitted, so that the final designs which Council will vote on towards the end of this year are as community-based as possible.”

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