Forthcoming road works along Leith Walk are to be undertaken in such a way that will “tram proof” the route of any future extension of Edinburgh’s tram system. The works, due to be approved by Councillors this month, will see a number of road, pavement and cycle improvements take place but so as to try and not inconvenience residents and businesses in the area they will take into account the proposed alignment of any tram extension.
This “tram proofing” is by no means any guarantee that there will be an extension of Edinburgh Trams but Council officials are sensibly trying to think ahead in the event that extensions will be forthcoming. No decisions on whether to build any extensions is unlikely to be made until the end of this year at the very earliest once initial passenger numbers have been ascertained. Powers to build the abandoned sections of the original tramway run out in 2021 so the need to make final decisions is still some way off.
Cllr Lesley Hinds, City of Edinburgh Council Transport Convener, said: “No final decision will be taken on whether or not to take the tram down to Leith until we’ve had a chance to see how passenger services perform. However, we want to be pragmatic about this. If there is a desire to install tram tracks down Leith Walk at a later date, we don’t want the community to have to go through a more lengthy and extensive works period than they have to. Better to get some tram-proofing done now while we’re already investing time and money transforming Leith Walk.”