Councillor Lesley Hinds’ recent euphoria regarding the progress of the Edinburgh tram project could be short-lived. She and her team continue to ignore the elephant in the room: that the city centre road layout will simply not allow the longest, widest, heaviest and most expensive tram in the world to integrate with road traffic and run to their predicted performance.
The journey time of 29 minutes, on which the trams were based, is impossible without closing the complete route to all traffic, including cyclists.
Wherever existing traffic encroaches on the tram track, delays will ensue and the sheer length of the tram vehicles would suggest that they are totally unsuitable for the proposed mixed use. Oblique crossings, like the complex one at Haymarket, will prove over time to be both dangerous and lead to intolerable delaying to both road users and trams.
Councillor Hinds should now face the fact that a stark choice may have to be made either to proceed with the proposed on-street testing, causing huge disruption to all road users; or, if these 55 tonne, 150ft-long vehicles are to run to anything like their predicted schedule, to ban all other traffic from the route.
The no-win dilemma is that the trams must be accessible to bus and other passengers as failure to maximise revenue from these sources would have significant implications to council finances, failure to do so will inevitably lead to a hastening of their demise.
John RT Carson