Trams: Princes Street vs George Street
THE public will be asked to decide whether the main hub of Edinburgh’s city centre tram system should run along Princes Street or George Street.
As the Evening News today reveals for the first time the options for the two lines, the council has announced a massive public consultation exercise on key route decisions.
One of the main points to be decided is whether trams should run along Princes Street, the city’s most famous thoroughfare, or on the quieter George Street.
Under the plans, Line 1 would be a circular route linking the city centre with Leith, the north and west. The proposed Line 2 would run from the city to Edinburgh Park and the airport .
Trams will run every six minutes in the city centre, it was revealed today, as detailed routes for two of the new tram lines were unveiled.
Since March, when the former transport minister Iain Gray awarded the city the 375 million required to fund the tramways, the planners and transport experts have been figuring out just where the electric vehicles should run, and where they should stop.
Now the plans have been published and, according to those same experts, commuters should be able to travel from the city centre every six minutes, giving passengers the opportunity to get to Leith in about 20 minutes and to Edinburgh Airport within 30 minutes.
But there is still debate about where some parts of the lines should be built, and as a result a massive public consultation exercise is being launched to find the most popular routes.
More than 125,000 households and commercial organisations will receive consultation leaflets over the next few weeks, backed up by a series of public meetings and consultations where people will be able to quiz the experts.
Michael Howell, chief executive of transport initiatives edinburgh (tie), the council’s arms-length company responsible for delivering the tram system, says: "A total of about 20 or 30 route options has been narrowed down using a unique mathematical model defining where people travel in the city. We’ve now identified where we want the trams to go, but there are still questions so we need public input into deciding the routes which will be followed.
"Our job is now to develop a broad urban consensus on what we are trying to achieve."
Line One - a circular line from the city centre to Leith and Granton and back again - is expected to cost about 190m and attract 11.6 million journeys a year, while Line Two, from Haymarket to the airport and on to Newbridge, costed at 165m, should see 4.2 million journeys.
There are two main options for Line One which the public can give their views on.
The first is in the city centre, where it has still to be decided whether the trams should run along Princes Street or George Street.
Both would have an impact visually, but Princes Street provides close links with current bus and rail transport. George Street would have less impact on other traffic, but there would be a loss of street parking.
Meanwhile, at Craigleith it has still to be decided whether to run the line along the former Haymarket-to-Granton railway line, which would make it separate from other traffic and offer faster journeys, or to run it along Groathill Avenue and Telford Road with a stop outside the Western General. This would be slower, but would give access to bus routes.
On Line Two, the areas up for debate are at Roseburn, Gogar and Ingliston. There are three options at Roseburn, all of which are likely to have a visual impact on views from people’s homes.
In the first option, the tram line could pass under the current railway line on Russell Road and then continue on to Saughton, parallel and south of the rail line.
Tram speeds would be slow, though, as there would be traffic restrictions on Russell Road. At the same time, people living in Whitson Road and Stenhouse Avenue West would have to get used to watching trams pass their windows.
The second option would see trams pass over Russell Road and Roseburn Street via a bridge and then travel past the north of Murrayfield Stadium and on to Carrick Knowe golf course.
This time it would be properties at Roseburn and near the stadium which would see their views altered.
The third option is a mixture of both, with option one being followed to Balgreen, then the line would go under the railway and follow option two. Speeds would be slower but there would be less impact visually.
At Gogar, one route would see the tram line crossing the roundabout, with priority signalling to allow faster journey times, but that may increase congestion at the roundabout.
The other route would see the tram travel from South Gyle Broadway through the existing Gyle car park and under Glasgow Road to the east of the Gogar roundabout.
At Ingliston, the route will depend on the expansion plans for Edinburgh Airport. One option is to run the tram from the airport to the Royal Highland Showground and stop outside the north gate, before continuing across the A8 and on to Newbridge. The alternative has the tram running directly south through the fields lying to the east of the showground on newly built track, with a stop near the A8. The line would continue over the main road and on to Newbridge.
The results of the consultation exercise will be given to the Scottish Parliament when tie submits a private bill at the end of the year. The parliamentary approval process is then expected to last until 2005 or 2006, when construction will begin. Trams will run from 2009.
The design of the trams is yet to be decided, and tie will be looking to choose an operator for the system early next year who will "help design the trams and the system with the unique character of Edinburgh and the passenger in mind".
Howell adds: "This is a terrific opportunity for Edinburgh, where the one thing we’re not proud of is our transport system - this is an opportunity to become proud of it."
And the city’s transport leader, Councillor Andrew Burns, says: "The tram system is a very exciting prospect and I would urge all members of the public and the bodies along the route, whether they have a positive or negative interest, to make sure they take part in the consultation."
How to make your voice heard
Have your say on the planned tram routes at the upcoming public consultation meetings.
A meeting to discuss both Line One and Line Two will be held on June 3 at The Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, at 7pm.
To discuss just Line One, meetings will be held on June 4 at Leith Academy, 20 Academy Park, at 7pm, and on June 10 at Granton Primary School, Boswall Parkway, at 7pm.
To discuss Line Two only, a meeting will be held on June 6 at Tynecastle High School, McLeod Street, at 7pm.
There will also be exhibitions showing the planned routes. Lines One and Two will be displayed at Edinburgh City Council’s planning offices, at 1 Cockburn Street, from tomorrow until June 25.
The Line One route will be shown at Scotmid, in Duke Street, Leith, from tomorrow until May 24; then at the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre from May 29 to June 2; at Granton Primary, Boswall Parkway, on June 12, 13 and 16; and at Sainsbury’s, Craigleith, from June 17 to 19.
Line Two will be displayed at Stevenson College from May 26 to 28; Saughtonhall United Reformed Church, Saughtonhall Drive, on June 3 and 4; Gorgie Parish Church, Gorgie Road, from June 9 to 11; and the Gyle Shopping Centre from June 20 to 25.
Opening hours for all exhibitions are: Monday to Friday 12pm to 5pm (Thursdays 7pm), Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 4pm.
Line One proposed stops
2 Shandwick Place
3a Princes Street West
3b Charlotte Square
4a Princes Street East
4b Hanover Street
5 St Andrew Square
6 Broughton Street
7 McDonald Road
8 Balfour Street
9 Duke Street
10 Constitution Street
11 Ocean Drive
12 Ocean Terminal
13 Newhaven Road
14 Lower Granton Road
15 Granton Square
16 Granton Waterfront
17 Caroline Park
18 West Granton Access
19 Crewe Toll
20a Groathill Road North
20b Western General Hospital
22 Ravelston Dykes
THE tram link will pass over West Harbour Road, stopping at Granton Waterfront, before heading south along the edge of the grounds of Caroline Park House. It will continue in the direction of the old Granton gas towers, stop at a new station at Caroline Park and then head south across West Granton Road.
A NEW road, the Southern Approach Road, was built two years ago just to the west of Crewe Road West and includes provision for the tram link.
The line will pass under, or over, West Granton Road after leaving Caroline Park and will take the route along a segregated verge on the western side of the new road. It will stop at West Granton Access before joining the route of the old Haymarket to Granton railway.
IN the first option at Craigleith, the tram would run along the route of the former Haymarket-to-Granton railway. This would be the fastest way, with trams kept separate from other traffic. The alternative would take the tram along Groathill Avenue and Telford Road, with a stop outside the Western General Hospital and better links to bus services.
THE trams’ route through the city centre will have a visual impact on the New Town and World Heritage Site. Other considerations will include the needs of businesses in the area and the integration with other traffic, public transport and pedestrians.
One option is to run from the junction of Shandwick Place and Lothian Road along Princes Street and into St Andrew Square. The advantage would be closer links with existing bus and rail transport, but there would be concerns about the impact on views to the Castle and Old Town skyline. The alternative offered is to run from Shandwick Place into Charlotte Square and along George Street to St Andrew Square. While there would be less impact on other traffic in the city centre, views along George Street would be affected and on-street parking would be lost. Alternative parking options are being looked into.
Line Two proposed stops
2 Murrayfield Stadium
3 Water of Leith
4 Balgreen Road
5a Stenhouse Drive
5b Saughton Road North
6a Broomhouse Road
6b South Gyle Access
7 Edinburgh Park Station
8 Edinburgh Park
9a South Gyle Broadway
9b The Gyle
10 Royal Bank of Scotland
11 Ingliston Park & Ride
12 Edinburgh Airport
13a Royal Highland Showground North
13b Royal Highland Showground South
14 Ratho Station
PLANS for a loop at Newbridge are still in the early stages and the exact layout is expected to be fuelled by developments in the village. Most of the area currently identified belongs to the industrial estate to the west of the M8 junction and is used as a bus interchange.
AGAIN, the alignment of the tram route will depend to a large extent on the expansion plans for the airport, but so far there are two options which have been identified. In the first, the tram would run from the airport to the Royal Highland Showground and stop outside the north gate before continuing across the A8 and on to Newbridge.
The alternative has the tram running directly south from the airport through the fields lying to the east of the showground on newly built track, with a stop near the A8.
AS with the difficulties around Ingliston, the problem here is anticipating the future expansion of the airport. There is ongoing discussion about facilities close to the site of the new Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters, including "a few issues" such as the access roads to the RBS site. It may be that the final route continues along the northern side of the A8 before approaching the proposed park-and-ride scheme at Ingliston.
One option would have the tram line crossing Gogar roundabout. But that may add congestion at the roundabout. The tram stop for this route would be located on South Gyle Broadway and a new footbridge would give access to The Gyle.
Under the second option, the tram would travel from South Gyle Broadway through the existing Gyle car park and under Glasgow Road to the east of the Gogar roundabout.
This would avoid all traffic at Gogar and provide a stop at The Gyle Shopping Centre.
THE tram line will run parallel and south of the existing railway line and will head north, either under or over the railway, at the new Edinburgh Park station. The two rows of buildings running north to south at the business centre are separated by a lake and a grassed area with trees, which will provide the base for the tram line.
The line will run north to connect with one of the two station options at South Gyle Broadway.
ONE of the most complicated stretches of track on the tram network lies between Roseburn and Carrick Knowe, where the public are being asked to consider three options.
In the first, the tram line would pass under the railway on Russell Road and continue west to Saughton, parallel to and south of the railway line.
People living in Whitson Road and Stenhouse Avenue West would have to get used to the views of trams passing by their windows. The second option would see the trams passing over Russell Road and Roseburn Street by bridge and travelling parallel to and north of the railway line past Murrayfield Stadium, where the tram would stop, and then on to Carrick Knowe golf course.
East of Carrick Knowe Avenue, the line would use a new bridge to cross back over the railway. This time, properties at Roseburn and near Murrayfield Stadium would have altered views.
There is also the possibility of a mix of the two. Option one would be followed as far as Balgreen Road, then the line would go underneath the railway and follow option two.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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