TRAMS will have a “very positive impact” on Edinburgh, Institution of Civil Engineers president Geoff French said today on a visit to the capital.
The leader of 82,000 engineers worldwide also predicted the ambience of Princes Street would be “enormously” improved if the introduction of trams led to fewer buses using the thoroughfare.
Mr French, who is on a four-day tour of Scotland, said: “The tram is a step change in public transport in Edinburgh.
“I’d have thought of all the Scottish cities, Edinburgh is the one best suited to the implementation of the tram and I think once completed it will have a very positive impact on the city.
“I also think there’s something about just freeing up Princes Street from having quite so many buses running along it.
“It would add enormously to the ambience of the area and will help set off the Castle and the top end of the Royal Mile that you can see from Princes Street.
“I just think it will strengthen that whole entrance to the city centre.”
Mr French also endorsed the choice of route between Edinburgh airport and York Place in the city centre, which he described as a “strong corridor of movement with high volumes of traffic” necessary for the high-capacity trams.
The eight-mile route is due to open in May next year, with £776 million spent on the scheme.
Mr French’s comments come a day after it was revealed that the tram line had triggered the confirmation of at least six major property deals in Princes Street worth around £100m.