Traffic light change clears Edinburgh tram path

TRAFFIC lights in Edinburgh city centre have been changed to cut delays caused to trams by being snarled up in traffic, the city council said today.

July image of a tram stuck after lights refused to change. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
July image of a tram stuck after lights refused to change. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

Trams have been held up by other vehicles blocking their path, especially at the junction of Princes Street and Waverley Bridge.

Observers said some trams have been stopped for more ten minutes.

One said: “When a tram passes a certain point before its traffic signal, this triggers the ‘go’ for the tram, but if it gets stuck by traffic then the system assumes it has gone through and is waiting for next tram.

“I saw one tram stuck at the Waverley turning for at least ten minutes. I was also on a tram on Thursday that stopped at the Princes Street stop for ten minutes due, I suspect, to the same problem.

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“People got so fed up they asked for the doors to be opened and walked the rest of the way.”

The city council said changes had eased the congestion.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said: “We know there have been issues with congestion at certain times of the day and I was pleased to convene a meeting last month to look at traffic management issues in the city centre, including Princes Street.

“There were a few challenges during the Festival period, but I’m happy to report we’ve been able to make modifications to the traffic signals system during and since that period, which should help improve traffic movement over the coming weeks.

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“We continue to work very closely, and meet regularly, with [tram and Lothian Buses operator] Transport for Edinburgh to monitor traffic operations, and will continue to make whatever refinements might be necessary to the system to meet changing conditions.

The move comes the day after the council said trams had carried more than 1.5 million passengers in their first 100 days operating.

That confirmed a Scotsman story in July that the system was carrying 90,000 passengers a week, putting it on course to beat its 4.5m first-year target.

The eight-mile Edinburgh Airport-York Place route opened on 31 May.