February 2024

Positive tramline decision!!

Thanks if *you* emailed your councillors, after our campaign – you helped change the day!

Today’s Transport Committee (1 Feb 2024) made a number of major decisions, but, in particular, the design of the forthcoming consultation on the tramline from Granton to Bioquarter is to be rejigged significantly.

Several councillors said how many individually written emails they had received since the original proposals for the consultation came out (only 6 days ago!) … showing how greatly people value the Roseburn corridor for utility cycling trips, including commuting to the Western General. Leisure use and its value as a nature corridor also featured highly in emails copied to Spokes.

Alex Robb from our Planning Group presented the Spokes deputation, based on our website article

Previously, the consultation, which will now not begin for several weeks, was going to recommend the Roseburn corridor for the tram, with an adjacent path not designed for cycling, and with cycling ‘discouraged’

Now, the consultation…

  • will present both onroad and offroad tramline options, with the pros and cons of each
  • instead of suggesting ‘discouraging’ cycling, we expect the consultation to look positively at a combined walk/wheel/cycle path if the tram does use Roseburn corridor. In an appendix to our website article we suggested a possible outline for such an approach.

The exact content of the consultation is now to be worked on by officers, who will then consult councillors to ensure it is in keeping with the Committee decision.

The references to an adjacent cycle/wheel/walk path in the approved motion don’t give explicit instructions to officers, but their intent and direction are clear. The final approved motion was rather a hotch-potch combination of Labour, Green and SNP submissions [see 7.3 here], put together during the meeting under time pressure, but its intent is clear. The following are the cycling-related paragraphs (from Labour and Green, supported by SNP)

  • Agrees that objective analysis of the following should be incorporated within the consultation response report to TEC: The potential to install a high-quality walking and cycling route alongside the tramline on the Roseburn Path.
  • Believes that a tram extension should not only provide high quality public transport but should be delivered in conjunction with good active travel and placemaking infrastructure
  • Recognises the health, wellbeing, and environmental benefits of the Roseburn path as a well-used nature and active travel corridor
  • Expresses concern over the negative ecological impacts projected in the report as well as the adverse effect on active travel if cycling was to be discouraged on a potential path next to the tram route
  • Notes an apparent contradiction between the proposed Roseburn alignment of the tram extension in this report and the proposal in the circulation plan (report 7.2) that the Roseburn path would form part of the secondary cycle network
  • Calls for more detailed assessments, in particular environmental impact assessments, of the options in advance of any final decision being taken to understand the broader impacts of the Northern tram extension, particularly with regards to environmental impacts and active travel.

Lib Dems argued that the tram ‘must’ take the road route, to preserve the existing natural environment and path, and so did not support the motion, as it leaves both options open

Conservatives argued for the whole tram extension consultation to be postponed until there was greater certainty over funding and other issues.

Resources …
  • The meeting also debated some very major issues on transport policy for the city, which were touched on in the second half of our previous article. However, the immediate need to defend the Roseburn path in the forthcoming consultation design has occupied most of our time
  • Spokes did this tweet thread of relevant points and decisions throughout the (6-hour) Committee
  • A full webcast of the meeting is now available on the Council website
  • The meeting included a fascinating presentation and QA on how the city of Ghent has undertaken a not dissimilar project to Edinburgh’s proposed Future Streets policy. You can see this in full on the above webcast, and a few highlights in our above twitter thread.
What you can do …
  • If you emailed your councillors about the above, why not send them a quick thank-you, and perhaps say you trust the contents of the consultation will fully respect the Committee decision

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