May 2024

#SpokesMtg: The Granton Tramline

Controversy rages over whether the tram should use the Roseburn path or an onroad route via Orchard Brae and Dean Bridge. The four speakers at our June 5th public meeting will present the two cases, then the pros and cons of each option for cycling and walking, and for wider public health. Followed by our always stimulating one-hour QA and panel discussion.

[The public meeting is part of Edinburgh Festival of Cycling]

Spokes has always supported cycling “as part of an environmentally sustainable transport and access strategy” not purely cycling for its own sake. We are very supportive of public transport, walking, wheeling, reduced car use, and reducing the climate-crisis impacts of transport. It is therefore important to consider all aspects of both options, although cycling issues will of course weigh significantly in our discussions.

Very briefly and purely from the cycling perspective, onroad tram would mean some very difficult cycling conditions (notably, tramlines on the already narrow Dean Bridge), whilst offroad tram would reduce the ambience and ecology of the nature-filled Roseburn path and might need path restrictions such as pinch-points at some bridges.

Our public meeting on Wednesday 5 June gives you the chance to find out more about the arguments, and to start formulating your thoughts in advance of the forthcoming Council public consultation [dates not yet known].



  • Where Augustine United Church 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL
  • Date Wednesday 5 June
  • Time  Starts 7.30pm, Ends 9.30.  Doors open 6.45 for coffee, stalls and chat, including a special stall to join Spokes or renew your membership
  • Questions Questions for the panel, can be emailed (at least a day in advance) to However, questions in person from audience members are likely to have greatest priority on the night
  • Online We hope to live broadcast on our youtube channel – confirmation nearer the time – and make the recording available soon after
  • Social media If tweeting/posting about the meeting, use hashtag #SpokesMtg
  • More info If you have any queries about the meeting, email or phone Emma, 07982278936.

Your help needed

Please help publicise our public meeting by passing on the link to this article, liking on facebook and retweeting here.

The Council position

This report went to the Council’s Transport Committee on 1 Feb 2024.

Whilst the report contains a huge amount of useful background information, aspects of it had raised significant public concern, including from Spokes. As a result, the Committee made some significant changes, which now supersede the report. The full Committee decision has 22 points [for the complete list, see pages 21-23 here]. In particular, on two issues which particularly concerned Spokes, the forthcoming consultation…

  • will not designate a ‘preferred’ route, but will present fully both the ‘Roseburn’ option and the ‘Orchard Brae’ option
  • will report on the potential for a high quality walking/cycling route beside the tram, should the Roseburn option be chosen (the original report had suggested a lesser path and had spoken of ‘discouraging cycling’ on it).
Roseburn path or Orchard Brae, the two alternatives.. Transport Committee report 1 Feb 2024, fig 3.2

The Spokes position

There has been wide misrepresentation, ranging from social media claims that Spokes strongly supported the Roseburn tram route, through to a press report (now corrected) that Spokes totally opposed it.

With the Council consultation still to be unveiled, it is clear that there are major pros and cons of either option, both for cycling and for the city as a whole. Some of the main pros and cons from our perspective were laid out in this article.

Whilst Spokes will have little influence on the big yes/no decision, we have a vital role in trying to ensure that, whichever option the Council chooses, conditions for cycling, wheeling and walking are as good as possible – both offroad and onroad.

The two pictures below illustrate some of the specifically cycling issues which arise with each option.

Cycling implication: If tram uses Roseburn, an adjacent cycle/walk route will be included, but there may be pinch points or other problems at some bridges, and the ambience and ecology will undoubtedly suffer
Cycling implication: If tram uses the Orchard Brae route, onroad cycling conditions will suffer, with the likelihood of more tramline injuries. Dean Bridge will be particularly problematic given its narrowness.

Picture credits [both pictures have been cropped]

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