Members of the public, the business community and a wide range of stakeholders will help shape plans for taking the tram to Newhaven, should the project be approved by the Council towards the end of this year.
Starting later this month, a major local consultation exercise will seek feedback on a) traffic management and business support plans for the construction period and b) the outline road layout for Leith Walk and the rest of the route.
News of the consultation comes as the results of an independent survey carried out in Leith are published, showing that the majority of respondents believe Leith would benefit from the introduction of a tram.
From 19 March, six weeks of public consultation and engagement will provide the public, businesses and wider stakeholders with general information on the project, an opportunity to meet the team and specific details around traffic management during construction, support for business proposals and the outline road layout, ahead of final plans being drawn up.
Views will be sought on traffic management and phasing currently proposed, including proposals for the closure of Leith Walk northbound and a single lane open southbound, along with the closure of sections of Constitution Street, for approximately 18 months during construction.
The traffic management proposals have been drawn up following in-depth traffic modelling and discussions with key partners and stakeholders, including bus companies, local community groups businesses and elected members.
The plans include support for businesses who will be most affected by the works, including provision for parking and loading between worksites, an Open for Business campaign, on-street customer service staff, logistics hubs and financial support.
Views will also be sought on the plans for the permanent design of the street along the route, including a dedicated public transport-only lane on Leith Walk for tram and bus during morning and evening rush hour.
This is the first stage in a consultation process that is scheduled to continue through to the end of 2018.
Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “When the Outline Business Case was approved by Council in September we pledged to dedicate the following year or so (ahead of the final decision) to establishing mutually beneficial relationships with local residents and businesses who would be most affected by construction works. We’ve been working very closely with the local community and our partners ever since to model traffic management plans and look at options for supporting businesses as much as possible if the project goes ahead.
“These plans have been developed taking on board lessons learned from the first phase of tramworks and the current traffic management arrangements in place around Leith Street.
“The recent Leith survey showed that a majority of residents think trams will make a positive difference to Leith. However, there are clearly some very real concerns about disruption and congestion during construction. This consultation gives people the chance to help shape how we manage things if and when work gets under way. We hope as many people as possible will have their say, either at one of our four information events or via the Consultation Hub, which will host the consultation from 19 March.”
The consultation will include:
– online consultation via the Consultation Hub
– 28,000 letters delivered to residential addresses in the area surrounding the planned tram route
– 4 public information events*
– 4 local business forums
– 4 community council briefings
In November 2017, the project team commissioned an independent survey to understand local behaviours and attitudes towards Tram to Newhaven. Research done by Progressive Partnership – 368 ten-minute on-street interviews carried out on three different stretches of Leith Walk.
- 59% agreed that the line would benefit Leith with 58% saying it would be easier to get around and 42% saying it would be good for local business
- 91% were satisfied with current transport provision on Leith Walk
- When asked what would improve public transport provision in Leith Walk, the most popular response at 38% was ‘introduce a tram service’ NB most respondents currently used buses or walking to get to and around Leith
- 56% said they were likely to use the new line
- Among those who did not think Leith would benefit, concerns focused chiefly on disruption, delays and congestion resulting from construction works
*Public information events
Thursday 22 March: Leith Theatre, 11am – 6pm
Tuesday 3 April: McDonald Road Library, 10am – 4pm
Thursday 12 April: Leith Community Education Centre, 3pm – 9pm
Saturday 21 April: Ocean Terminal, 12 noon – 5pm