Fiasco is a word which the residents of Edinburgh are all too familiar with in relation to trams. The City of Edinburgh Council proposed a tram project some years ago which has never quite captured the imagination and subsequent to the installation of the tram network, the hearts of the natives. Astonishingly, earlier this year, councillors had to vote on whether they scrapped the project at a higher cost than the cost of actually finishing the project. It is fair to say that the whole thing has been a bit of a disaster for the council amid allegations of poor project management, falling out with the principal contractors which ended up in a protracted legal wrangle and finally there have been many people injured as a result of the works.
From a personal perspective, I quite like the idea of a modern tram network going through the city but I think it’s a pity that the line will not be completed as planned and indeed, there appears to be no other discussion about expanding the network. On a professional basis, as a personal injury Solicitor, I have had a number of enquiries from those injured, as a consequence of the works, so much so, that we at Thompsons, have decided to add our weight to the campaign to remove vehicular traffic from Princes Street.
It would be fair to say, that the first installation of the tram network, on Princes Street alone, has been woefully executed. Not only were there six accidents within the first week of Princes Street opening, there were in excess of 70 in the first 22 months up until and those were only the reported ones. Since then, the Council, put the death knell into TIE, the company they created to deliver the project and decided to finalise the project themselves. However, accidents to cyclists are still happening, why? Well, the Council have removed the cycle lanes that were previously in place and replaced them with something a lot more dangerous for cyclists. These days, and before a tram has taken to Edinburgh streets, cyclists are invited, especially at the west end of Edinburgh, to cycle between the tramlines in what is otherwise a shared lane for cyclists, trams, taxis and buses! Not only that, the finish on the tramlines is hazardous and at some sections, the tramline sits proud of the surrounding roadway causing an increased hazard to cyclists.
The campaign brought by Thompsons is to remove buses and taxis from Princes Street because they are not only occupying the lane that cyclists would otherwise go down, they are putting pressure on cyclists who are cycling in the dangerous area where the tram tracks lay.