Community Councils Together on Trams: Minutes of meeting held on Thursday 30 July 2020

Leith Links Community Council is a member of the coalition ‘Community Councils Together on Trams’  (CCTT) alongside Leith Central Community CouncilLeith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council and New Town & Broughton Community Council. CCTT meets monthly with the Tram Team to discuss, scrutinise and influence the step by step development of the Trams to Newhaven project, on behalf of our local communities.

Minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 30 July 2020 are copied below for information.

If you have something you want this Community Council to raise at one of these meetings, please email contact@leithlinkscc.org.uk 

 

 

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting
(Construction Phase) via Google Meet on Thursday 30 July 2020 at 5:30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic underlined SmallCaps. ‘TT’ means ‘Trams Team’.

1             Attendance
Mike Birch CCTT/NTBCC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT /LLCC
Charlotte Encombe CCTT/LCCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC
Don Giles CCTT/LHNCC Carol Nimmo CCTT/NTBCC
Angus Hardie CCTT/LL CC Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Steve Jackson TT Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Rob Leech TT

It was noted that Don Giles replaces Rob Levick, who has resigned from LHNCC.

2             Apologies
Mike Trotter Formerly of Trams Team Chris Wilson Trams Team
3             Update/queries CCTT

See also some answers to queries provided by Trams Team (TT) ahead of the meeting: item 9 below.

3.a         Diversions and ‘alternative routes’ in NTBCC area:  details of routes, modelling, controls, mitigation measures?

M Birch noted that recently he saw on Queen St signs stating that Leith Walk is closed: drivers should take an alternative route’, and that this signage is not new. His concern is that as traffic-levels return to normal, traffic is being encouraged to go from Queen St into residential areas. Hence his questions are

  • Is this the actual plan?
  • Is there signage further along these diversions to guide traffic to where it should go?
  • What monitoring and mitigations are in place?
  • What restrictions are there, e.g. to prevent HGVs going onto setted route? (Cf damage to East London St by buses?)
  • In general, how can this be prevented from becoming an issue?

R Leech stated that he has questioned the ‘ad-hoc’ nature of this signage: they are ‘half-on, half-off’ the pavement, which should not occur. Hence he has raised this issue with relevant staff.

  • He understands that the signs are to direct traffic to use Easter Rd, but this is not actually stated on the signage. Hence he recognises these are valid concerns. However, he cannot state exactly what the plans are.
  • He asked for details of actual incidents, and stated that it is not possible to make traffic use certain routes – it can only be encouraged to do so.

C Nimmo stated that if NTBCC had known of the diversionary routes, it would have attempted to ensure mitigation is in place. For example, it had done so for Albany St during the work on York Place. However, this time, there has been no previous notice to NTBCC of these diversions. This contrasts with Easter Rd and Bonnington Rd being diversions for traffic that would use Leith Walk – these roads were resurfaced so that they were ready for diverted traffic.

C Nimmo asked whether traffic-modelling has been completed for the diversions from Queen St,noting again that NTBCC had not been informed She suggested that there are several routes from Queen St to Bonnington Rd: use of these is contingent on drivers’ local knowledge. She noted that NTBCC has been asked at least three times about diverted/extra traffic using Bellevue Rd. This includes buses and lorries ferrying spoil from the tram-works. There is ‘disgruntlement’ about vibration and noise from extra, large vehicles going over the sleeping policeman on Bellevue Rd.

  • M Birch to email details of concerns etc to TT via H Tobermann
  • S Jackson/TT to investigate how Easter Rd and Bonnington Rd can be added to signage
3.b         2-way traffic in Haddington Place

C Nimmo noted that bus-traffic is turning from Elm Row to Annandale St via Haddington Place, en route to Bonnington Rd

3.c         Leith Walk and side streets: ‘wild-west’ parking (at bus stops crossings), pavement parking, double parking, ambiguous disused bus bus bays, missing double red lines: enforcement and additional TTROs

H Toberman noted TT’s comment on illegal parking in item 9 below. He suggested that it is hard to take action against pavement-parking, due to ‘weak’ Scottish Government (SG) legislation. However, in Pilrig St, cars are being parked where ‘previously-repaired double-red lines are not being extended’, e.g. in a now-disused bus-stop, causing tailbacks.

HT noted that he has spoken with a parking attendant (PA); she told HT she cannot enforce where painted lines are absent. Hence HT stated that the bus-stop noted above needs such lines. The PA also old HT that there is much double-parking in Albert St. She can enforce against this in the section near Leith Walk, but not in the designated parking-bays further along Albert St. Hence can TT obtain TTROs to enable appropriate enforcement?

R Leech responded that there is an ongoing issue with illegal parking on Leith Walk, and with vehicles pulling onto footways off the running-lane to use shops. TT is trying to tackle this issue. TTROs [alone] do not prevent some people from acting illegally, so other tactics are needed.

  • Hence TT needs to educate businesses to get delivery-drivers to use the logistics hubs, rather than pavement-park.
  • 4 enforcement-officers are having some effect, but not enough. Hence collaboration with other Officers is needed, as is communication via social media that pavement-parking holds up traffic and may be very dangerous.
  • Action: HT to send relevant details to R Leech/TT
3.d         Tailbacks caused by coned-off overtaking areas at bus stops on Leith Walk

H Tobermann noted that Heras fencing at bus-stops has been indented into the tram work-site to enable traffic to pass stopped buses. Such running-lane areas are now coned off, so when buses are stopped, tailbacks develop.

  • S Jackson responded that fencing has not been moved, but TT has temporarily placed cones to reduce incidents of speeding (not just by cars) on the running-lane during times of less traffic. That is, TT is using stopped buses to slow traffic.
  • H Tobermann stated that this would also delay subsequent buses. He asked what ‘traction’ TT had with police about this.
  • S Jackson noted that TT is discussing with the police how they can help in this matter.
  • Action: community councils to engage with police about this at CC meetings
3.e         Signalling enclosures taking too much pedestrian space

H Tobermann noted that traffic-lights at pedestrian Crossings on Leith Walk have now been enclosed in red fencing, taking up space that pedestrians need.

  • Action: S Jackson/TT to investigate alternative options
3.f          No dedicated cycle lanes for Lindsay Road, North Leith Sands, Melrose Drive, Sandpiper Drive and most of NE Ocean Drive (and no reply since 25 June to emailed query)

J Marlborough noted difficulties in LHNCC’s area over lack of space for cycle-lanes and for ‘social distancing’. For example,

  • There is much car-parking by shops on Lindsay Rd, hence severely limiting space for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Also, there is poor marking of cycle-routes on Ocean Drive, with bus-stops and bins etc narrowing this route.
  • Pedestrians are being endangered by speeding cyclists outside Ocean Terminal.

D Giles suggested that solutions need to be found before a major incident occurs.

R Leech responded that TT takes such matters seriously, but they must be viewed relative to previous conditions, the demand for cycle-measures here (e.g. compared with Leith Walk) and the lack of space to implement any further provision.

  • Action: TT to consider possible improvements to signage and delineation
3.g         Trams to Newhaven website documents 2/7/29: Landscape designs – Ocean Terminal: proposed removal of small park area (not previously highlighted to LHNCC)

J Marlborough stated that gardens at Ocean Terminal (OT) have been a very popular ‘haven’ during lockdown, and that bushes here help tackle emissions. (C Nimmo later noted that such green areas are at a premium due to lockdown.) JM noted:

  • Previous versions of landscape-design information on the TT website did not include changes here.
  • New versions, added 2020_07_02, showed proposed removal of trees, gardens being replaced by paving etc.
  • Ocean Terminal has informed here that such changes are TT’s decision.

S Jackson and R Leech responded:

  • This land is owned and maintained by OT.
  • TT, under a legal agreement with OT, is undertaking public-realm works outside OT.

o     That there will be much change to public realm in this area as a result of trams being installed.

o     However, the design of public realm outside OT is decided by its owners, not by TT – TT has no sway on this design.

o     S Jackson is dealing with OT’s project manager about this work.

  • Action: S Jackson to ask OT if he can pass relevant contact-details to JM.
3.h         Saturday working followed by slack days in the following week: more transparency by signalling this up front with reasons

R Leech stated that relevant contracts state that contractors can work 5·5 days per week. Work is permitted 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. If work outwith this is needed, TT must give 7 day’s notice.

  • J Marlborough suggested installation of signage stating when work during any part of weekends will occur.
  • S Jackson stated that TT will notify if work will be outwith the 5·5 days. He gave an example of when this happened.
  • H Tobermann suggested that TT needs to communicate better if there is no work on a Monday following work on Saturday
  • Action: TT to do this.
3.i          Design progress for slab outside 129 Leith Walk

H Tobermann noted that this building is susceptible to vibration damage from construction-traffic and passing trams.

  • S Jackson responded that TT will undertake monitoring for the next 18 months.

o     There is one outstanding technical matter: the type of slab to be installed. This will be resolved in the next 2 weeks.

3.j          More pro-active role for logistics hub staff: advising delivery drivers and removing packaging from pavement

H Tobermann stated that logistics-hub staff should be empowered to report pavement-parking, and to speak to relevant shop-owners. These staff should also be able to act if delivery-pallets are left overnight outside shops, blocking pavements.

  • R Leech noted earlier discussions on this (item c above). He added that

o     TT is protective of its staff, including these staff who have a ‘really tough’ ‘thankless’ job.

o     despite inevitable occasional errors, TT is receiving positive feedback about this topic.

  • Action: TT to act on the pallet issue.
3.k         More designated loading bays (McDonald Road, outside Scotmid by Pilrig)

H Tobermann stated that shops on the west side of Leith Walk are having difficulty interacting with logistics hubs, so delivery-drivers are using side-streets (for example Pilrig St, McDonald Rd). He observed that there might be 3 logistics-hub staff, all busy with one matter, in which case drivers will not wait. His suggested solutions are:

  • better communication/signage
  • legally banning unwelcome parking
  • installing a loading-bay outside the Scotmid.
  • Action: TT to reinforce to businesses to that logistics hubs exist and should be used
3.l          Additional matters raised by Leith Links CC representatives

A Mackenzie noted

  • There is conflicting information on whether any parking and loading are allowed on Constitution St.
  • There are temporary traffic-lights at Queen Charlotte St/Constitution St junction but this junction isn’t yet fully functional.

o     How long will this lack of full functionality remain?

o     Can there be signage about this?

o     Is the pavement block to pedestrian access on the west side (going toward Baltic St) temporary?

o     Is a timeline/schedule for these works available anywhere?

S Jackson responded that

  • the block is temporary.
  • The contractors will install community engagement notice-boards, which will be updated regularly. This should answer the other questions/issues. Examples of such boards are in place on Leith Walk.

o     A Hardie suggested that such communications should include relevant graphics.

4             Update TT
4.a         Progress made and issues encountered since last CCTT/TT meeting

S Jackson noted that work is progressing on/at Leith Walk, Constitution St, Ocean Terminal and Newhaven.

  • The swept-path/utilities and excavation work is almost finished at OT and Newhaven.

o     These areas will be handed over to the infrastructure and systems contractors in the next month.

  • There are two ‘utility hotspots’ on Constitution St: at Baltic St and Tower St, involving a number of utility-diversions.
  • There is the archaeological work at South Leith Parish Church.
  • Recent work on Leith Walk has focussed on site-setup and clearance, and planing the road-surface to enable the start of excavation.

o     There is currently much work at the LW/Annandale St junction to enable buses to use this junction in both directions.

  • There have been no unexpected problems.
4.a.i        Bridge over rail-line at Shrub Place

H Tobermann asked how the currently exposed pipe here would be covered.

  • S Jackson responded that TT is discussing this with Scottish Water – the pipe is as SW main. It will not be an issue once construction is complete, but is now exposed as TT investigates possibly diverting it to accommodate the running-lane.
4.b         Dashboard (add parking enforcement stats: parking attendant hours and tickets)

R Leech confirmed that the dashboard is only shared with the TT board and CCTT. It is updated monthly. Highlights include:

  • Design statements are 100% complete.
  • Developed designs are 87% complete.
  • Detailed designs are 6% complete
  • All of these statistics are at TT predicted.
  • The progress route-map shows that most of the route is currently at excavation and utilities stage.

o     RL suggested adding this map to the TT website.

  • H Tobermann requested that the dashboard is shared with CCTT a few days in advance of these meetings.
4.c         Plans for next 30 days: construction, TM measures and TROs

S Jackson stated that work over the next month will be similar to the past month:

  • Excavation-works on LW will expand from Annandale St.
  • Drainage and ducting work will be undertaken at Ocean terminal and Newhaven.
  • Utility work on Constitution St will progress, along with archaeology work.

SJ noted that the TRO will come out for statutory public consultation and the end of September.

  • Relevant drawings are on the TT website.
  • Action: CCTT members to examine these.
4.d         Plans beyond (and latest projected completion dates for key phases and overall project)

No discussion

4.e         Mike Trotter, contacting TT

R Leech noted that M Trotter has left TT to pursue other consultancy interests.

  • TT will inform CCTT as soon as a replacement has been appointed.
  • Due to other senior staff being on leave, S Jackson will be TT’s point of contact next week.

o     Issues can also be emailed to the TT website – but please cc S Jackson.

5             Progress of reviews of pedestrian space / two-way cycle path plans on Leith Walk:
5.a         Typical drawings
  • H Tobermann noted that he had received drawings stating the widths of the cycle and pedestrian lanes on Leith Walk.

o     S Jackson stated that these measurements were recently taken on-site.

  • HT noted that the absence of width-data between Pilrig St and Balfour St.

o     Action: S Jackson to find and forward the relevant drawing to HT/CCTT.

  • HT noted some issues where cyclists need to cross junctions, including bins and other obstacles that will make cyclists use pedestrian areas.

o     He will visit the site tomorrow with TT representative Kris Cameron.

o     S Jackson noted that Spokes and Living Streets had visited the site this week, so an action-plan has been developed.

o     C Encombe stated that there is a lack of clear, precise directions/information, implying that actions are optional rather than necessary (e.g. implying that pavement-parking is allowed). However, the path-widths are good.

o     She noted that there were few cyclists using the cycle-path.

o     Action: TT to consider possible improvements to signage

5.b         Drawings of key locations with known issues

No discussion

6             Progress of ‘quiet’ cycle route (Dryden to Balfour)

H Tobermann noted that

  • CCCT suggests this route is made with simple signage and road-markings.
  • TT have been advised by the Council’s Active Travel team to consult with Spokes about this route
  • Spokes prefers a cycle-route on Leith Walk
  • CCTT wishes there to be less pressure on Leith Walk
  • TT has stated that ‘there is not universal support for this from all quarters’
  • There is political support for this route.

Action: TT to continue to pursue this as a signage-project, not a complete build.

7             Any other business
7.a         Support for business, including adapting voucher system to lockdown

R Leech noted that this is a now difficult matter.

  • Prior to coronavirus, TT had a working scheme that considered how businesses were prior to the start of tram-work.
  • There are now other business-support schemes from Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government.
  • TT will still run its own business-support scheme, and the Itison voucher-scheme.
  • TT’s board has asked for an internal audit of business-support proposals, for sign-off end of August. Hopefully, roll-out will coincide with more people shopping and more businesses opening.

o     TT intends to ‘stay true to’ the previously-agreed scheme: there will be some changes but the objectives will remain unchanged,

8             Next meeting: 27 August 2020 (and then last THUs of month including NOV)

This schedule was agreed.

8.a         Face to face?

S Jackson stated that the next meeting is likely to be virtual.

8.b         Invite Spokes and Living Streets as observers?

It was agreed that this would happen only if they are definitely needed at any specific meeting.

  • R Leech stated that he gets a lot from the TT/CCTT meetings in their current format.
  • It was suggested that Spokes and Living Streets are asked to inform CCTT of their concerns.
8.b.i       Cycle-route extension from Leith Walk via the Kirkgate etc
S Jackson noted that one of his project managers is in charge of this project.
  • It is now in the ‘initial design’ stage, following on from last year’s options appraisal, and selection of a preferred option.
  • Action: S Jackson to give an update at the next CCTT/TT meeting.
9             Appendix: written answers supplied by TT

Ahead of the CCTT meeting please see below our response to the queries raised.

Regarding the quiet routes, we have explored the potential of a quiet cycle route along Hopetoun Street, Dryden Terrace, Dryden Street, Cambridge Avenue, Balfour Street and onwards through Pilrig Park to Bonnington Road. We have sought indicative costs for a signage strategy. Active Travel have commented on the route but express reservations on crossing Pilrig Street and Bonnington Road. They advise us to consult with Spokes which we intend to do. We can discuss this further at the meeting but as you will be aware there is not universal support for this from all quarters.

I also attach a copy of the dashboard we will be using at the meeting to talk through progress.

Query Response 
a) diversions and “alternative routes” in NTBCC area:  details of routes, modelling, controls, mitigation measures? There is no change in this area to the arrangements discussed at last month’s CCTT meeting so we are not sure what this query relates to. Maybe you can clarify this at the meeting and we can take it away.
b)                2-way traffic in Haddington Place Can you please clarify what your concern is? There is currently two way traffic on Haddington Place.
c) Leith Walk and side streets: ‘wild-west’ parking (at bus stops crossings), pavement parking, double parking, ambiguous disused bus bus bays, missing double red lines: enforcement and additional TTROs We agree that illegal parking remains a problem in the area but we are being as vigilant as possible. The matter was raised at APOG earlier this week and elected members were informed that the logistic hub staff will continue to keep businesses informed of the service on offer to reduce the number of vans parking illegally to make deliveries.

This is on top of the parking enforcement team carrying out regular checks. As you are aware the Council has four full time wardens patrolling the area 7 days per week and we receive weekly reports from the parking team which we have shared with you.

We are also increasing our messaging on social media to deal with this issue.

d)                tailbacks caused by coned-off overtaking areas at bus stops on Leith Walk These measures have been put in place for safety reasons and to control the speed of traffic in the running lane. This was in response to complaints received from stakeholders in the area about speeding vehicles.
e) signalling enclosures taking too much pedestrian space I assume that your query relates to Annandale Street where we are moving site enclosures for more direct crossing.
f) no dedicated cycle lanes for Lindsay Road, North Leith  Sands, Melrose Drive, Sandpiper Drive and most of NE Ocean Drive (and no reply since 25 June to emailed query) Lyndsay Road, we have endeavoured to replicate existing cycling infrastructure where possible, as there were no dedicated cycle lanes on Lindsay road we have not installed any, we have however kept the running lane widths a suitable size to allow for cyclists and added signage to ensure drivers are aware of cyclists sharing this route. The ramp section from Lindsay road to Melrose drive that gave access to the dock area from the North Fort street bridge was closed as part of the main TM and the route diverted to exit at the junction of (old) Lindsay road, additional warning signs were installed at that location again to warn both drivers and pedestrians of the change.

North Leith sands does not lend itself to a separate cycleway as it forms part of the diversion route and must remain wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic suitable for HGV and bus use.

Sandpiper drive/Melrose drive as far as ADM mill again had no separate cycling infrastructure prior to our TM being installed, some sections are wider and there is the potential to review cycling provision however as we have made significant changes to the road layout this may not be possible.

Melrose drive, again no real cycling provision prior to the TM installation bar a small section of shared footway at the side of ocean terminal, a section at the graffiti wall which didn’t link with anything else. Additional warning signs have been added, we have widened the shared pedestrian/cycle diversion to increase the provision for vulnerable users.

Ocean Drive, in front of Ocean Terminal, we have maintained the shared cycle/foot way opposite ocean terminal throughout this phase of work. We have added shared space signage to reinforce this as well. Unfortunately, where cyclists ignore this route and use the frontage of Ocean Terminal, we have no power to stop them.

g) Trams to Newhaven website documents 2/7/29: Landscape designs – Ocean Terminal: proposed removal of small park area (not previously highlighted to LHNCC) I suggest we discuss this on Thursday evening and you can clarify what the issue is. Maybe you can mark up a drawing for me and send it over ahead of the meeting.
h)                Saturday working followed by slack days in the following week: more transparency by signalling this up front with reasons Saturday morning working is permissible under the contract and was always envisaged. If we have to work outside the standard hours there is provision to do so but we have to provide 7 days notice.
i)  design progress for slab outside 129 Leith Walk We are in contact with the owner of the adjacent building and will progress the matter with him directly.
j)  more pro-active role for logistics hub staff: advising delivery drivers and removing packaging from pavement Your suggestion that the logistic hub staff need a more pro-active role is at odds with what I am hearing. Time and again we are getting very positive feedback from the local community about the staff, who are doing a very difficult job, going the extra mile. I am happy to discuss this at the meeting.
k)                more designated loading bays (Mcdonald Road, outside Scotmid by Pilrig Can you please clarify if you are talking about permanent or temporary design?

 

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