Community Councils Together on Trams: Minutes of meeting held on Wednesday 6 June 2019
Leith Links Community Council is a member of ‘Community Councils Together on Trams’ alongside Leith Central Community Council, Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council and New Town & Broughton Community Council. CCTT is the coalition of Community Councils who meet regularly to discuss, scrutinise and influence the intended continuation of the Edinburgh Tram system to Newhaven.
Actions and decisions are red italic.
|BAFO = best and final offer
|LLCC = Leith Links Community Council
|CCTT = Community Councils Together on Trams
|LW = Leith Walk
|CEC = City of Edinburgh Council
|NTBCC = New Town & Broughton Community Council
|CPZ = controlled parking zone
|OBC = outline business case
|CS = Constitution St
|POLHA = Port of Leith Housing Association
|ECI = early contractor involvement
|SPC = swept-path contract
|EIA = environmental impact assessment
|TAPOG = CEC’s tram all-party oversight group
|FBC = full business case
|TfE = Transport for Edinburgh
|ISC = infrastructure and systems contract
|TN = Trams to Newhaven project
|LCCC = Leith Central Community Council
|TRO = traffic regulation order
|LHNCC = Leith Harbour & Newhaven Community Council
|TT = trams team
TAPOG is CEC’s leader and vice-leader, CEC’s transport convenor and vice-convenor, and transport spokespersons from each party
2 Welcome, introductions
|CCTT minutes secretary
3 Update from CCTT: new question/queries
NB D Wraight provided responses in advance of the meeting.
It is sensible to CC emails to RL and/or DW to the TN email address, to allow for RL and DW being on holiday.
3.a Concerns about mooted tree removal between Manderston and Smith to facilitate Leith Walk lane closures during construction
3.a.i DW’s pre-meeting response
The project team has always stated that to accommodate the traffic management installation on Leith Walk, enabling works would be required to achieve the 3 lane closure, running lane and bus infrastructure. These works will predominantly be on the east side of Leith Walk however localised areas may be required on the west. As part of the development of traffic management through ECI this will be developed and briefed through our ECI meeting.
I have been in direct communication with a resident adjacent to Inchkeith House about the trees outside their property since last summer and gave them a commitment that we would try and protect these trees however I could not confirm this until the ECI period. We are now working with the contractor to develop this further and we can discuss further tomorrow.
The matter was discussed and RL reiterated that the projects default position is to avoid having to remove trees, however, there may be instances where this is unavoidable and in these cases the project will seek to replace the trees removed.
3.b Concerns about mooted rollout of tactile pavement/bike lane divider trialled at Shrub Place
3.b.i DW’s pre-meeting response
The original proposal as per the consultation drawings last year was that the cycleway was to tie into and match the existing Leith programme design. However, through the consultation various members of the public, the active travel community including Sustrans, Living Streets Edinburgh Access Panel, Spokes and Transform Scotland have stated they wish the new infrastructure to be grade separated similar to the Leith Street design. It will be good to understand the view of CCTT tomorrow evening.
CCTT is keen to ensure all key stakeholders have bought in to the surface finishes on the project and that the Edinburgh Access Panel is consulted fully. Concerns were raised by CCTT that the Leith Street works had taken a very long time and looked expensive. DW explained that the geometry on Leith Street is challenging and that the project will not face the same issues.
3.c Concerns about Easter Road damage to property and pollution during construction diversions
3.c.i DW’s pre-meeting response
Although traffic volumes are anticipated to increase on Easter Road due to diversions the effects of ground borne vibration from the carriageway is very unlikely to cause damage to properties. A number of studies have been undertaken by the Transport Research Laboratory, and none of those which I have read indicate any damage being experience in buildings as a result of ground borne vibration from the road.
BS7385 details that the threshold of significant effect is 10mm/s (peak particle velocity at building foundation) in relation to intermittent vibration but hen considering continuous vibration it is generally accepted that the guide values should be reduced by up to 59% (i.e. 5 mm/s for continuous vibration).
Research into this area has noted that the levels in buildings close to heavily trafficked roads rarely exceeds 2 mm/s and are typically below 1 mm/s.
In terms of pollution CEC’s scientific staff will continue to monitor air quality on Easter Road which will be supported by the project collecting proxy data.
HT noted that people can feel and see the vibrations, including on Pilrig St. They are concerned that individual buildings may be affected. AM noted that Constitution St residents are also feeling the vibrations.
RL responded that there are two topics: (i) additional traffic on Easter Rd, but this is much less than would cause damage to buildings; (ii) potential damage to buildings along the route from construction works such as piling.
Hence TT plans to externally survey all of the buildings on the route (not the side-streets) as they are now. In more sensitive areas, or in locations where work (e.g. piling, breaking up concrete slaps) is more likely to cause stronger vibrations, there may also be internal surveys. The survey will be done before construction starts. The method will be in place by the end of August. There will also be monitoring of vibrations: if they exceed certain thresholds, work will cease until suitable mitigation measures are found.
Piling for the central reservation masts will go as deep as is necessary. Where possible, the bases of masts will rest on bedrock. Where bedrock is too deep, they will be supported only by deep concrete foundations. (This is known as ‘gravity base’.) Hence ground investigations are currently under way to ascertain where bedrock-based and gravity-based work is needed, and hence the extent of utility diversions needed.
There was discussion of types of piling. The ‘screw’ type (‘continuous auger’) is used on softer ground. Rock augers are used to drill into rock.
If damage is caused, the owners will receive recompense from insurance placed directly by the council on behalf of the project. There are incentives within the insurance arrangements for the contractor to minimise damage.
DW noted that pollution monitoring on Easter Rd will include the continued use of existing monitors. In addition, TT will use proxy data, i.e. traffic speeds and volumes are accepted predictors of vehicle-caused pollution.
There was discussion of whether a bridge over the Powderhall rail line at Easter Road needs strengthening. If it does, this will be carried out by CEC as part of its normal roads obligation. It was noted that one arch of the bridge has already been strengthened with permanent scaffolding, and that pavements have been widened to move the main load away from the bridge edges. Concerning bridges on Leith Walk, although Atkins has already looked into whether they need strengthening, the contractor will need to undertake further investigations as part of the detailed design work.
3.d Removal of roundabout at the foot of Easter Road
AH and AM stated that LLCC and its residents are very concerned about this. AH acknowledged CEC’s response to such concerns, but stated that not all concerns had been alleviated. AH recognised that there needs to be a solution to the extra traffic during construction but suggested that the current plan for traffic-lights is not a long-term solution. DW responded that there is a desire to promote active travel, and that active-travel exponents (e.g. Sustrans, Spokes) had recently commended the current plans.
HT suggested that traffic will not flow around the roundabout as easily during tram construction as it does now. DW responded that TT initially modelled traffic during construction, and predicted problems at the existing roundabout due to increased northbound traffic not being able to get onto the roundabout due to heavy traffic also entering the roundabout from Lochend Rd travelling along Duke Street. Hence during construction, it would be necessary to replace the roundabout with a temporary signalised junction. DW then consulted with CEC traffic staff (e.g. road safety, active travel, safer routes to school), who have long wanted to improve this junction. Hence the ‘temporary’ signalised junction will become permanent due to CEC wishes, and according to CEC standards.
AH noted that there had been poor consultation/information about this project.
3.e Roadworks information
There was concern that roadworks signage does not inform when work will start or how long it will last. DW responded that TT is trying to give advance notice of ground investigation (GI) work, and that full information on such work is on TT’s website, that there has been ‘vast’ amounts of communication, and that there are limits on what can be done of 3-day pieces of work.
4 Update from TT team
4.a Progress on CEC work on multi-year environmental cost/benefits post tram
4.a.i DW’s pre-meeting response
I have previously discussed this will Hannah and I will ask her to respond separately to HT.
HT stated that he had previously been promised data. RL stated that HT/CCTT were due to provide specific questions. DW stated that at the previous meeting, this topic should ‘come off the table’ (see item 2.a of that meeting’s minutes). HT reiterated that he/CCTT wish to know what the predicted environmental gain from the tram project is. RL responded that TT is trying to minimise spend, and that this is not part of its planned spend. There was discussion of the aims and objectives of the tram project: RL acknowledged that environmental benefits are one part of the overall aim but that there are also other benefits arising from the project.
4.b Meeting with senior staff (both contractors) during EC]
TT wishes ‘to bring the contractor to this table’ but DW wishes to ‘bottom out’ other issues first. After that, TT will choose appropriate contractor representatives to attend these meetings. Action: TT to bring contractor rep to the next meeting.
4.c Update on ground investigation works
These are progressing according to the programme on TT’s website: work has started on Elm Row, and Constitution St. (This was the most difficult piece of traffic management.). There were no complaints here, and work finished today.
Unfortunately, the letter from TT implied that Constitution St work might take a month. RL agreed that this letter could have been clearer, and steps will be taken to avoid repetition of this issue.
HT asked about work on Leith Walk, near Brunswick St. DW explained that two trial holes are to be dug at Shrub Hill in the next week or so, that such holes will only be dug in the central reservation, and that lane-closures on wide streets are unlikely.
4.d Update on Edinburgh Street Design Guidance and latest bus stop/lane design additions
Atkins are carrying out a compliance check that the current design fits published Edinburgh guidelines. (Other guidelines are still in development.) This will be made public once DW has had time to read the report he received today.
4.e Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders
DW explained that these can last up to 18 months. TT will institute a ‘blanket’ TTRO to allow TT/the contractor to immediately change traffic management as reality requires. TT/the contractor will communicate exactly what it is going to do. Traffic management will still need approval, via the traffic management review panel.
4.f Utilities work embargo
An embargo on utilities work will be instituted in the same streets covered by the TTRO, to prevent other organisations disrupting TT work. This area will be added to the Scottish Roadworks Register, so utilities companies can easily know that the streets are under embargo, so they must contact the relevant roads authority (Edinburgh Council). They will then be informed that they must contact DW. TT is engaging with this holistically, covering the wide area that is likely to be affected by the tram work.
This follows the normal approval process in which council locality engineers can only approve works if they fit with what else is occurring. (If there are concerns, they can escalate these.)
To try to pre-empt emergencies, TT has had many conversations with utility companies to find what assets they have in the main arterial routes, and to pre-arrange appropriate actions. There will be constant monitoring by DW, locality engineers and the contractor.
HT requested that accurate (including accurate dates) signage is maintained daily, e.g. if signs are blown over at night, they are re-erected early the next day. DW stated that this will be undertaken by the contractor, with TT monitoring this. The contractor will have a traffic management manager, responsible for TM wherever the contractor works. Contractors are contractually obliged to take heed of weather warnings, and allocated needed resources, e.g. to re-erect signage. TT will have quality control inspectors who have traffic management experience: they will check site safety, including traffic management, daily.
There will be a phone-number and an email address for general and emergency communications, both staffed 24/7. Also, CCTT is welcome to contact DW at any time.
4.g Business logistics survey
This has been issued electronically, and so far has received 35 responses. The survey will be kept open for two more weeks. After this, TT will visit businesses to try to obtain 100% response rate, and hence gather all the information it needs to finalise the business support strategy. Visits will be undertaken by TT stakeholder liaison officers or skilled third-party professionals, to maintain good relationships between TT and businesses. Leith Walk and Constitution St businesses have already been contacted. There was discussion of the range of engagement by businesses, and their needs.
Logistics hubs locations are defined in the contract: they will be in side streets on the east of Leith Walk. Their locations mostly are available on the TT website, in the traffic management drawings. The look and feel of the hubs is to be decided.
Transport hubs are car parks, holding up to ~60 cars. There will be three at any time. However, these will move as work progresses. Indicative positions are available on the TT website.
4.h Bus diversions
DW has conversed with Lothian Buses to ascertain where LB believes buses will go, based on previous experience. The relevant roads have been assessed by TT and LB, to find potential issues. The capital roads team has also assessed these. This has led to some of the current road-resurfacing work.
LB will try to minimise route-changes. There will be stops along the diversions, despite previous poor experiences suffered by CCTT members. Changes will be subject to overview by the traffic management review panel. There is a series of meetings between CEC, LB, and the traffic management review panel.
HT reported he is now the chair of the Edinburgh Bus-Users Group. He asked when timetables will be available. DW responded that these cannot be made until traffic management has been approved. If normal stops are out of use, there will be signs stating where the nearest functional stop is. LB will also use its social media to publish these. DW acknowledged that passengers need information on changes asap, even though it cannot be published right now. TT has supplied the contractor with traffic management constraints, e.g. Pilrig St and McDonald Rd cannot be closed simultaneously. The contractor now has to develop traffic management details that follow these constraints. [Then LB can make divert its services according to these details.] There will be a minimum notice period for such changes. This is currently being discussed with LB and will be in line with their standard operating practice in other parts of the city.
HT reported that he has been told that LB has provisional tramwork diversion timetable information but will not yet publish it for reasons of ‘commercial confidentiality’. He also argued that any diversions should be constant throughout the construction period. RL confirmed TT has not received anything from LB and that one of the reasons for adopting the traffic management strategy was to provide certainty to the general public for longer periods of time than would otherwise be the case if traffic management were deployed in small areas.
J Marlborough reported that a map on TT’s website continually crashed. Action: TT to get this sorted.
4.i Bus trackers
DW has found that the current bus-trackers are obsolete, and that CEC has issued a tender for a new system. Once it is know what the new system will be, TT will liaise to ensure that whatever it does is compatible with the new system.
DW has met with CEC waste services to develop what will happen during the ECI period. A plan will be developed to maintain waste collection during construction. It would be best for Gareth Barwell (CEC waste services manager) to come to the August CCTT/TT meeting, by which time the temporary (i.e. during construction) plan has been developed.
5 CCTT/TT workstreams during ECI: update on progress/status
Covered in various items above
6 Meeting dates during ECI period
These dates were agreed: 27 June, 29 August, 26 September (last Thursdays of each month)