Frequently Asked Questions
Q: You are a bunch of people who don't want traffic down your streets that other people have to put up with, you're just Nimbys?
#If this was a case of just our two streets being rammed with traffic for the sake of a Tram Project that would deliver great benefits for the city then that criticism may have force. But the Council's own figures showed that the project would increase pollution for over well half of the households in the city, that is not a NIMBY position.
Q: You are well educated people from an upmarket area who want your streets to be preserved and someone else to suffer who may not have your money and benefits of being able to call on scientists and experts from your neighbourhood to make the arguments?
#We are the canaries in the mine here for many other people..... we are the first but we may not be the worst, and many more will follow. Clearly there are not 139,500 households in our relatively short couple of streets ..the 139,000+ households that the council report states will be affected (see above) will include large numbers from many other areas, and areas miles from any tramline.
Q: Our council is there to represent us, while you are an unelected bunch of people fighting a cause that the council have rejected, why can't you accept that?
#We tried to work through the council for a number of years before starting to go public. We are ordinary people, we have no real organisation no funds and no political affiliation. Trying to awaken people to the true nature of the problems that will arrive as the Tram project continues is time consuming but we feel the problem is so acute we can't just step back and watch it happen.
# We don't believe we do know more than anyone else.
But we do feel the Tram project has become so important to so many in positions of authority that there is now a real 'finish at any cost' mentality which is pushing the project ahead without any regard for health of p[eople.
The fact is that pollution that many tourists and shoppers were exposed to for a short time in Princes Street and other streets, is being diverted into residential streets, where fewer people are exposed for a much longer time. These are people who live in the city, this cannot be right.
Q: The tram project IS now getting built so why not just accept it--the city need to put this behind itself and move forward?
# We feel that ' the more we build the worse it gets', not the better it gets. So by pressing on ever more deserately with a blighted project we aren't putting this behind us but instead ploughing on and on into an ever worse crash down the line. Leaving to one side, the moral and ethical side of carrying on and knowingly creating pollution amongst citizens, there is the inevitability of massive additional costs falling onto the city, whether to 'solve the problem' at some stage in the future, or in contingent liability costs such as increased medical costs and even litigation by people, and the families of people, affected.
#Because it is the tram that is displacing the traffic into unsuitable, narrower, twisty residential roads.
It is possible to have 'The Tram' and NOT do this, but for some reason the Council remain committed to a policy of 'no changes to the project.' when very practical changes could make a big difference.
Traffic is a problem for all towns and cities across Europe but only in Edinburgh is a major public transport project being pushed through where the effects of the displaced traffic are being totally ignored, and where they are actively making the problem worse. You cannot make a bad project 'good' by simply ignoring the bits you don't like.
# This is one of the most cynical of questions we get asked because if a congestion charge is created to reduce unnecessary traffic then of course we are for it, we don't need to create illness amongst children and even deaths amongst vulnerable people to create the need for one.
But the last time Edinburgh tried to impose one however, it was more about creating even more income for the admistration, possibly to justify their own salaries, who knows, and wasn't about reducing traffic, and of course it was rejected.
If the council want a congestion charge to reduce unnecessary traffic then left them propose one, but that should stand or fall on it's merits, not because they are creating illness and even potential deaths in order to justify road pricing and make the case so compelling.
Of course the problem is that IF traffic is reduced by a congestion charge then that may have effects on many shops and other businesses, so there is a balance to be struck, but that's the case whether we have a tram or not.
The initial promise was that the tram would reduce traffic because 'car drivers would switch to the tram', the Council report (link to Stag2003) was clear this would be very minimal if at all, indeed in their wildest dreams the economic uplift provided by the tram would be so great that the extra car and delivery lorry journeys etc would ensure the total number of journeys actually increased. In any scenario the drop was expected to be very small and reversed by general populations increases expected. But that hasn't stopped supporters within the administration continuing to peddle this line.
It is just another sign of the complete failure of the project that it will lead to real absolute increases in both traffic in over half the residential streets of the city at levels not before seen, and in addition the pollution that these vehicles will create.
The same number of vehicles will create more pollution because they are stopping, starting and crawling along streets that cannot handle the flows as easily as the main streets, which will be standing largely empty.
It is also a fact that the people affected will be the most vulnerable and most at risk as the people who spend most time in their homes and around their streets are the very young, babies and their parents or carers, and the older people of Edinburgh.
Q: The tram is going to be built and if there are the problems you say, than after it is built we can see them and address them then?
Right now most of us believe this will be the justification most likely to be relied upon by the council in the event that they are forced to face up to the implications of what is happening. " Get it done and then see what the problems are.'
If this were only a matter of wasting more and more money than maybe we could let problems be created and then get around solving them in time.
But for those people exposed to the pollutants for the ten or twenty years or even more it will take for the necessary process to get under way, they won't be able to get back their health, or lives in the worst case scenarios.
There are some things more important than money and certainly more important than pushing on with a face saving excercise with a project that is failed now, will remain failed whatever happens during the next few years and will continue to fail and consume scarece cash resources throughout it's entire operational life.
Take a look at the 'How we might put it right' page for more on this.
The tram project does not need to end, but we believe it certainly needs to be reconfigured.
This doesn't have to be abandonment--but it cannot be 'press on regardless.'
But whether the project is abandoned, which we do not wish to see, or redesigned especially on the roadway sections, which we do wish to see; the main thing that needs to happen is the Council first leave behind the old mindset and start putting the city as a whole first and the tram second, not the other way around.
But the thing we want to see most is, like more and more people, a judicial inquiry. We believe this is the only way to get all the facts into the public arena, and until that is done, there is no chance of creating the new start that the city is crying out for.
Completing the project as presently designed is never going to do that - a new start for the city requires new thinking; if we see that new thinking then anything is possible and we can begin the process of really rebuilding the City's international reputation which has taken enormously significant knocks in the last decade or so.
But without a really heartfelt change of direction on behalf of those presently committed to simply getting 'it finished' then real change will remain impossible.
This is not just going to come right on it's own.