Skip directly to content

Fail to plan really is plan to fail


What is happening to Edinburgh is very sad.  

What was one of the most liveable of cities is slowly being sacrificed on the altar of an unworkable idea.

 The problem is not the 'temporary' period of the works but the permanent aftermath following construction ---look at the plans (mentioned by others in comments to the article above) and  the problems are obvious.  

 Read STAG 2003 planning and feasibility report to see 60% of our Citiy's residential streets can expect an increase in traffic DUE to the tram being introduced.

With all the noise, pollution, bad health effects and other small degradations to everyday life that will bring.  

Blaming all this then on the traffic itself , the Council's preferred tactic these days, is like blaming the rain for the fact that the walls are running with water and the floor inches deep in a flood, rather than their failure to repair the roof properly and clear the gutters.

The most deceitful part of OUR tram project is that while the PR spin boasts of it's Green credentials, and much is made of how much better Princes Street will be when empty of traffic, this is not being acheived by solving the problem of traffic but by moving it all out of the way from that street, and some other main thoroughfares and squashing it into residential streets like Albany Street and Abercromby Crescent.

But the STAG 2003 prediction that over 60% of households in the city would see more pollution (ie more traffic , noise, degradation) shows traffic will increase in far more streets than the handful actually physically located alongside those streets 'cleansed' by the tram tracks.

At present the Council are refusing to acknowledge this and continue painting the problem as one 'just for the construction period', affecting a few streets 'where well off people just don't want to have to put up with traffic' and whose critics are 'addicted to their cars and selfishly won't consider giving them up'.

Each of these is untrue and because people within the administration are aware that they are untrue they are effectively lies.

Traffic comprising buses, vans, lorries, HGVs, LGVs, Taxis and even some of the car journeys each day, are vital to the commercial and business life of the city---they are not all fat cats popping to a shop a few hundred yards away and school runs in Chelsea Tractors---some are of course, but not all by any means.

Their own reports show that the result of their wilful planning blindness in respect of 'what happens to the traffic we force out?' is that it goes through more and more residential streets----it is obvious that when roads like Great Stuart Street or Albany Street are gridlocked with idling traffic that this traffic, like water trickling through sand, will percolate through streets in a wider and wider area.

To quote other cities, such as Rheims, Barcelona, Montpellier, Melbourne et al thaty often have specifically catered for vital traffic BEFORE building trams, and continue to plan for traffic ALONGSIDE the tram, is dishonest.

Our response has been to ignore a problem we felt too difficult and too expensive to address, and because of that, ever since, try and simply deny it exists even as the evidence of it's effects begin to appear before us.

Ours is not a failure of  imagination, ambition, hope, and reach, the familiar and fashionable adjectivesof  aspirational press releases, our Council have plenty of those as they gaze heavenward towards an ever blue sky (well, perhaps, just recently not quite so blue!)

Our failure is in areas like commonsense planning , attending to detail, taking account of geographic and topographic reality as it is in our City and not as we would ideally like it to be,  and considering our grasp before we  extend our reach;.

The boring and unfashionable parts of any undertaking.

Return to that STAG 2003 report and the graphic on the front cover and have a look at the two carriage tram, the line indicating trees and the absence of overhead wires and poles.  That is a picture of the tram in a city like Rheims, similar in many wasy to Edinburgh---in our city thousands of mature trees have had to be sawn down simply because the overhead wires are threatened by them--the iconic views in the city centre are blocked for generations of photographers to come...and in it's effects on the home lives and health of people who live in Edinburgh the cover should be anything other than green.

To take one of those 'aspirational adjectives' beloved of politicians and bureaucrats alike, our failure is a failure of courage.


To be aware of the full extent of the potential disaster awaiting us yet continue to press ahead chaotically, simply because the original problem was deemed too expensive to acknowledge, let alone address, is just cowardly.