Q: Then you'll be in favour of a congestion charge now?
# 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.