Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting, 29 April 2021

Minutes of the Community Councils Together on Trams/Trams Team meeting
(Construction Phase) via Google Meet on Thursday 29 April 2021 at 5:30pm

Actions and decisions are red italic. ‘TT’ means ‘Trams Team’. Names are sometimes abbreviated to initials.

1 Attendance

Robert Armstrong TT Steve Jackson TT Bruce Ryan CCTT minutes secretary
Mike Birch CCTT/NTBCC Rob Leech TT Harald Tobermann CCTT/LCCC
Don Giles CCTT/LHNCC Andrew Mackenzie CCTT /LLCC
Angus Hardie CCTT/LLCC Jennifer Marlborough CCTT/LHNCC

2 Apologies

C Nimmo CCTT/NTBCC

3 Update CCTT

3.a Pre-submitted queries, and TT’s responses

Reference Category CCTT query/issue, documents TT initial response
0421.1 construction number of contractors’ staff (including all sub-contractors) on site by day for last 30 days (or beginning of the year)? % construction and investigative? The construction metrics are provided on the dashboard report provided in terms of key metrics of installed infrastructure. April & Cumulative person hours worked here
·   H Tobermann: this question is about understanding how busy things are, i.e. how many people are on site. It’s based on data (pie-charts below) supplied by Trams team (TT), and my analysis thereof (tables below charts).

Person hours on site (all of project)
Person hours and days on site

Cumulative to date (since Nov19) April 2021 Average per month
MUS 180,590 9,501 down 10,033
SFN 317,205 34,400 up 17,623
Siemens 18,054 1,089 up 1,003
T&T 55,277 3,571 up 3,071
515,849 44,990 up 28,658
Person hours on site (April 2021)
Person hours and days on site

Cumulative to date (since Nov19) April 2021 Average per month 
MUS 22,574 1,188 down 1,254
SFN 39,651 4,300 up 2,203
Siemens 2,257 136 up 125
T&T 6,910 446 up 384
66,481 5,624 up 3,582
    • HT: In this question, ‘investigative’ is about staff who measure, plan, dig trial holes etc. ‘construction’ is about staff who install actual infrastructure. The aims are to understand (1) how busy periods are; (2) how many staff drive into the area. Our concern is that their parking takes space from residents.
    • Action: TT to consider the above questions.
0421.2 quality of life, traffic impact what are the commuting/parking arrangements for contractors’ site staff? how are these enforced? There are no specific arrangements in place. Contractors park in site compounds/ main office where required. We monitor contractor parking through our COCP audits that are carried out on a weekly basis and any non-conformance reported to the contractors
  • R Leech: Currently, government guidance discourages people from using public transport, and encourages them to use private transport. There are site compounds around the main office. Is there a specific problem?
    • HT: I have often seen contractor vehicles parked in side-streets (e.g. McDonald Rd, Stead’s Place) to the west of Leith Walk. Are contractors being given guidance? There is evidence of the trams project taking more land than needed for actual investigation and construction.
    • RL: TT does not pay for extra traffic management to create parking-places. There may be instances of fenced-off sites not being worked on at times. In such cases, contractors may park here.
    • S Jackson: TT audits weekly against the constructor-practice code, including parking. Non-compliance is dealt with.
    • HT: can TT share an example audit?
    • o Action: TT to act on such specific problem-parking.
0421.3 making good when will the temporary bike lane markings and the marks left by temporary bollards be removed and by whom? These will be removed as part of the public realm works/ footway finishing works in the area
  • HT: it appears that marks on pavements, especially from bollards, are not easily removed.
    • SJ: such marks will be removed
0421.4 design, quality of life further detailed queries regarding ground borne noise and vibration along the whole route (see document) These queries have been referred to Atkins for a response
  • Action: TT to respond to CCTT when Atkins has reported
0421.5 traffic impact, quality of life concerns about the level of vibration caused by buses that have been diverted from Leith Walk and now go along London Road and Easter Road. especially at a new temporary bus stop in Leopold Place (see document) To be investigated internally within CEC and report back mid May.
  • R Armstrong: CEC needs to investigate, including consideration of capital maintenance aspects.
    • M Birch: this is about road-surfaces bearing more traffic than usual, hence becoming more worn. Residents have undertaken some interesting investigations: Problems appear to be mostly related to the temporary stop. It would be worthwhile validating the residents’ findings. Currently, twice the normal number of buses go via Leopold Place.
    • RA: I have very recently seen report by residents.
    • Action: TT will also consider noise and vibration problems – they are becoming frequent and widespread.
    • HT: might problems in Leopold Place be exacerbated by cellars?
0421.6 design Why are two protected trees (ID tags 0396 and 0395) missing from design drawings (5149899-ATK-ETE-DRG- EN-00009, 5149899-ATK-ETE-DRG-EN-00010), especially in the context of the recent Screening Request 21/01227/SCR | EIA regarding the tree with ID tag 0395? These tree at 129 Leith Walk have been instructed to the contractor to be retained. Design is being updated on that basis
  • HT: Is it correct that a loading-bay here is to be moved?
    • SJ: inaudible answer – clarification to be sought at next meeting.

3.b Other queries

3.b.i Traffic management places to do with moving tram stop from York Place to Picardy Place

  • S Jackson: this is related to construction, not TROs
  • RL: TT is working with contractor to reduce timescale for this part of construction. TT then needs to brief CEC staff and transport convenors, then inform more widely.
  • MB: TT had said that such plans would emerge in March, but have been delayed twice. Please can TT and I discuss this – I will be happy to follow TT’s current confidentiality requirements.
  • RL: apologies for putting you in a difficult position.
  • Action: RA and MB to have a non-disclosable conversation this week

3.b.ii Caithness paving slabs on Constitution St and Balfour St

  • J Marlborough: will these slabs that have been uplifted be replaced? We prefer retention of such built heritage.
  • SJ: Skilled laborers will replace the slabs – they have been retained so what was originally present will be reinstated.
  • SJ/RL: roads will be resurfaced kerb-to-kerb on the main route. Footways will match or be better than current materials. Cobbles can’t be laid right next to tracks. TT can supply relevant drawings showing materials.

3.b.iii Condition of tracks

  • J Marlborough: there is concern that tracks are rusty.
  • RL: This rust has no structural significance. Rail grinding and trams running on rails will remove surface rust.

3.b.iv Traffic-displacement on Easter Rd, Duke St, Lochend Rd

  • A Hardie: Lights on Lochend Rd are malfunctioning, leading to major problems.
  • RA: I will raise this again with CEC – it has been raised several times already. CEC has installed extra light-heads to improve safety. It takes about 10 lights to get from Vanburgh Place to Duke St.
  • RA: these are permanent lights (not battery-powered), and are controlled by CEC traffic signals team. The lights are functioning technically, but need to be resequenced.
  • RL: The travel hierarchy prioritises cyclists and pedestrians over cars, so there may be no scope for changes.
  • HT: I have cycled here: cyclists aren’t gaining because they still need to wait at lights. I have recently seen a temporary light not functioning, presumably due to a flat battery. How often are such lights checked?
  • RA: they are checked nearly every evening. I have seen this in operation.

3.b.v Diesel generators on Ocean Drive near the Cala development

  • J Marlborough: these generators are on all the time, and are very noisy. Residents are unhappy about this.
  • RA: I’m engaging with CEC environmental health about this.
  • Action: RA to report back to CCTT

3.c TRO-related queries

3.c.i TROs and landscape design proposals

  • A Mackenzie: Is deadline for responding 13 May? Is this about road-changes only, not landscaping?
  • SJ: there will not be further consultation on landscaping
  • AM: how can we have further influence? Leith Links CC is soon to meet with CEC director of place (DoP). LLCC is concerned about cumulative effects of trams, Spaces for People (SfP), low traffic neighbourhood, controlled parking zone etc. We feel uninformed about how these will all work together – hence the concern about not being able to influence the TROs etc.
  • AM: can TROs be deferred until bas Ordnance Survey maps have been updated?
  • RL: TROs have now been issued according to statute. This is part of critical path, and TT has consulted extensively, including these meetings, and responded to some significant queries. TT cannot stop now without exceeding its schedule and budget. The cumulative effects you mention reflect a bigger issue that TT cannot control.
  • RL: However, representations about the TRO will go to CEC members, as required by the Tram Act. TT will follow whatever is decided by members. I understand there is a lot in progress just now, but caution against pausing.
  • J Marlborough: Until the trams are running, it is hard to decide other matters.
  • AH: we understand the tram project needs to proceed, and hence so do the TROs. However, other projects have their own inertia, but thinking about them together with trams is not clearly joined up. Should the other projects be paused so they can be considered with post tram traffic-flows etc? Otherwise it is hard to support the [tram] TROs.
  • RL: I understand these concerns, and would love to get the TRO process, and tram-construction, finished. It is right that you meet with CEC DoP to cover the macro-issue of so many interventions in Leith. TT will also meet with Hannah Ross, CEC senior officer for Trams and CEC DoP.
  • RA: I will represent TT at LLCC’s meeting with CEC DoP. I have already engaged with HR about this macro-issue.
  • HT: controlled parking zone (CPZ) has been part of the trams project from the very start. Leith Central CC wants the CPZ to come in as tram-construction finishes. Bin-reorganisation was also part of the tram project from the start. In my view, SfP came from nowhere, and is not as strategic as some other matters, so I would not mind if it pauses. Ditto low-traffic neighbourhoods.

3.c.ii Arthur St

  • HT: this street has a T-junction emerging onto the Balfour Place tram stop. Previously this street was one-way, from Leith Walk only. The TROs propose traffic could now turn left (only) from Arthur St onto Leith Walk, thus creating a rat-run that would bypass the lights on Pilrig St. Can this be stopped?
    • RA: I suggest you submit an objection via the TRO process. This would then be considered by CEC committee.
    • HT: should I send a draft submission to RA?
    • RA: please do, but please also send it to the TRO team.
    • Action: RL/TT: check technical/legal processes that would give effect to CEC’s decisions if they would change TROs.

3.c.iii Summary of meetings between CC representatives and Robert Armstrong

  • M Birch: you were due to produce this summary. One of my topics was the Baxter’s Place taxi-rank. This squeezes 2 traffic lanes into 1, potentially adding to congestion at Picardy Place. Hence NTBCC’s submission to the TRO process will ask, inter alia, whether the taxi-rank can be inset into the pavement, to maintain 2 traffic lanes here.
    • HT: the rank was inset before Picardy Place was remade.
    • J Marlborough: the trip with RA through the route was very useful, netting comments on a wide area.
    • Action: RA to circulate this summary to all CC reps.

3.c.iv Traffic flows, e.g. in Maritime Lane to Queen Charlotte St

  • A Hardie: it is difficult to understand this without seeing traffic modelling, so it’s difficult to make informed comment.
    • HT: I concur. Also, there may be conflicting desires, e.g. someone might want a loading bay, another tree. If A CC agree preferences about any matter, it will need to not comment (leaving this to concerned individuals).
    • A Mackenzie: there are rumours and concerns about buses on Constitution St. There are many snag-points IN LHNCC’s area. Hence it’s impossible to predict cumulative effects. Cumulative mapping of projects is needed.
    • RL: changes promoted in the TROs have already had two significant consultations, before the final business case was agreed. The first consultation facilitated significant push-back on the original plans, so large changes were made to plans. The changed plans (and budget) were then approved by CEC. There is now a TRO process to be followed, and people have the right to comment here. However, it cannot be said that there was no previous consultation.
    • HT: it’s hard to engage with hypotheticals. Can changes can be made if there are issues after construction?
    • RL: this is a good point – there may be unanticipated outcomes, or externalities may change. It’s important that changes required by these can be instituted via subsequent TROs etc.

3.c.v Further TRO questions

  • RA/RL: TT can help with technical queries, especially if this leads to fewer submissions to the TRO process.
    • MB: NTBCC does have further detailed questions. We understand that there was previous consultation, so scope for change is now limited. We understand that CEC may make changes in the future, if they are needed.
    • S Jackson: please send these questions to me – I’ll be happy to respond.
    • HT: RA’s summary will help with understanding of problems recurring in different CC areas.
    • Actions: MB to send SJ NTBCC’s draft submission, SJ to respond.

4 Update TT

4.a Summary of progress made by TT 25 March to 26 March (report by S Jackson)

  • Works progressing well at Lindsay Rd, including the retaining wall and lowering the road to make the Melrose Drive junction.
  • Construction of the substation on Melrose Drive has started.
  • Work is progressing on the stop at Ocean Terminal. Installation of the track-crossover here has started.
  • Installation of infrastructure at Ocean Drive continues. Work on the Victoria Dock bridge has started.
  • Drainage works at Stevedore Place are complete. Laying of track-slab has started.
  • At Constitution St, finalising of infrastructure continues between Bernard St and Constitution Place. Public-realm/finishing work will soon start.
  • Between Bernard St and Queen Charlotte St, track-work continues. TT is resolving an issue with utilities outside the tram-stop – it’s going through approvals just now.
  • Between Coatfield Lane and Leith Walk, there is good progress on the Constitution St wall. Infrastructure work continues in this very constrained area.
  • At the bottom of Leith Walk, preparatory work for diversion of a Scottish Gas main is in progress. This is possible now there is warmer weather
  • Further up Leith Walk, track-work continues. Utility work at the McDonald Rd junction is nearly finished
  • Track works continue up to London Rd

4.a.i Q&A

  • HT: on the west side of Leith Walk, pavements are narrowed and the cycle-lane has gone, yet there appears to be no progress. Why the delay?
    • SJ: public-realm/finishing works are happening here, When TT excavated here, it found very shallow services and foam-concrete fill. This has safety concerns, needing some redesign to try to avoid breaking the foam. Works wil progress in the next 2 weeks.
    • HT: does this mean TT’s investigations were less thorough for pavements than for the roads?
    • SJ: they were less extensive, due to TT envisaging use of existing footways.
    • HT: while I sympathise with TT encountering ‘historical’ problems, pedestrians are suffering very narrow pavements in busy areas. What if this recurs elsewhere?
    • SJ: TT now has a universal solution, so there should be no similar delays. The solution will not cause visible differences, but incorporates what is actually present. TT’s designers needed to check this will work.
    • SJ: the cycle-path will be lower than the footpath.

4.b TT actions from last meeting

  • Action: SJ to circulate note of his actions arising from the previous meeting.

4.c new issues/‘conflicts’ (if any) encountered by TT/contractors

  • No major issues or surprises were raised from seeing the relevant part of the dashboard.
    • SJ: there will, be preparatory work on the gas main (as mentioned above).
    • SJ: there will be some temporary traffic lights on Bonnington Rd and Easter Rd, due to needs to dig around a gas main. (This main emerges at Jane St.) This digging requires some localised temporary traffic management. TT will endeavour to maintain 2-way traffic here.

4.d Review of latest TT dashboards

Action: SJ/RL to circulate key metrics dashboard each month, and circulate this month’s KMs retrospectively

  • SJ: a monitor at Picardy Place may be miscalibrated – this is being investigated. There is monitoring along the entire route for the duration of the work.
    • Action: SJ to share locations of monitors

4.d.i Stakeholder communications (report by C Wilson)

  • 406 tickets this month (previous month ~350)
  • Average time to resolve ~89 hours (was ~83 hours), due to ~85 business continuity enquiries taking on average ~160 hours. These enquiries are subject to a robust process to confirm actual hardship.
    • HT: are any retail premises along the route closing? It was pleasing to see that many are open.
    • CW: not that I’ve been told. TT customer liaison officer also reports businesses being open.
  • Geographical clusters (since 1 April)
    • 50 tickets from north section (Lindsay Rd to Coatfield Lane)
    • 28 from south section
    • 8 re Leith Walk cycle lane
    • 6 re traffic management at Bernard St/Baltic St Junction
    • 5 re Stevedore Place (most from 1 resident)
    • 21 re Constitution St (4 re bins and street cleanliness. RA has engaged with CEC waste services about this. 6 re potential claims, 3 re Coatfield Lane)
    • 19 re Leith Walk (5 re TRO/post-construction, 4 re closures of side-streets)
    • 2 re Windsor St/London Rd/Montgomery St
    • 4 re Ocean Drive
    • 4 re Lindsay Rd
    • Action: CW to use the same categories each month, to facilitate understanding of trends and occurrences

4.e TT plans 26 April through to end of May and beyond

See section 4

5 Project timeline and any changes

5.a Changes to completion dates for key phases and the overall project

  • TT: no changes envisaged
  • HT: please supply a summary of what’s coming up in next 6 months, e.g. when Leith Walk will be flipped, when major junctions will close and open. This doesn’t need to be accurate to the nearest day.
    • CW: there is programme overview on TT website, but this is somewhat out of date.
    • SJ: TT will supply such information

6 AOB

6.a Leith Walk/London Rd TRO

  • M Birch: what’s the status of this TRO banning a left-turn?
    • SJ: it’s now part of the overall set of TROs. Hence the delay in issuing that set
    • M Birch: do comments on the LW/LR TRO need to be resubmitted to the overall TRO consultation?
    • Action: RA to check, and inform MB asap
    • Action: RA to check whether NTBCC will receive responses to its original comments as a statutory consultee.

6.b Open and closed issues

  • Action: CCTT to note whether its issues are open or closed.

6.c Lighting

  • HT: full CEC considered street-lighting for community safety. So what is status of street-lighting issues on L.eith Walk? That is, have the lights enquired about most meetings since the winter now repaired?
    • RA: there is a program to upgrade all lights in the area.
    • Action: RA to check about these specific lights

7 Date of next meeting

27 May 2021

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