City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Trams - Gridlock and Financial Ruin

By actionman - Posted on 27 March 2012

Well it looks as though Edinburgh Council's Lib Dem/SNP administration has finally done for the city with its chaotic tram project and has finally brought the city to a virtual standstill.   It has also managed to create the economic disaster which everyone was predicting.   In spite of all the warnings the Councillors persisted in pushing on with a totally unnecessary project which no one in the city needs or wants.

Rush hour traffic is now intolerable and is having a really active effect in driving visitors away from the city, just as the main tourist season is approaching.    There are increasing numbers of people in Scotland, and from overseas, who simply cross Edinburgh off their itinerary as the experience of getting about the city presents too many problems.

Along the tram route - and even in Leith Walk where the tram will now not go for the foreseeable future - shop closures abound.   There are more empty shops in the city than ever before and the number is growing daily.   Even St George's West Church in Shandwick Place is going to close as the community that used the Church has been driven away by the tram works.  

To visit shops on Shandwick Place is a totally depressing experience with shop assistants hanging about in groups and all wondering who will be next for redundancy.   In Jessops, where Monday is usually their busiest day, with weekend photographs to be dealt with, they were empty.   

John Lewis, who posted record profits in Glasgow and throughout the rest of the UK, managed to have a significant downturn in Edinburgh.   Harvey Nichols will be wondering if they made the right decision of coming to Edinburgh rather than Glasgow when they see the huge disruption in front of their shop.  And having a clanking tram grinding past the front of your smart shop is not the same up-market image as a relatively peaceful St Andrew Square by comparison.

The tram wires on Princes Street will ruin for ever what was one of the city's greatest attractions - the scenic view from the main street towards the Castle and the Old Town - what utter madness!   By bringing the toxic tram into the city Edinburgh Councillors have done the city a huge disservice both environmentally and economically.

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The situation with the fractured tram project is a little like that with the two great banks in the City, with a feeling/hope/longing amongst those in charge that  that 'whatever goes wrong' or however bad things may get, eventually 'it will turn out alright in the end'..

The fact is that led the two Banks to disaster, and the effects of that complacency at the top are only just beginning to play out now almost 4 years later.

That same 'push on and pretend it will be okay in the end' attitude is now the last resrt of the Tram Taliban holding out in Edinburgh Council.   .... when was the last time anyone went anywhere because it had 'a great link from the airport' or a shiny tram.

No-one in the modern world will marvel at the sight of the mighty tram, let alone invest in a city or decide to visit it because it has a one. ......but they may chuckle at a one line system that takes nobody from places, to other places nobody really wants to go.

At present our Council resembles one of those determined but capering extras in a Keystone Cops silent movie, slipping and sliding around in the mess they have created,trying to get the task done, but only succeeding in creating greater chaos and mirth for onlookers amidst a  rising tide of chaos and confusion. 

The difference is in this farce is that we, the onlookers, are paying over £1 Billion pounds, and in this this slapstick farce the joke is on all of us in the city -- with the punchline that the greatest legacy for our £1 Billion pounds and years of chaos is liable to be rising pollution from the day opens until the day it closes.

What is needed is  new thinking to take a grip on the problems and start putting Edinburgh first and the vanity tram project second. 

By persisting with the construction of the unwanted, uncosted, unfinished Edinburgh Tram project the current City of Edinburgh Council will achieve what the earlier Central Edinburgh Traffic Management project and the inner and outer road toll referendum both failed to achieve - the removal of general traffic from the city centre.